• Changing Lives Through Sports

    November 24th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Shamsher, writes about his experience working alongside Coaches Across Continents as a partner with ChildReach Nepal and a new member of the Community Impact Coach Initiative on-field with Go Sports Nepal

    There are many organization that works with CAC in partnership, among them Childreach Nepal is one of them who uses sports as a tool to educate children outside of classroom. In 2016 I attended CAC training as a participant with Mark Gabriel the Self-Directed Learning Coach on-field. I was an intern during that time and later on I was selected for the Training and Monitoring Officer position at ChildReach Nepal. Fortunately this year also I got a chance to work with Mark Gabriel again and learn from his coaching skills because I was inspired by them. In the two week program with Childreach Nepal at two different districts Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk Mark Gabriel and Ashlyn Hardie saw my coaching abilities and improvements. They offered me to join CAC team as Community Impact Coach to deliver training to the Go Sports Nepal program in Kathmandu. I was extremely happy when I heard that and I am also really grateful for the offer that was provided to me. Go Sports Nepal is also a partner of Coaches Across Continents who uses the sport for development methodology.

    Most of the participants were from different fields like NGO’s, local schools, football coaches, the Women’s National Team Rugby Coach, and local male and female football players. As the youngest participant, everyone was asking me how I became a coach at the age of just 23. I was little bit nervous on the first day but I tried to hide my nervousness and showed my confidence. When I was leading the game “Say No to Child Labor”, which I adapted from “Say No to Trafficking”, in the last round of the game I introduced a policeman to catch the broker and a player who represented a policeman came to me and he wanted to take picture with me in the middle of game. I told him to go and catch a tagger who represented a broker in the community….but he was said “No no please, one photo with you”. I was laughing at him, still he was ignoring me and wants to take a photo. That was one of the most unique parts for me.

    Since, I am from local organization there are lots of possibility to work together in the upcoming future thanks to the networking that CAC initiated. I also networked with some other local organizations and schools that will be fruitful in the coming days. For example, mid-week after the training I went to Football stadium ANFA with Mark and Ashlyn to watch live game between NEPAL and Philippines for the Asian Cup Qualifier game which was also one of the highlighted part of the week! On the next day after the training we visited Vajra Academy, a Green School in Kathmandu, which took 1.5 hours bus ride from field. The school is little bit far from the main city and it has been doing great work such as aware people on different issues that they are facing in the community and also provided opportunities for students and villagers to maintain quality of life in the future. We then also discussed the possibilities of collaborating and working together in the coming days. At the end of program I sang a song “Che Che Cooley” and dance with all participants which was superb ending!

    This was an amazing week for me. I got a chance to lead many sessions and give feedback to other coaches through coach-backs, which has made me a role-model for them. I am very thankful to Mark Gabriel, Ashlyn Hardie, Ian and JK for giving me a chance to become CIC and helping me to become better coach. Personally, I would like to thank especially Mark Gabriel for starting the opportunity and networking with Vajra Academy. I look forward to working with CAC again in the future.

     

     

     

  • Trickle Out Effect in Bhaktapur

    December 14th 2016. CAC Global Citizen Dylan Pritchard discussed the CAC approach in Bhaktapur, Nepal during our partnership with Childreach Nepal.

    This week, Mark, Tejas, and I were in Bhaktapur, Nepal, which is a city outside of Kathmandu, working with Childreach Nepal. This week was different than any other week because we worked with a majority of children. The way Coaches Across Continents works is that they will mostly work with coaches of the community instead of children, in order to make sure that the games and concepts they teach will last past the time they are gone and until the next time they visit. The way Mark puts it is that Coaches Across Continents partners with organizations all over the world that coincide with their message, which is to teach social impact through Self-Directed Learning in order to better their surrounding community. It is supposed to be a partnership that will last long past CAC is gone rather than an organization from the West coming in and imposing their dominance and insisting that their way of doing things is better than theirs year after year. With this type of approach, it gives the organization that CAC partners with a platform to customize their own curriculum that caters to the needs of their community instead of teaching a cookie cutter curriculum that has the idea that “one size fits all.” That is why I have enjoyed my trip with CAC thus far because they want to better the core of the community and have it trickle out to everyone else instead of imposing the idea that “West knows best”.

