Soccer Without Borders

Mission: Soccer Without Borders uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under served youth a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success. Core Values: Focus on the Whole Person: SWB believes in a whole-person approach. Our programs help young people come into a greater understanding of their bodies, minds, and voices, creating avenues toward individual growth, new opportunities, and the achievement of personal goals. Authenticity: Soccer Without Borders gives voice and value to the ideas of local leaders. In addition to imported human, physical, and intellectual resources, SWB mobilizes local expertise, empowering and employing resident expe...
Jan 26, 2017

Through the Eyes of a Team Leader

Hello everyone! My name is Zoe Jackson-Gibson and I am the year-long Team Leader for the Soccer Without Borders Granada, Nicaragua location. What exactly does being a Team Leader consist of? From term to term this can vary based upon the needs of the program. But right now I help to conduct the daily activities between our seven teams, I make school visits and introduce the other girls to our program, and I tutor English!

I cannot believe I am about to say this, but I have been a part of this program for roughly five months now and have loved every second of it. When I look back at the time spent here, I could not be more grateful for everything that I have experienced. From the smiles and laughs I’ve shared with the girls and my fellow coaches, to the overall generosity of the Granada community, living in Nicaragua has been such a moving and enlightening experience. I know I’ll carry all of these memories with me well after my time with SWB Granada is over.

I already know one of my favorite moments will be the time we hosted T.E.A.M Camp in the beginning of January. For this camp, we invite those who are 18 years of age or older to volunteer with us as coaches for a week and assist in facilitating activities on and off the field for our girls.

Before the camp started, I was so excited to show our visitors what I have experienced here and how much I loved the program. But as time went on, I discovered that everyone’s experience of Granada is different and that was very eye-opening. With only a handful of the visitors able to speak Spanish, we came together and learned how the power of sport can carry you through what seemed to be nearly impossible tasks. And with that followed, the first juggling circle being made, the first smile being cracked, and the first bag of mangos shared. Instantaneous connections were made among the 17 campers, the SWB Granada Staff, and our girls, which will always hold a special place in our hearts. What this camp now represents to me is what great effect a small group of committed and thoughtful individuals can do when they come together to make a change.

I have now hit my mid-way mark with five more months left as a Team Leader and I am more than ecstatic to see what else my future holds, especially as these relationships continue to grow.

Much love from Nica,

Zoe

Jan 26, 2017

Remember the Time: 6th Annual Youth Festival

Soccer Without Borders (SWB) Uganda celebrated our 6th annual youth festival!In Kampala, In Uganda, we work with youth refugees to support their integration into their local community. During the year, our participants attend programming to learn English, life-skills and play afternoon soccer. The Youth Festival takes place over the holiday season when public schools are still out, so a combination our kids from our school programming, former participants who now attend formal school, and kids in the neighborhood, all join together to make it our biggest event of the year.

This year we wanted to reflect on the past in order to better impact the future. Under the theme, “Remember the Time…” the festival spent five days learning about different parts of history and imagine a bright future. Each day was structured with interactive lessons in the morning. During this time participants were broken up into six small groups with team leaders. Moving into the afternoon groups came together for a bigger activity. Monday started with remembering the history of the land. After learning about the importance of keeping the environment clean, groups got together to pick up trash around the community. With the help of our neighbors and the local police we were able to pick up over 18 bags of trash.

The week continued with remembering influential people, the history of soccer and SWB, history of ourselves and where we come from, and Friday we finished with a lesson on gender equality and how moving forward it will impact the future. They played two days of soccer, including an afternoon of Football 3 where students coach and ref themselves as they discuss, play and then reflect about different rules to engage both teams. Another day was spent with relays and competition like a crowd favorite, egg toss. Then of course starting and ending each day with hours of dancing.

With over 300 participants, the SWB local staff was going to need some help. This year, we were joined by three volunteers to assist with the planning and hosting of the youth festival. Taylor, Doug, and three time youth festival volunteer, Chris, joined the eleven local staff members for a mix of experiences and backgrounds to lead the week. “The youth festival was tiring and lots of work, but it was also a life changing experience,” explained volunteer, Taylor Sebolao. The youth festival was Sebolao’s first time to East Africa and as the youngest volunteer, 21, her energy was a great addition to the week.

After five consecutive six hour days, filled with five discussions, four hours of soccer, two hours of trash pickup, 3,000 bags of water, 330 lbs of rice, 270 lbs of beans, and many hours of dancing, the staff at Soccer Without Borders could not be happier to report such a successful week. For all of our readers that helped make our festival possible we thank you for your support!

Youth Festival Circle
Youth Festival Circle
Jan 25, 2017

Ringing in 2017

The new year is off to a very busy and exciting start at SWB Uganda; filled with staff outings, awesome visitors from the United States, registration for the upcoming term, a fresh coat of paint for the SWB Center and, of course, the Sixth Annual SWB Youth Festival!

Due to the amazing donations we received in December, SWB Uganda was able to have it first staff outing in over a year and a half. The staff and newly arrived festival volunteers went to Munyonyo to play paintball. The outing was capped off by a visit to the Ggaba Fish market for a delicious dinner of fresh fish from Lake Victoria.

The Annual Youth Festival, by far our biggest event of the year, ran from January 9th-13th. The theme for 2017 was, “Remember the Time…” and the daily activities focused on learning in the morning and games, football, and food in the afternoons. Thanks to all of the support we received, both locally and from afar, we were able to make this one of the biggest festivals yet! Our M&E Fellow, Elizabeth was able to provide us with this amazing breakdown of the week in numbers:

  • 330 lbs of rice consumed
  • 264 lbs of beans consumed
  • 3,000 bags (nearly 200 gallons!) of purified drinking water
  • 319: total number of kids from our program and local community who attended
  • 20: age of our oldest participant
  • 2: age of our youngest participant
  • 3 international volunteers
  • 4 hours of team-building games
  • 2 banana eating contests with the babies
  • 15 minutes: length of staff skit about the founding of SWB Uganda
  • 25 newly donated footballs from New York Red Bulls FC used during drills
  • 30 tie-dyed t-shirts made for staff and volunteers
  • Countless hours of sleep deprivation for staff members
  • AND COUNTLESS HOURS OF MUSIC, FUN AND DANCING!

After the festival, we were able to add a brightly colored, new paint of coat to the interior of our center in Nsambya. We are now in the process of registering for the upcoming term, which starts on January 30th!

 
   

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