About the project
Supported by Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, Spirit of Soccer (SOS) is currently using FABW funding to expand its award-winning Mine Risk Education (MRE) programme to Colombia. This has included training local coaches in the delivery of MRE through soccer, initially in the form of a six-month pilot project, and working directly with 3,000 children from a mine-polluted community and many thousands more through surrounding multimedia campaigns.
The project is being evaluated using a specially designed system, and has demonstrated a measurable increase in relevant knowledge and reduction in risky behaviour amongst the pilot group. In late 2016, SOS has begun conducting reconnaissance in Sri Lanka to launch a similar programme in the country in 2017.
Indigenous Community Leader, El Meta
“This workshop is great. It’s the first time I have ever travelled outside of our reservation. Our community has been abandoned by everyone. No one has ever taught us about landmines and bombs but they are everywhere where we live. One of the people in our community went to collect firewood one day and stepped on a mine. He lost his leg. I want to take this training and do it back home. I want to learn everything so I can take it back to my community. I want to make this part of the policies of our indigenous community.”
Spirit of Soccer Coach, Mesetas
“Oscar was 13 years old when he stepped on an anti-personnel mine outside his village in Meta. Like many victims Oscar felt stigmatized and rejected. In 2015 he was invited to join Spirit of Soccer’s new MRE team in el Meta as an MRE educator and soccer coach. Despite some initial challenges Oscar has become more confident and is now working to deliver SOS programs and using his own story to increase the impact for other children and parents in the communities he works in. Oscar reports that he feels motivated, empowered and more confident as a result of the training and employment he has received from Spirit of Soccer.”
Colombianitos Coach from Puerto Tejada
“I was in the army in 2010 and some of my friends were injured by landmines. They have to wear prosthetic limbs now. From day one, I liked everything about this workshop. It was very professional and very well-planned. As a coach I always want to learn more and more and I’m eager for new ideas. This workshop helped me to become a better coach and to be able to protect the kids in my community not only from landmines but everything they suffer from. Football moves mountains. It is so powerful, it is passion, it is joy, it is love. You live it and feel it. People feel free when they are playing because they focus on the game and nothing else.”