    Although we worked with mostly children this week, we did feel that we made a change for the better. The way that Childreach Nepal wants to set up their system at their school in Bhaktapur is to have eight senior students be taught our coaching style in order to teach all of the younger children of the school. So this camp was composed of those eight senior students and about thirty children between the ages of ten and thirteen. Although the trainings were more for the seniors, we still had to coach children. I have done a little bit of coaching children before but man did I forget the patience you need to do it! Nonetheless, we calmed the kids down a little bit by the end of the week and they had some fun playing the games. The most important part is that we broke the senior students out of their shells and paved the way for them to become leaders in their community by teaching them to coach football for social impact through Self-Directed Learning. On top of all that, I felt that I got a little bit better with integrating the Self-Directed Learning of social issues while keeping it fun in my coaching. We also played a lot of fun Nepali cultural games such as kabaddi, which is a like a more intense tag game, and chungi, which is a rubber band version of a hacky sack. This all added up to an awesome time with the kids.

    This week was an interesting week to say the least. I have been nursing a rolled ankle, which I did last week in Gothatar by stepping in a hole in the field, and on Wednesday I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy. If you have never heard of it, it is a really weird virus that attacks the nerve that controls one side of your face and causes temporary paralysis to that side of your face. Basically, only one side of my face is working right now. I cannot fully blink with my left eye and when I smile, the left side of my mouth says, “Nope, not today.” Although it sounds serious, and I am not taking it lightly, it is more common than people think and it is only very temporary. It is only in my face and nothing else has been affected. Thanks to some family connections and the understanding of CAC, I have been given the necessary medical help I need to complete my trip because there is no way I am leaving early.

    Despite having Bell’s palsy, I still had an amazing week in Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is a very interesting city because it is a World Heritage Site, which means that the cities architecture cannot be altered in any way. Because the city still keeps its bagoda look, it gives the feeling that the culture of the people has not changed whatsoever. We saw everything from an animal sacrifice to the famous Five Story Temple, and in between that we played da cau, a hacky sack version of a badminton birdie, in Durbar Square where my idol David Beckham once played soccer with a bunch of school kids. The food was amazing and I was introduced to “chat.” Now my life or death Nepali vocabulary consists of momo’s, dal, bhat, chat, dhanyabad (thank you), and Namaste. Between coaching, Bell’s palsy, and sight seeing, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Bhaktapur and thank CAC for the opportunity to come here.

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  • Teaching Self-Directed Learning

    December 1st 2016. Dylan Pritchard, CAC Global Citizen, writes about Nepal during our week with Go Sports Nepal.

    Go Sports Nepal was a great program to open up my three-week stay in Nepal. Go Sports Nepal, founded by Sunil Shrestha, is based out of Gothatar where Mark and I stayed with a very welcoming family. Gothatar is a tight knit community where it seems that everyone knows everyone. Sunil’s father founded a school, his mother owns the oldest shop, and Sunil is the founder of Go Sports Nepal. It was very cool to experience my first week in Nepal with a family that is so well established in their community.

    Every morning, Mark and I would wake up and have a very quaint breakfast, because breakfast is not a big meal in Nepal. We would have bread and tea. Nepalese people really like tea! It seemed every 30 minutes they would have at least one cup of tea. I had a lot of tea but definitely not that much. After that we would ride to the school where the training was held on the back of a motorbike or scooter. Once we got to the school we would check people in then hold the training session. Right after the training session we would have lunch at the school and it would almost always be momo’s, which is like a dumpling. Mark and I looked forward to lunch because we now love momo’s. After that we would have some downtime where we would either relax and plan for the next day or go and explore Kathmandu or the surrounding community. Then for dinner we would always have dal, which is a native food to India and Nepal, along with bhat, which is rice. The only four words I needed to survive this past week were: momo, dal, bhat, and namaste, which is the greeting in Nepal. After dinner we would finalize our plans for the next day then go to sleep. Pretty eventful day that gave us some insight into what a normal Nepalese day would look like.

