Football can change individuals AND communities. Using sport for development, we engage 1000 children - boys and girls - in a year-round community outreach football program where we provide free coaching, competition, and life-skills in Karachi's most vulnerable areas. The aim of our centers in Lyari, Malir, Baldia Town, Orangi Town, Old Golimar, Manghopir, and Mauripur is to introduce children to structured sport, provide them with a healthy alternative lifestyle, and scout local talent.
Pakistan's youth (8-16yrs) includes children who cannot exercise their right to play (access, acceptance); children who do not get the recommended amount of physical activity (stunting, obesity); an increasingly inactive labor force; and cases of violent misconduct due to ethnic intolerance/unawareness. Using football to engage 1000 children/year, we provide free-coaching to communities that benefit from recreational and competitive activity while instilling in them the values of sportsmanship.
Football has the capability to influence democratic practices through team building and leadership exercises; academic performance owing to the fact that physically active children do better at school; health and wellness; and, foster social inclusion for ethnically diverse population. Each child benefits from participation, competition, and recreation. By providing them with a platform to interact, grow, and influence each other, football for development creates stronger communities.
Community based sport goes a long way to keep children involved in healthy physical activity and become better citizens. Many children find their confidence through playing a team sport and take initiatives to change their communities for the better. Young girls who play will advocate for their daughters to play in the future; adolescents who excel become role models within their communities; and parents and spectators get involved in community events. When our children play, we all win.