By Keira Morris-Akeroyd
You don’t have to look hard to see that passion and football are inextricably linked. Examples are everywhere; from the euphoria of Western Sydney Wanderers fans following their Asian Champions League victory, to the hordes of Socceroos supporters who rallied together to cheer on their team during the World Cup.
Passion for the beautiful game is as dynamic as it is all-enveloping and our new volunteer program is offering football fans the chance to use this passion to make a difference in Timor-Leste. The two week program, called “Banking on Football,” is a unique experience that gives volunteers the opportunity to teach disadvantaged children football and financial skills that will enable them to build a brighter future, free from poverty.
Timor-Leste, like many developing nations, is football-mad. As a sea of red and black poured into Sydney pubs to watch the Wanderers claim victory, scores of Timorese children played their hearts out on dusty soccer pitches before school.
Our CEO, Peter Mason, says he’s looking for people who are interested in football and passionate about making a difference to join the adventure.
“If you’re a football fan and you’re wanting to make a difference in a disadvantaged community then Banking on Football is an incredible program to get involved with. You don’t have to be Cristiano Ronaldo, just someone who enjoys a kick and wants to effect positive change. It’s amazing to see the difference volunteers can make in these communities and it’s certainly an unforgettable experience for the participants as well.”
The program taps into the kids’ passion for football and teaches them fundamental financial skills that can help them to break free from the poverty cycle.
The Banking on Football program is a fantastic way to engage and inspire kids in disadvantaged communities. On the field they learn the importance of teamwork, perseverance and leadership and those skills are fundamental when they’re learning how to save.
Just over an hour by plane from Australia, Timor-Leste is an emerging travel destination that offers pristine beaches and rich culture. CUFA’s program allows volunteers to explore the rugged beauty of this fledgling nation whilst making a difference in the lives of local Timorese people.
With almost 50% of the population living below the poverty line, Mr. Mason insists that programs such as Banking on Football are key in empowering Timorese communities on their path to development.
“Timor-Leste is still recovering from decades of economic and political turmoil and it is vital that they receive the education, training and support that will help them break free from the poverty cycle.”