• One Jaspreet, One Journey

    December 5th 2017. Community Impact Coach Jaspreet Kaur from YFC Rurka Kalan writes about working with CAC during our partnership with Naz Foundation in Bengaluru.

    My name is Jaspreet Kaur. I have done a post graduation course in my own language Punjabi from Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab, India. In the last 4 years I have worked with Youth Football Club Rurka Kalan. My job is Training and Monitoring officer, this means I look after the Sports for Development sessions at twenty Government Primary schools near Rurka Kalan, sessions taught by our own Youth Mentors who I have helped train.

    This past week was my first time visiting Bengaluru. I was very happy to have this opportunity and I want say thank you so much to CAC. YFC Rurka Kalan has been working with CAC for five years now and I have got a chance to participate as a CIC in this training with the Naz Foundation. I want to share my experience with you regarding five days training of CAC with The Naz Foundation which was held at Don Bosco Mission Skills Institute at Bengaluru.

    The participants came from different cities such as Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Madurai and Bengaluru.

    The five day workshop was based on Leadership, Menstruation, HIV, Conflict Prevention and Gender Equity.

    In the first day some of girls and boys did not speak too much, but slowly slowly their voices got stronger during training. Some of them gave presentations and spoke in front of their other coaches for the first time which was so good to see.

    Naz Foundation is built around coaching Netball which means I learned all new skills for this sport this week. We even made some netball skills called  “Thilaga 1, 2, &3”.  Because the coaches were so experienced, they ended up creating games regarding Menstruation because it is a serious issue that is often overlooked because of taboos. I look forward to going back home and conducting sessions using these games with girls and youth mentors who are working in schools.

    The food of Bengaluru is good. Things I have tasted for the first time include edaly, vadda and Masala Dosa. I have also learned about new apps “Ola and Uber” which helped me get from Bengaluru Airport to Baanarghtta (Don Bosco). 

    It was a great experience for me to learn and share skills with junior coaches, senior coaches and project coordinators. Moreover, I have solved challenges regarding Monitoring evaluation with Charlie and am looking forward to returning to YFC with new skills!

     

  • Confidence Across Continents

    November 15, 2014. Volunteer Coach Earl Strassberger writes about the first week of his second stint On-Field with CAC, last year in Cameroon and Ghana, this year in India.

    We are working in Delhi, with a group of 33 young ladies. They are of college age and are the most confident group of young people I have ever met.  They are energetic, athletic, and polite.  They speak up.  They listen to others.  They support each other.

    Coaches Across Continents (CAC) worked with most of these young ladies last year.  They clearly remembered much from last year.  I can see why.  When we are teaching in a classroom setting they have pencils and notebooks.  During water breaks they take out their notebooks and write down the names and descriptions of the games they just played.  They are able to concentrate.  In fact, as I am writing this we are having a discussion of a child’s rights in a school room that doubles as a gym.  There is a class of adorable six year-olds learning dance moves.  Our girls are not distracted.

    They gain their confidence in a number of ways.  One is by learning to speak up.  The girls all play netball.  As with any sport you must warm up.  We use a CAC game called Circle of Friends.  The game involves moving to the center of the circle and back out.  How they move is determined by the leader.  It could involve high stepping; running; side to side movement; etc:  But it is the other purpose that is so important.  When they go to another person they slap hands and scream out their names.  They use their voices authoritatively.  Note that the leader changes what they shout out:  For example; the second shout could be the name of their favorite team.  We may have them do a silly handshake instead of high fives.  But the most fun is having each pair jump, bump, and shout, ¨boom shakalaka¨.  They love it!  Last year I was in Cameroon with Brian.  We just arrived in Buea and were walking through town when a coach saw Brian and shouted, you guessed it, boom shakalaka!

    The second way these young ladies gain confidence is through learning how to play netball and being on a team.  They are good at it!  After one practice we played a game with them.  I repeat, these girls are good players.

    The third way they have gained confidence is because of the fantastic support from our partner organization; the Naz India Foundation.  These girls are lucky to be in this amazing program.  Naz uses games from CAC’s Goal On-Field curriculum developed in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank.

    The girls proved themselves over the last two days.  First they got into groups of four or five and then they spent an hour thinking of problems in their communities.  After that we asked them to create a CAC-like game to send the message about the problem.

    The next day we watched them conduct their games with the children of the school where we did our training.  Each group had its challenges.  One was a group of about 30 boys and girls about eight years old.  Another was a smaller group, maybe only 15, but all fourteen-year-old boys.

