Sri Lanka mine risk education

FABW fund mine-risk education through sport for Sri Lankan children

Thousands of Sri Lankan children and adults will receive mine-risk education starting this year thanks to funding from Find A Better Way.

Working with its long term partners the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and Spirit of Soccer, Find A Better Way has committed more than $200,000 over two years to support a new programme in the war-torn country.

Seven years after the conclusion of the Sri Lankan civil war, ten of the island’s twenty-five districts are still contaminated by explosive remnants of war (ERW), and the number of civilian landmine casualties continues to grow every year.

The mine-risk education project will teach children how to recognize and avoid landmines and ERW in their community, as well as the correct procedures to follow when they find them. To make the training accessible and fun it is mixed in with learning sporting skills.

Spirit of Soccer has successfully integrated mine-risk education into football coaching for many years. To ensure the message has maximum appeal for the youth of Sri Lanka, Spirit of Soccer will also include cricket skills training in their outreach as well. This will be made possible thanks to participation from The Change Foundation, which has a long track record of helping marginalized and at-risk young people through cricket, rugby, and dance.

To ensure the benefits of mine-risk education are passed on beyond the initial two years of the project, local teachers, coaches and youth leaders will also be professionally trained to teach the children football and cricket skills combined with mine risk education.

Distribution of the grant will be overseen by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, an organization with deep ties to Find A Better Way. Find A Better Way founder Sir Bobby Charlton was a founding member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, which also includes Sir Steve Redgrave, Martina Navratilova, and Sachin Tendulkar among its members.

It was also while acting as a Laureus Academy Member on a trip to Cambodia in 2008 that Sir Bobby was first inspired to work towards a landmine-free world. Three years later he founded Find A Better Way.

Speaking of the grant award, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy and All Blacks rugby legend Sean Fitzpatrick said, “Laureus is honoured to have been involved with Find A Better Way since its inception, and I welcome the chance for us to work together once again on this new project. Sir Bobby has long set the standard for sports men and women who want to make the world a better place.”

Find A Better Way CEO Lou McGrath OBE said, “Sri Lanka is burdened with some of the most difficult to clear minefields in the world. Following Sir Bobby’s vision, Find A Better Way is working tirelessly to speed the clearance process up with improved technology, but mine-risk education is essential in the meantime for people living in former war zones. We are delighted to be working with Laureus, Spirit of Soccer, and the Change Foundation to help the children of Sri Lanka avoid explosive remnants of war and to live a normal, happy life.”

Photo used with permission from