    When Mark and I arrived for training on the first day, we came to find a lower number of participants than we expected. Despite this, Mark devised an awesome program where we did the absolute best with what we had. This week it was only Mark and I overseeing the program so I did a lot more coaching. I thought I started off a bit rough but by the end of Friday I felt that I got a lot better at the delivery of the social impact in the exercise while also letting the exercise flow and be fun for the participants. The progression was made possible from all the learning I did while watching Mark and the feedback he gave me. As for the participants, Mark and I had to teach the CAC curriculum from scratch as there were no returning members from the program held last year. Even though we had to start from the bottom and make our way up, we felt that we made tremendous strides in large part due to the week planning by Mark.

    The participants started the week off by being very silent and not really answering the questions we asked, and if they answered it would be one-word answers. By Thursday they were answering our questions and expanding on their own thoughts. It was on Thursday when we played a game called “Say No to Trafficking” when we saw that they understood Self-Directed Learning for social impact. Child trafficking was a very important topic that needed to be discussed because trafficking is a huge problem in Nepal. The game is a very simple tag game with very complex social messages. It is basically a game where the taggers are the traffickers and the runners are the children. Interwoven into the game are how the traffickers capture the children and how the children can stay safe with the help of friends, family, coaches, and local programs. The game was a huge success because Mark thoroughly prepared on how to present the game, teach the social messages, and make it fun. The participants walked away from that game not only knowing how to teach their kids to be safe from trafficking but to also teach them about Self-Directed Learning.

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  • Quaking (With Laughter And Learning) in Bhaktapur!

    CAC perennial volunteer Graham Bradford writes about his week in Bhaktapur, Nepal with Childreach Nepal.

    December 16th 2015. Coaches Across Continents Founder,  Nick and 5 year returning volunteer Graham began a two week program with partner organization Childreach Nepal (CRN) in the historic and ancient city of Bhaktapur, a hour’s ride east of Kathmandu.  CRN is an organization with a holistic philosophy and approach to helping Nepali children realize their potential despite widespread poverty, and work in areas of education, child protection, health and enterprise.  The organization had been at the forefront of relief work and emergency shelter provision following the disastrous earthquake of April 2015, particularly in the mountainous region of Sindhupalchok, north of Kathmandu and where the CAC coaches would travel next week.

    Whilst not as badly affected as other areas, the earthquake caused significant damage across the city, including some of the wonderful historic temples in the immediate proximity to our accommodation. Houses on both sides of the hotel were essentially destroyed, although it was amazing and humbling to see families in the rubble seeking to rebuild brick-by-brick and at the same time surviving day-to-day hardships of poverty and increasingly cold nights. Following a first night of restlessness caused by fighting dogs and 5AM puja bells, Nick and G somehow managed to sleep through a 4.2 Richter scale aftershock which we are sure was a great concern to those having to live in already damaged homes.

    Working with a city center school badly affected by the earthquake, we worked with around 40 young and enthusiastic people and 5 local teachers across a program addressing locally pertinent issues, and particularly child trafficking and child rights. The young leaders worked out of temporary classrooms as the main school building, whilst still standing, was structurally unsafe.  This limited the area available to run the On-Field elements of the program, but did not prevent an active, energetic and noisy week of games and Self Directed Learning progressing to a boisterous conclusion.

    The program in Bhaktapur coincided with World Aids Day and gave a perfect platform to address the issues facing the young people through a series of fun but educational and informative games based around the dangers of HIV and good choices that can be made to reduce the risk of infection. Whilst the students ranged from as young as 12 years of age, they approached the issues with openness and maturity, a credit to their community and the work of CRN with the school, particularly our partner workers Prateek and Animika who worked tirelessly behind the scenes and in front of stage to ensure an efficient program.

    Bhaktapur remains a city in the early stages of recovery, a recovery not helped by a dramatic fall in visitor income since the earthquake, however the energy and resilience of our young leaders will make that recovery a more likely outcome in the months and years ahead.

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  • I Have A Voice, Listen To Me!

    CAC SDL coach Markus Bensch blogs from Kathmandu, Nepal with Go Sports Nepal.

