Street Child of Liberia, a local group here has celebrated the launch of a new partnership with Liberia-based water Beverage Company Aqua life with a football tournament that featured over 70 beneficiaries and some of the Street Soccer Academy players.
Since the end of 2012, Street Child of Liberia has been identified street children throughout the capital to benefit from the organization’s projects aimed at helping to get children back home, into education and giving their families the means to keep them there.
The group is closely supported by the UK charity Street Child, which provides funding, training and support to help build its capacity. Street Child has already made a huge impact in neighboring Sierra Leone, working with local organizations on similar projects that currently create educational opportunities for more than 20,000 children.
One of the main projects that Street Child of Liberia is working on is putting together a team, which will represent Liberia at the Street Child World Cup (SCWC) in Rio, Brazil in March next year.
The SCWC is a global campaign uniting street children from 20 different countries around the world to give them a voice and help deal with the issues they face on a day-to-day basis. Team Liberia is focused upon using football as a tool to engage with local children and to change the negative perception street kids faced in society.
“What better way of engaging children than football; I always tell my friends that football is a way of life, people are so dedicated to it and it can really help change peoples’ lives”, said Sam Burnette III, who has been volunteering with Street Child of Liberia for several months and is Team Manager to the Street Child World Cup.
“Street Child of Liberia and the Street Child World Cup embody two things which I am really passionate about, football and improving the lives of children. I first got involved as a football coach, but I soon realised that I had a responsibility to do more to help these vulnerable kids”, Sam added.
The football fun day was held at BYC field on Saturday in association with the Liberian Football Association and the Street Soccer Academy. Quite a crowd appeared to show support for the programme and cheer on the players as they completed their training.
Two guests in particular really created some excitement as former Lone Star’s players, James Debbah and current LFA Vice President Musa Shannon came along to show their support and offer some words of encouragement to all in attendance. Their message was clear; enjoy your football, but work hard in school, as education is very important.
Aqualife have agreed to sponsor SCWC Team Liberia on their road to Rio and to provide water for all of their training sessions, as they too share the belief that through football so much can be achieved within society.
“Street Child of Liberia and Team Liberia are extremely grateful to Aqualife for their support. As one of the first sponsors, it is brilliant to have them on board,” added Burnette III.
“Also it is so inspiring to have James Debbah and Musa Shannon come along, not only because of their footballing talents, but because they are role models for our players. It is good to see that they are still involved in football and positively influencing youth footballers to be better people and to realise the importance of education”, he said.