• The Real Stellenbosch: CAC Hits the Futsal Court with t4c

    October 4th, 2014. Cape Town, South Africa, famous for its mountains, beaches and beauty, neighbors some of the best and most stunning wine farms in the world in the very location of our latest program. This training took CAC Senior Staff member, Nora Dooley, to the mountainous farmlands of Stellenbosch – a tourism hotspot, a world-renowned wine oasis that is, like most vacation destinations, so often only seen and heard about through that narrow lens. Having been to the region as a tourist herself while living in South Africa, Nora was eager to learn more about the area, beyond the bubble that shields tourists from life’s difficult realities.

    Our partner in Stellenbosch, training4changeS (t4c), is a young organization that has chosen futsal as their game of choice. They are tapping into a world of opportunity in South African youth development and have lured in the National Futsal Coach – Quinton Allies – as a member of the staff. The training was a last minute addition to our 2014 schedule so the group was mostly t4c staff with a few participants from local partner organizations in t4c’s expanding network.

    We trained the 16 coaches in games from our year one curriculum and were able to push them in all aspects of our work – football (futsal) technique, fitness, and knowledge of the game, and most importantly social impact – how we coach sport to achieve a greater end of youth and community empowerment. This group was small, but each one of them proved day in and day out how committed they are to learning from CAC and putting what they learn into practice in their lives and in their sessions with children.

    On top of our core modules we taught the coaches all 5 of our Peace Day games since the training began the day after September 21st, as well as games from our Female Empowerment, HIV, Child Rights, and Financial Literacy curricula. One of the games that had a particularly resounding impact was our “Peace Day: Understanding Stereotypes and Challenging Them” game which, as per the title, addresses the problem of stereotypes and what we can do to solve that problem. Before we began the game we had a conversation about what stereotyping someone means and what are some examples of stereotypes in their community. We talked about people with dreadlocks (one of the participant had dreads), stereotypes pertaining to religions – particularly Muslims, as well as skin color – a huge issue in the Stellenbosch area and the country as a whole. The group itself was made up of people from different backgrounds and cultures, and we made sure to create a safe space for us all to discuss these serious issues. Then we played the game.

    The futsal court was divided into three zones – in a regular futsal game it would be for defense, midfield, and strikers but in this game the zones represented different stereotypes and we used three of the examples that we already discussed – physical characteristics (like dreads), religious affiliation, and skin color (a physical characteristic but so serious that it demands its own zone). For the first round players on each team must stay in the zone they are placed in and cannot leave. The teams go to goal. Then we play again where one team has the freedom to move anywhere and the other team is still confined to their zone. Then the third time – everybody is free to move.

    After the game we discussed more in depth about how it felt to be restricted to a zone in the game and how it limits your team, how it is a disadvantage when the other team is unrestricted. Then we related the game to the context of life and the participants discussed how imprisoning people in a box in your mind limits their ability to ever be anything else in your eyes, and closes your mind to the possibility of understanding and acceptance. If we get rid of the zones, if we get rid of the stereotypes, we are all free to play and make our own choices; we will score more goals and work better as a team, as a community, as a nation and a world.

    This is just one example of the amazing games and discussions that occurred throughout the week with these participants. They were wonderful people to work with and we could not have asked for a more open-minded, energetic, thoughtful, and talented group of young South Africans. After a few days Coach Quinton praised our methods saying, “It’s amazing how you use the ball as the connecting point.” We very much appreciate having such an established coach understand the importance of our methods. South Africa is one of the most difficult countries for us to work in because of various aspects of the culture and history – but groups like t4c break the stereotype and make our job incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. We look forward to a prolific partnership with training4changeS and the Stellenbosch community, the beautiful community beyond the wine lands.

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    Quinton Allies showing off his Skills for Life

  • Whizzkids United, CAC and Dance Moves

    1391704_532537620162322_1544185932_n17 October 2013. As we develop our valued partnership with Whizzkids United, Coaches Across Continents staff set off for Durban, South Africa for a week of training. The program took place about an hour outside of the city in a community called Edendale, down the road from the Whizzkids Health Academy and future location of their Football for Hope Center.  Whizzkids United is the best in the business with regard to health and particularly HIV education, but it is our job to help them rope more football into their curriculum, redefining their place in the realm of sport for development. With small help from Nora Dooley recovering from malaria, Nick Gates led the Whizzkids coaches through a variety of CAC games.