    The girls took charge.  They had the kids playing their games.  They held discussions about the problem and the possible solutions. It worked, the kids were engaged and our girls experienced more success.

    Note that Naz is much more than some games.  The girls start out as participants in a 10-month program.  It is a women’s empowerment program offering weekly sessions to adolescent girls who may or may not be in school and whose families have low income.  They learn netball and life skills such as health, rights, communication, and financial literacy.

    The second year they become peer leaders and community sport coaches.  They are assigned to a school and coach groups of kids; sometimes as many as 200.  They receive a stipend for this work.

    The third year a very few, the best of the best, get paid positions as netball coaches and life skills trainers.  We had Pooja and Amrita working with us.  They were professional in all aspects of the Naz and CAC programs.  Other graduates of the program have found jobs with Standard Chartered and other corporations.  By the way, Naz also runs an orphanage!  What a wonderful organization. Their participants will create positive change in India.

    On a personal note; I am a retired school teacher.  Working with young people always makes me feel younger.  Working with the CAC staff; Sophie and Billy, and our community impact coach, Guru, is terrific.  They make it easy to be successful.

    P1110652

    P1110595

    Self-Directed Learning in action as the girls Create games to address chosen social issues

  • Loud and Proud

    November 12, 2014.  Volunteer Ali Pleiman speaks about her first week working with CAC at Naz Goal Mumbai.

    Caught in a whirlwind of bright colors and honking horns. Everywhere I look, I see people. The rich and the poor are intermixed with cats, dogs, cows, goats, trash, and beautiful trees. It seems like mayhem, but it’s not- it’s Mumbai! Somehow there’s this rhythm in which all things are living and moving together. All I can do is marvel at the organized chaos around me and try not to get run over. This indefinable energy didn’t slow down once we hit the field; it manifested in the smiling faces around me, showing enthusiasm every step of the way.

    This week we worked with Naz Goal, a netball organization in their third and final year of the Hat-Trick Initiative. They explained to us that “Naz” means “proud,” and after meeting these bright young women, I can see why the name is such a good fit. Of all the life skills we touched on this week, the one that stood out the most for this group was the power of using one’s voice.

    Although we were constantly in a state of play, sporadic interjections for reflection and discussion would highlight the real world significance for this skill, Off-Field as well as On-Field. With this element built into many of the games, I could see how their confidence rose with their voices and drastically improved their communication. They were ready for the challenge that is Year 3: “Create.”

    This strength shined through even more in the collaborative process as they were positioned to pick a problem and design a game from scratch. Everyone was engaged in the trial and error that followed, encouraged to solve their own problems when obstacles presented themselves. Female empowerment was a resounding theme that only intensified as time went on. As more and more girls were eager to voice their opinions and ideas, there were more opportunities to challenge the existing order of things and make the distinction between chance and choice in their culture- using your voice for your choice.

    It was truly amazing to watch the progression throughout the week. It became blatantly obvious just how much one’s self-esteem can contribute to the pursuit of a goal. This simple truth is so easy to forget and I was grateful that I could be reminded of its impact.

    I was so inspired and impressed that I often felt these girls were coaching me more than I was coaching them. This is truly a testament to how effective the CAC initiative is at work, establishing self-directed learners in this community. As this was my first volunteering experience, I lucked out that right off the bat I was able to see how the CAC program comes full circle.

    “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves” Steven Spielberg.

    IMG_5753

    It’s all smiles working in Mumbai

    Ali and Nora celebrating our partnership with Naz Goal

    Ali and Nora celebrating our partnership with Naz Goal

  • CAC does Netball for Social Impact

    December 3, 2013. Sorry did I say netball? I meant foot… no, no, netball. That’s right. CAC coaches Sophie Legros, Nora Dooley, Sarah Brown, and CIC Homkant Surandase from Slum Soccer, stepped off the football pitch and onto the netball court for two weeks working with NAZ GOAL (nerd-alert! not be confused with the hobbit-hunting ring-wraiths in Tolkein’s classic). These two trainings in India were spent in Mumbai and then Delhi with two great groups of young leaders having a real impact on their communities.

    mumbai scaryOur first week in Mumbai stands as the second year we have sent coaches to work with this team from NAZ. Our staff were very impressed by the manner in which this group presented themselves to us – who they are, what they currently do, what they want to do, and what they need from our team to make the most of our time in Mumbai and to have the greatest possible impact on the communities they work in. The communication was refreshing and the week kicked off – or should I say passed off? – to a great start.

