Homeless children in Uganda have been presented with another chance to a career, after the Union of European Football Association (UEFA), launched an initiative that will allow them to play football and teach them important life skills in the capital Kampala.
UEFA has partnered with the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA), and the Ugandan government, to extend support to these children through the UEFA ASSIST program, which helps provide other football confederations with knowledge-sharing and development opportunities.
“UEFA aims to work as much as possible in the development of football, and I feel it is our duty to assist other confederations and their member associations by sharing our experience, expertise and knowledge so they can reach their goals,” UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin was quoted by www.uefa.com.
“We are looking forward to helping them grow football in their continents and also to participating in the development of the game outside Europe,” he added.
Uganda is one of the countries with the highest number of children under the age of 18 who are homeless, and many have to resorted to sleeping on the streets especially in the capital city of Kampala, although the authorities in the country have tried their level best to improve their living but the efforts haven’t yet reaped the expectations.
“We are very grateful to both FUFA and UEFA ASSIST for their support with this program, using the power of football we are aiming to take vulnerable, homeless children off the streets and keep them safe,” the Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs in the Cabinet of Uganda Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi said.
“They will learn new skills and make new friends. We will measure the reduction in attacks on such children as well as the reduction in petty crime, drug usage and alcohol-related injuries,”
“This will allow us to understand the benefit of such an initiative in our cities.” she added.
Up to 600 children between the ages of eight (8) and fifteen (15) will have the opportunity to take part in football training sessions in Kampala, that will run for 10 weeks, under the instructions of 22 Ugandan football coaches who were also trained last month with the assistance of UEFA ASSIST.
They will have the chance to participate in a mini-football match at the end of each weekly session as well as being taught basic life skills, they will also be given equipment including a football shirt, shorts and shoes.
“We are delighted to have supported FUFA, and believe this ‘Football in the Community’ program is an excellent initiative, delivering some very clear benefits for the Ugandan Government,”
“It shows what’s possible when the various stakeholders in football work together,” UEFA’s head of international relations Eva Pasquier noted.
UEFA ASSIST was set up in 2017. It provides support for the other confederations and their member associations in four specific areas of capacity building (football and operations), development of youth football, Education and knowledge-sharing and infrastructure projects in UEFA’s member associations as well as other associations from outside of Europe.