    Though we always want the focus to be on the trainers during our programs, youth involvement is never discouraged. Our week in Edendale was different from other trainings as we taught fewer games, but saw immediate impact. Three-hour sessions each day allowed us only one hour to teach the coaches as many CAC social impact games as possible before the pitch was overrun by eager young footballers. The Whizzkids coaches would then take the games they just learned and immediately work with youth of all ages from the community. We allotted two hours for this coaching portion, but each day lasted longer than the one before as the participants never wanted to leave the field. As the week progressed, the Whizzkids trainers came into their own as football coaches for social development.

    There were a few games in particular where the impact was tangible, and both the coaches and the participants truly grasped the social messages. On the second day of training Nick led the coaches plus 85 youth of varying ages in a huge game of “Mingle Mingle”. A common favorite among many groups we work with, “Mingle Mingle” sets the stage for players to solve their own problems, finding solutions without the help of their coach or teacher. It also provides a wonderful opportunity for Nick to show off his dance moves. Another game that really tested both the Whizzkids coaches and the Edendale youth was Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund. This is a game where players form lines and each line has ownership of a number, for example from 1 to 5. When the coach calls out two numbers (1 and 3!), then those two lines have to switch positions faster than the two lines of the opposing team. This game challenges participants to, again, find their own solutions to the problem they are faced with.1381687_532538073495610_625742006_n

    With every program we run all over the world, our main goal as an organization is to find the ways in which we can best help our partners and the communities they work in. This is, naturally, different for each and every program. CAC’s adaptability is one of the many strengths that powers our organization. In this particular case in Edendale, South Africa, priorities shifted towards the incoming Football for Hope Center. An incredible opportunity for both Whizzkids United and the people of Edendale and surrounding communities, the Center also presents a daunting responsibility. Being tasked with improving, and somewhat defining, Whizzkids’ use of football for social impact, CAC wants to ensure the organization is capitalizing on every way such a Center can enhance its environment. Our focus, therefore, for the week and the future of our partnership, is to provide Whizzkids with the necessary training and resources to exceed the expectations that come with running a Football for Hope Center. After this week, we are very excited about the prospects and look forward to the opening of the Center in just two months time.

  • Tattoos, Drugs, HIV and Football

    IMG_6356September 11, 2013.  Tattooed, charismatic Rumah Cemara employees with huge smiles greeted us at the airport with a “WHAT’S UP!!” when we arrived into Bandung. Our drive into Bandung was filled with laughter and stories as we headed to lunch with two of the founders of Rumah Cemara; Ginan Koesmayadi and Aditia Taslim along with two other employees. From the banter and island-feel Brian and I both felt like we were seeing old friends we haven’t seen in years. At Rumah Cemara everyone is a part of their small community and embraced with open arms.

    IMG_6322Rumah Cemara is an exceptional organization that was founded to educate youth about HIV/AIDS, drugs and to accept youth and adults who have HIV/AIDS. Rumah Cemara is a safe-haven for many people who are dealing with HIV and some who are recovered drug users. They open their doors to everyone who is looking for support, friends and a safe place. In Bandung and in most of Indonesia people who are HIV positive are not accepted and incorporated into communities and are seen as outcasts. Rumah Cemara is working hard to end that stigma and teach Bandung and Indonesia that having HIV doesn’t define a person. Their football program was started to have an outlet and through their program they have worked side by side with the community to build a jaw-dropping sport court under an overpass. They have also become the official representatives for the Homeless World Cup representing Indonesia.

    IMG_6393Our week of training consisted of coaches who traveled from all over Indonesia including one who flew in from Bali and others from around the island of Java. Everyone was eager to see what exactly sport for social impact was, and through their enthusiasm all of the coaches jumped into the action head first. The week was full of cheeky jokes, lots of football, and trips around Bandung trying new food like the amazing (and heart attack inducing) dessert Martabak.

    IMG_6387We were fortunate enough to visit the sport court under the freeway and watch the local Rumah Cemara women’s street football team practice and play while young boys from the community watched and cheered with support. When different teams and groups are using the sport court it is an unbelievable site. When explaining what football does for people at Rumah Cemara one of the founders Ginan Koesmayadi stated:

    Humans cannot create a miracle but humans can experience miracles through football.  Drug users and HIV positive people in Indonesia are excluded and outcasts, but through football we have become one and included into the community. Football has brought everyone together in Bandung, it is an amazing site to see.

    It doesn’t matter where in the world you are sport and teams can become your family and get you through anything. At Rumah Cemara it is proven that sport brings even broken communities together.

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  • Get Involved- Donate Today

    August 14th 2013. In order to continue to impact 120,000 children annually in some of the most deprived regions of the world we need your help! Our innovative curriculum allows thousands of children to be educated on important social issues such as female empowerment, HIV prevention, resolving conflict peacefully and becoming a powerful role model.

    To continue to do this using the most powerful tool on earth, soccer, we would be very grateful if you follow the link and Donate Today!

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