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More Than Just a Game
Participation in group sport and physical education is fundamental to healthy
childhood development. It has essential physical and emotional benefits and has a unique power to attract, connect and inspire children.
Soccer is a well-known and highly favored sport around the world, especially in Africa. Soccer promotes teamwork, improves confidence and builds community. It’s for these reasons that House of Giving has partnered with JAM International to create a Field of Dreams.
How it All Started
In 2015 while implementing nutrition and clean water programs in Mozambique, Michael and Susan Ellison saw an opportunity to introduce team sports into educational programs. Team sports encourage children to play together, stay in school and live healthy, active lives. The first step of this initiative was to provide soccer kits to 1,020 children in 34 different schools in Mozambique, Angola, and South Sudan. Each kit included jerseys, gloves, shorts, and two soccer balls. In addition, over 2,000 individual soccer balls were donated to schools, hospitals, orphanages, and community centers. These donations instilled a sense of pride and team spirit among the kids and promoted the participation of young girls by including equal numbers of girls and boys in team selection.
The current project in Mozambique, Africa began with a single soccer ball, but the program couldn’t stop there. House of Giving is dedicated to providing the children of Mozambique with a safe facility to practice, play, learn and grow into future leaders.
Building a Field of Dreams
The Field of Dreams project has seen its share of setbacks, most notably a severe dust storm in late 2017 that disrupted grass seeds and prohibited the grass from successfully germinating. However, patience is a form of faith, and the project must continue. As it stands today, the land in the Vilanculos area is being prepped, and grass runners are growing on the JAM farm for future harvesting.
Alongside the beautiful soccer field will sit the Centre of Excellence, which will provide education and training for young people from surrounding areas. Programs available at the facility will include training on scientific farming methods, business practices, and resources to help students understand the farming industry. Included at the Centre of Excellence will be advanced learning courses to help bridge the gap in education for local children.
The impact that will be made in the lives of these children is immeasurable. In partnership with JAM International, House of Giving aims to bring education, athletics, and pride to the rural communities of Mozambique.
About House of Giving
Annie Ellison is the Director of House of Giving, TriVita’s charitable organization