• Field Of Dreams

    CAC SDL coach Turner Humphries writes about a great week in Kolkata, India with Slum Soccer.

    December 18th 2015. In Kolkata we were playing on a recently built artificial turf field behind one of the local schools. Before the field was built (by our partners Chevrolet FC in May!) this area was steered clear of by most of the community, as it became a haven for drug and alcohol use and other antisocial behavior. The addition of this new field has seen a transformation in the community, and a once crime ridden area has become the focal point of positive activity.

    Shabaz, a participant from Kolkata, describes what this field has meant to him. “Most of the members of this community enjoy football. Before there was this facility people were practicing in the streets at night, but the police would chase everyone away. That’s how we worked on our fitness – running from the police! Before this field was here this area had lots of problems with drugs, alcohol and other bad things. The people in the community did not feel safe. In a way this field has stabilized the community, you will not see anyone doing bad things around here anymore. Parents now feel comfortable sending their children here at night. Girls have been invited to play too. Everyone should feel safe here; it’s football, not bad-ball. Because of this field I have been able to start my coaching career. Without it I would have nothing.”

    During our training the field would be surrounded by community members coming to hangout, chat with friends and to check out the coaches yelling ‘Boomshakalaka’ and dancing around singing ‘Mingle Mingle!’ The field is equipped with lights so the field is almost in constant use. The participants all took pride in the new facility, cleaning up every piece of trash before leaving. It was the ideal setting to go deeper into some of the issues troubling the community and work together to come up with solutions.

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  • The Possibilities of #PlayItForward

    May 11, 2015.  The world is full of possibilities, no matter where you look. It could have been easy to dismiss the trash dump and pond full of garbage, located just behind Belilious School, as unsalvageable. But Chevrolet FC and Slum Soccer only saw the possibilities. Together they worked with Sandip Dutta, trustee of the land and the Belilious School to create a field worthy of any community in the world. The new field will be used to reach out to the most under-served children and youth of Kolkata.

    Coaches Across Continents continues its award-winning partnership with Chevrolet FC in our fifth community, this time in Tikiapara, Howrah, in Kolkata, India. CAC’s important role in this partnership is to create a sustainable legacy, where local coaches and teachers can use the new field as an educational environment, using sport to create social change. During our first week we trained over 60 coaches, empowering them to become coaches who can use sport to educate about important local social issues like health & wellness, female empowerment, conflict resolution, and child rights.

    On the Event Day, Saturday May 9th, CAC showcased two of it’s games on the new pitch to a crowd of over 500 which included representatives from General Motors, Mikaël Silvestre (Manchester United legend) local dignitaries, the board of trustees of the ground, members of the media, and hundreds of children and parents watching. One game we showcased was from our Child Rights module: The Right to an Education. Slum Soccer coach Homkant used the game which involves adding goals onto the pitch each time you score (representing completing another year of schooling) to correlate the message that the more education you complete, the more opportunities open up in your life. On average, continuing just one more year of school means an increase of 10% of income.

    These important messages will continue to be used by local coaches and teachers on the new pitch, creating long-term social change in the community. Our long-term Indian partner Slum Soccer has already created such social change in other locations – and we are confident that the impact they are about to have in Kolkata will be immense, thanks to the joint efforts of Chevrolet FC, One World Play Project, and Coaches Across Continents. Possibilities are everywhere.

    Before.

    Before.

    After.

    After.

    Coach Homkant uses the new field to teach about the importance of education.

    Coach Homkant uses the new field to teach about the importance of education.