• Mining Communities Meet the ‘Venice of the East’

    December 19th 2018. CAC Global Citizen Moritz Guertler discusses our week in Udaipur, India with The Football Link and Hindustan Zinc.

    Reflecting on our week in Rajasthan, I first need to enthuse over Udaipur – the city of lakes – or how some also refer to as the Venice of India. Please make sure to spend a couple of days in Udaipur when in this part of the world, it is full of culture, beautiful views, and palaces! Surrounded by hills and mountains, Udaipur lays within clear and clean lakes. After the city was founded in the 16th century, the ruler at that time increased the size of Pichola Lake by flooding the Picholi village, which gave the lake its name. A bit radical to upgrade your summer residence to say the least… Other than that Udaipur still has all the characteristics of an Indian city with cows blocking the traffic, continuous honking as well as the vibrant and busy buzz of daily life.

    For our program in Udaipur, Rajasthan we have been working together with The Football Link (TFL), the strategy and implementation partner of Hindustan Zinc’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative Zinc Football. Our team was well surprised about the all-new and state of the art football facilities located one hour outside of Udaipur right in the middle of Hindustan Zinc’s mining township. The idea behind TFL is to use the power of football for social development in Zinc’s mining communities. Together with TFL’s coaches we worked to lay ground towards a curriculum especially designed for boys and girls to play together outside any competitive environment. Focus topics for this week were social inclusion, gender equality, health & wellness, discipline, and – most importantly – a safe space for the kids to be themselves and have fun. Together with CAC’s flexible curriculum we adapted some games accordingly in order to tackle these aims, specifically.

    I deeply wish TFL all the best and success for the years to come. Together with Hindustan Zinc’s resources, the great and hard-working staff of TFL, and the passionate as well as energetic coaches the future looks bright for the youth in Hindustan Zinc’s mining communities.

  • The Best Thing About CAC

    November 7th 2017. CAC Self-Directed Learning Coach and Social Media Strategist Ashlyn Hardie blogged from Delhi, India where we worked with The Football Link and Foot & Boot

    If you are a regular follower of Coaches Across Continents then you have probably seen our “Best Thing” photos. That’s my job. My job is to ask our partners, and participants – “What do you think the best thing about CAC is?”, and “What did you learn most from this experience?”. Then I share that information with everyone who supports us through our Social Media and Marketing platforms. I spend time every week reading what other people think is the best thing about CAC. But not until this week, not until right now, as I sit down on my flight to leave Delhi and make my way towards Kathmandu did I realize what THE best thing about CAC is to me. And so, in this blog I want to answer my own questions. Most importantly, I want to share the story about the people who made me realize why.

    What is the best thing about CAC? What did I learn from this experience?

    It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you are in the world, how much money you have, what caste you’re from, what power you have, what influence society thinks that you should have – YOU can make the most incredible impact, with everything OR absolutely nothing on your side. This week I had the privilege of working with Praveen, the Founder of Foot & Boot through our amazing partner The Football Link. They have no money, little resources, and hardly have a ground to play on – and none of that really matters. He and his coworkers brought with them 9 of their youth players, who aspire to be future coaches, to attend the training. Those 9 players were some of the sharpest and wisest young minds I have ever had the privilege of getting to know.

    I asked these kids, “What is your favorite thing about your coach”? Many of the young girls said “He tells me I can be just as good as the boys” and “He tells me to believe in myself and my abilities”. One young boy said “He treats me with respect, and teaches me to treat other people with respect”. Not one of these things has anything to do with football or the material things he gives them. They don’t care that Praveen taught them to kick, run, and play good football. What they care about is that he is teaching them to be good people, to believe in themselves, and that he shows his belief in them as people and as players as well.

    There was a moment where I saw Praveen walking alone with his head down deep in thought. When I asked him what was wrong, he referred to a game. He spoke of a game where the players were asked to “run like a boy” and “run like a girl”.  He was heartbroken and disappointed in himself that his young girls were laughing and giggling and making fun of themselves, young women, and how they run. He felt as if he failed as a coach because they don’t realize that means that people have doubts about their ability and that they are making fun of them.

    To be a good coach, to be a good leader, to be a good person – we do not need money or things. He and his team will, as they already have, change the lives of every child they work with. Praveen has given them so much more than talent, a ball, or a jersey. He has given them courage, respect, hope, and other virtues. The young minds are not just strong, proud, independent and wise – they have the hearts of leaders.

    So “What is the best thing about CAC?” – To me the best thing about CAC is that I get to meet some of the worlds most inspirational people. People that surprise me with how smart, clever, and resourceful they are in their environments. These people have the biggest hearts, incredible wisdom, and prove to be relentless in their work bettering the world they live in. The best thing about my job is that I am always learning, always feeling inspired, always seeing something new, and above all – the Goosebumps moments. These are the moments where something happens and everything in your being is so moved by the moment that you’ve had, with the incredible people that you’re surrounded by.

    And, “What have I learned?”. What I have learned, is something that I have already believed, but in this moment, where these kids were doing coach backs like seasoned professionals I realized – Sport for Social Impact freaking works. It freaking works, and it works because of the incredible people backing it. Sport for Social Impact is not something that will save the world. BUT, the coaches and teachers who are involved in the movement – those people will. They will save the world. If not the whole world, at least a piece of their own, and the youth that follow them. That is something that I was , am, and always will be so truly moved to be a part of.

    P.S. On an unrelated note, Charlie and I had a pet mouse in our guesthouse. He came through my bathroom window and lived in our kitchen for the week – After a long stressful process of trying to scare him out of my room! The guilt of terrifying this cute little mouse made me want to feed and name him, which Charlie explained was one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had. Another thing I love about this job – the most unique experiences in which from each and everyone I grow as a person and discover something new about myself.

  • Community Impact Coach in Delhi

    November 21, 2014. Community Impact Coach, Gurpratap “Guru” Singh, joins CAC On-Field for three weeks of programs in India. He writes about his experience with The Football Link in Delhi, where we first met him this time last year. 

    It was 2013 November when The Football Link Delhi partner for Coaches Across Continents called me to attend a training program for coaches which was sports for social impact. It sounded great. It was the first time when I met Nora and Nick at the Delhi camp. The exciting thing about the CAC camp is that sports can be used for changing the world, spreading awareness about social issues through sports (football). The games which are played are all same in the world of football but the difference is the way of teaching with more fun and fun with many social messages in one game. A sport is not mere entertainment but it is much more than that which I learned from CAC. I love all the CAC beliefs and support them. CAC is totally different education/knowledge and learning for coaches.

    Working as a Community Impact Coach with CAC this year at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium has been a totally different experience, more of a learning as a coach than a participant. The most amazing part of my journey was to meet different organizations (Naz, My Angel’s Academy, Football Link etc) which are working for the development of football, kids, and community in the state. I was moved to see the amount of work they have done and got excited to see their future plans. The CAC journey has helped me to increase my social network of football. At Jawaharlal Nehru stadium I was surprised to see the number of coaches than last year when I was one among them. If I have to choose one game it is quite difficult and I know the CAC family would agree with me. I love all games played till yet but as the tradition which I love to follow which is expressing a game enjoyed the most, that would be Mia Hamm Communication. I love the combination of football and its social messages of communication, self confidence and telling the good thing about others making the environment amazing with positive energy. One feels positive vibes and safe space all around.

    Being a Community Impact Coach it felt great to see coaches looking at you as their role model and pushing themselves to be like us in their community. It gives you great satisfaction when you see people want to change their thinking and challenge themselves.

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