The main aim of the project is to educate children of the dangers of land mines and other explosive elements of war through the power of football and sporting education.The spirit of Soccer project has a powerful and important itinerary to spread throughout the youth of Iraq including Mine Risk education,activities that get across the important message in a fun way and to raise the awareness by changing the behavior of children towards explosive objects whether they be mines or bombs.
“There aren’t many chances to play sport for women in Iraq” says Serab. “Spirit of Soccer gave me the opportunity to return to the sport I love at the same time as performing a humanitarian role, helping to protect children against mines and other weapons by educating them”. (Serab -football coach for spirit of soccer)
The violence in both Syria and Iraq have had catastrophic consequences for humanitarian reasons in the region.There has been a huge amount of displacement for people in the region leaving some 5.2 million people in urgent need of assistance in Iraq. Since
December 2014 more than 2.2 million Iraqis have been internally displaced, and half of them are children under the age of 18, forced to live in camps without any formal education or social structures.
There are many aims and objectives of the project which can be a complex process due to the war torn nature of the regions so to reach those objectives given the dangers that the coaches are working in and the environment.There are core objectives which are :-
- Teach 150 Iraqi and Syrian football coaches (30% women) the fundamentals of trauma and mine safety:a. KEEP AWAY from dangerous areas
b. DON’T TOUCH mines or explosive remnants of war
c. REPORT mines or explosive remnants of war to someone in authority
d. COMMUNICATE the above to friends and family
- Deliver mine risk education through football to 25,000 Iraqi and Syrian children
- Recruit 5,000 high-risk, fighting age men into a ‘anti-extremism football league’
- Deliver mine risk education messages indirectly to 75,000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees and internally displaced people
- Increase access to football in under-served communities
(objectives taken from http://uefafoundation.org/action/spirit-of-soccer-2/ )
These crucial elements and objectives are done through football activity and participation.Sport is a special vehicle and a very clever way to spread a message to as many children in the fastest possible time as this links with the Brain training theory that activities should be put across in the manner of the child’s capabilities to take in that information so through fun physical activities they are more likely to get a higher participation equaling a larger target base.
This fantastic project of “Spirit of Soccer” works all over the world and are always looking to expand to reach more war torn areas as the work will never be over. So far there are 110,000,000 mines in the world and it has been predicted that it would take 1000 years to clear them at a cost of $30 billion and in which 50% of the total victims of mines die within the first hours without being able to get medical help.
Since 2009 we have delivered programs in Baghdad, Basra and Kirkuk to over 80,000 children, often under heavy shelling. In keeping with our philosophy of local ownership we have trained 18 local Iraqi coaches as MRE instructors, including three women, from across the Arab, Sunni, Shia, Kurdish and Christian communities.
(Spirit of Soccer statment – http://spiritofsoccer.org/our-impact/)
If you would like to donate or see more information on this fantastic project then please follow the link below.