    December 15th 2015. I arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday, November 29th for my last on-field program this year with our partner Go Sports Nepal and its founder Sunil Shrestha. As we started on Monday I was very happy to see almost equally as many women as men who were ready to play. We started off with ‘Circle of Friends’, a warm-up game where players warm-up their bodies, minds and voices. This game is a lot of fun and creates high energy as some players go through the center of the circle doing an exercise (i.e. high knees) and then find a person on the outside to go to. For the exchange both players do a move (i.e. high five) and use their voice by saying something such as their name or favorite football player. As usual on the first day the voices were very low and people didn’t speak up. This was a clear teachable moment and I talked with the participants about the importance of our voice for building confidence, to communicate, express ourselves and many more. It is always amazing how the volume increases as the week progresses. This week was no different. By Thursday the participants led the Circle by themselves and there was a lot of laugher, screaming and shouting.

    But the change of voice does not only happen during Circle of Friends. People also speak up more and more during the social impact talks that are related to each of our games and I see this change particularly with female participants. In many communities I work, girls and women are not supposed to raise their voice in front of their male counterparts and they are not encouraged to speak up publicly. We addressed this issue through our games. One of them is a version of Circle of Friends where the players say things that are empowering girls and women, i.e. “I have a voice, listen to me!” or “I am woman/man, I want to play!” As a coach I also create a safe space and a platform where female participants can speak up and to be listened to.

    On Tuesday I introduced our female role model Marta who is a Brazilian footballer and five times Ballon d’Or Award winner. Many male players got confused and assumed that I was talking about Juan Mata, Manchester United’s midfielder and Spanish national team player. Finally one of the women raised her voice and said: “No, she is a female player and comes from Brazil.” During the game reviews I realized how powerful Marta was for the female participants. A group of women prepared the game Marta Skills for Life and in the Social Impact section they wrote down all the details about Marta’s story and how women can do everything that men can do. It’s amazing to see how smart and intelligent these young women are and how much they absorb everything that gives them the vision of a different life with more freedom and more choices. At the same time it makes me wonder how hard it must be for them to always hold back their thoughts and creativity, because society doesn’t believe that they have any valuable contribution to important matters.

    On Friday we ran our coach-back session and we included the children from SJ Primary School, who allowed us to use their sport court for the whole week. We started again with ‘Circle of Friends’ and I was surprised that the children were not shy at all, but rather had strong voices and there was a lot of laughter and excitement. I was happy to see these young girls and boys play together so blithely. My last On-Field week this year was truly inspiring and these amazing participants will remain in my memory. In future every time I witness how girls are held down and have to keep quiet I will remember these girls and women in Kathmandu who realized that they “can also change the world when they get the opportunity”.

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  • Help A Community In Need This Christmas

    December 12th 2015. This holiday season Coaches Across Continents is asking you to help youth in at-risk disadvantaged communities all over the world. Throughout December we have been counting down (or up) CAC’s 12 communities of Christmas which you can directly support by making a donation on Firstgiving. Your donations are incredibly important to ensure that children in these communities continue to get the opportunity to learn about vital social messages and have the ability to take ownership of their own choices.

    Sentani, Indonesia, was the 7th CAC community of Christmas. Indonesia has many underserved populations living in remote regions where few international groups offer assistance. Make a donation on this Firstgiving page to directly assist these populations through our work.

    Kathmandu, Nepal was the 1st CAC community of Christmas. Support Kathmandu on this page.

    Diadema, Brazil was the 2nd CAC community of Christmas. Support Diadema on this page.

    Shkoder, Albania was the 3rd CAC community of Christmas. Support Shkoder on this page.

    Leogane, Haiti was the 4th CAC community of Christmas. Support Leogane on this page.

    Nagpur, India was the 5th CAC community of Christmas. Support Nagpur on this page.

    Stellenbosch, South Africa was the 6th CAC community of Christmas. Support Stellenbosch on this page.

    Zanzibar, Tanzania was the 8th CAC community of Christmas. Support Zanzibar on this page.

    Lubumbashi, DRC is the 9th CAC community of Christmas. Support Lubumbashi on this page.

    Keep watching our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular updates on CAC’s 12 communities of Christmas this holiday season. Don’t forget as we approach the end of the US tax year that, as a registered non-profit, your donation to Coaches Across Continents is tax-deductible. Our EIN number is 32-0249174.

    Stellenbosch, South Africa