And we're off... the Girl Fund Challenge has officially begun!
Last year, you rallied behind Fútbol Sin Fronteras (Soccer Without Borders) to celebrate a decade of impact and earn a place in the Girl Fund. Your efforts provided the crucial financial support that enabled us to serve girls in Nicaragua through daily on and off field programming, educational support and scholarships, leadership development, and mentoring. Since then, the program has continued to its work against a backdrop of a challenging and unstable context.
From now until March 14th, we are competing to maintain our place in the Girl Fund and we need your support to get there! We hope to get as many people as possible to cast a vote with a donation of any size. The program with the most unique donors in the next two weeks will win a spot in the Girl Fund, unlocking up to an additional $15,000 to sustain and expand our programming in the coming year.
If all 519 of our supporters who gave last year vote again with a donation we will be off to an incredible start and well on our way to funding our goal of expanding into 3 new communities and establishing 6 new teams in the Granada region. If you're feeling competitive with us, please consider making a $10 donation today and finding at least one more teammate to give!
Thank you for your support and dedication to continuing to break barriers for girls throughout Nicaragua!
Friends of Fútbol Sin Fronteras Granada,
2018 was a memorable year for us in Nicaragua: we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our program, expanded our reach to the Caribbean Coast, and strengthened our alumnae coach pipeline. Over the course of 2018, 275 girls in Granada regularly participated in FSF which offered 2,600 hours of daily programming through more than 1,000 events. More than 2,300 additional youth were reached through events hosted by FSF including camps, clinics, leagues, tournaments, and school visits.
As 2018 comes to to a close, we are excited to celebrate all of the memorable moments from the past year that have had an impact for both our participants and program. These advances happened against a backdrop of political turmoil and protests that caused widespread unrest and led to economic consequences that affect many of our families. We are grateful for your support throughout these ups and downs, rallying behind our anniversary to propel us to win the GlobalGiving Girl Fund Challenge, and sending thoughtful messages during the subsequent protests and civil unrest. In facing these challenges, our team has continued to provide consistent programming and access to the safe space of SWB's center with few interruptions.
To celebrate, we have put together a list of highlights from the past year—available in English and Spanish—to share with you all. All of these milestones were possible thanks to the ongoing support of you, our community, and your dedication to growing the game for women and girls.
This holiday season, please consider making a donation to #PlayItForward and support our goals in 2019, which include reaching more girls in the outskirts of Granada, continuing to develop our central program on and off the field, and strengthening our leadership development program. Thank you for your support!
—The FSF Team
As the only building that stands three floors high on Calle Santa Lucia, or even in the surrounding area, 'La Casa de Tres Pisos' (The house with 3 floors) is often the only description you need to provide when telling someone how to find the Fútbol Sin Fronteras community center. As one walks down the colorful streets of Santa Lucia, Tres Pisos truly stands out... if not for its height than for the buzz of excited teams and coaches laughing and shouting and the sound of soccer balls being juggled in front of the building. Through the years this tall, thin building has become an icon of the program and home to locals and visitors alike.
After many years in the now famous Tres Pisos, FSF made the move earlier this month to a new and improved building - this time to una casa con dos pisos (a house with two floors)! With the move to a new space comes the opportunity to provide more resources to both our players and staff. In our new home, there are 9 separate rooms that will be utilized as offices and meeting spaces for our coaches and program coordinators, storage space for our growing teams, quiet study spaces for academic support hours, and more facilities and bathrooms available for players changing into soccer gear before heading to the pitch. The building, which previously served as a hotel, even has a courtyard that our program has quickly begun to utilize as a space for team building activities and larger community events.
Amid this exciting development for Fútbol Sin Fronteras and the bustle of our ongoing programming is the larger context of the current situation in Nicaragua and the tremendous impact it has had, particularly on young people across the country. In this context, and thanks to the efforts of our mentor-coaches, FSF has made adjustments to program schedules so that we are able to continue to provide consistent support to our players and the football community within Granada. Crucial to providing that stability and consistency for our players is ongoing access to a safe, secure, girls-only space. Although we’ll be leaving the old murals of Tres Pisos behind and trading in three floors for two, we are excited to bring the community and sense of family that is Fútbol Sin Fronteras—Granada into our new home just a few more doors down Calle Santa Lucia.
You may have seen Nicaragua in the news more frequently in recent weeks, and especially in recent days, as violent protests have spread nationwide including Granada. We appreciate the many messages of support that we have received, as our girls, coaches, and families face an uncertain future in their community and country.
Nicaragua, as many of you have experienced first-hand, is a beautiful country with great cultural pride and some of the most welcoming people you could ever meet. Soccer Without Borders has operated in Nicaragua since 2006, with full-time, year-round programming since 2008 led by local staff and American volunteers. In that decade, we have reached thousands of girls across the country, and transformed the soccer community in Granada, advancing opportunities for girls on the field, in the classroom, and beyond.
Our year-round program operates 46 weeks/year in the city of Granada with more than 175 girls ages 5-20 registered for our daily, after-school soccer, education, and community activities. We have fostered cross-cultural friendships through 29 different week-long camp and immersion experiences for more than 400 volunteers from across the United States, England, Italy, Trinidad & Tobago, and other countries.
As a country, Nicaragua is at a crossroads, with a generation of students and workers who are demanding a representative democracy of a government that has not lived up to that promise. The struggle that is underway goes beyond a particular law or policy; a national dialogue about the future of the Presidency and democratic process began in May and has continued tenuously throughout the month to where we are now. Amidst this national dialogue, planned and impromptu protests across the country have continued. While the city of Granada itself had held overwhelmingly peaceful protests, in recent days it has erupted into violence, with looting, roadblocks, fires, and shootings. Our program has shifted activities earlier in the day while school is canceled, led by our local staff members, and hopes to remain a consistent and positive presence in the daily lives of our girls and their families.
The economic implications of this time of turmoil in Nicaragua are significant. The loss of tourism and economic activity during these last two months has been devastating to many families, in a context where a third of population lives on less than $2/day. Here at Soccer Without Borders, we were forced to cancel our upcoming Cultural Exchange Trip, an immersion experience for high school students that also represents 20% of our annual program budget. Thanks to the generous support of the SWB community during the Girl Fund Challenge, we are confident that the program will be able to sustain its regular programming despite the cancelation of the trip. We are so grateful for this support, and know that this community will continue to rally in uncertain times.
If you would like to send words of support to our staff and participants in Nicaragua, please contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will be sure to pass on these sentiments (and would be happy to translate!).
With gratitude for your support,
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Girl Fund Campaign! With 519 donors, we finished in third on the Leaderboard. The top four organizations secured spots in the fund; we are so grateful to our community of supporters for taking us to the top!
Our goal is to deepen our impact in Granada through additional educational, psychological, and socio-emotional resources for our girls. We also have plans to continue to expand the reach of our work to communities beyond Granada where local organizations and communities are just beginning to include sport as a part of their girls engagement strategy. We hope to accelerate and amplify their efforts through trainings, clinics, and direct caoching support. Thank you for taking us into the second decade of Fútbol Sin Fronteras with the support and funding we need to make these goals a reality.
The Soccer Without Borders Team
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