    IMG_0254The participants consisted partly of peer leaders from the GOAL program. These are young female GOAL participants that are emerging as leaders among their peers and are pursuing the opportunity to play a more active role in their community. The rest of the group was made up of Community Sports Coaches (CSCs) and Senior Coaches. The CSCs are girls who have developed from peer leaders into coaches, and the Senior Coaches are young women – and one man! – who have come into their own as role models to the others, leading all things NAZ GOAL throughout Mumbai and beyond.

    sophie and coachThe priority for this week, as communicated to us by the NAZ senior leaders, was for us to go through each GOAL game thoroughly to ensure that all participants understand how the game connects with the social message, and how to balance the dynamic between GOAL games and GOAL classroom activities. To assist in this effort we asked to be taken to a GOAL classroom session at a school so we, CAC, could better understand that aspect of the program. Our team started the day off by coaching the GOAL participants, a large group of giggly young girls, in one of our Be Money Savvy games called Budgeting with Yelena. This is a game of tag where the taggers represent things we should not be spending our money on, or “wants”, and we ask the players to come up with examples. This group thought of makeup, fast food, parties, and jewelry to begin the game. We play the first round where the  “wants” chase everybody else and if they tag somebody they give them the cone and that person becomes the “want”. Then we add netballs. The netballs represent money. If a player has a ball she is safe and they must pass to each other to keep each other safe from the “wants”. But, if they drop a ball, or it goes out of bounds, they’ve lost the ball, the money. The players are forced to make smart, quick decisions to stay away from the “wants” and not lose their money. In life we must make good decisions and not spend our budget on the things we want but the things we need. We ask the girls after the game about “needs” and to give us examples of things in life that we need. This game corresponds with the classroom session “Wants and Needs” that we observed afterwards led by some of the CSCs. This activity expands on the differences between the things we want and those that we need, giving more examples, as well as giving the participants a sample budget and asking them how they would spend it.

    After this day we really understood what the NAZ Mumbai team needed and how we could best help them. The rest of the week was terrific and both groups left feeling satisfied that we accomplished our goals, enabling each other to do our jobs and achieve maximum impact.

    As we bid farewell to the heat of Mumbai, the wonderful YMCA where we stayed, and that incredible group of game-changers, we set our sights on Delhi, and prepared for the sensory overload that comes with the capital city.

    Same organization. Same country. That’s about all that was similar between our two weeks with NAZ GOAL.

    Delhi was a different state, different city, different group of participants, and a vastly different week overall.

    And that’s the beauty of Coaches Across Continents.

    homkant and naz goalInitially the program was to be the same with both groups, as we had previously planned with Senior Coaches from both cities. But just as we discover with every program, in every city/town/village, in every country we work in, plans change, adapt, transform as we begin to understand who we are working with, the dynamics of the group, the unique situation they are coming from, working in, striving for. It is all part of that magical CAC equation that yields success worldwide.

    NAZ GOAL Delhi is where NAZ began in India, and it was obvious from the outset that this program was farther along in terms of organizational structure, management and sheer size. A larger group of participants, made up mostly of peer leaders and CSCs, the priority for this group was for the younger members to step up as coaches and practice their leadership skills.

    Built in to the week were two of the regularly planned GOAL sessions where peer leaders and coaches run games and classroom activities for about 150 students from the school where we were working. The plan for these sessions was for the GOAL team to assist the CAC team with one game, and then run the second on their own. Our team decided to play Mia Hamm Communication in one massive circle with 150 screaming, hormonal teenagers. Good idea? Great idea! Chaos ensued, naturally, but who doesn’t love a bit of mayhem at the office? The students went absolutely nuts, especially the boys, but they were so happy, so excited to play, so eager to learn and listen to every single word we had to say, and spoke great English so we actually managed to get bits of the social message across – wow! That was a ton of fun.

    The young leaders were great all week. At each and every session they could not wait to play, learn netball skills (from our CAC master netball coaches, of course), and participate in discussions about everything from the importance of budgeting and saving money, to keeping our bodies healthy and how important it is for women to empower each other, for men to empower women, and for women to empower men.

    Another great week with NAZ GOAL, a long blog, and our last stop in India as we say bye to CIC Homkant and coaches Sophie, Nora, and Sarah finish up long trips on the field for one last program in the beautiful mountains of Nepal – jealous? Yep.

    20131127_132850