06 February 2016 06:17
It was all fun and joy at the FIFA Football for Hope Centre on Saturday (6 February 2016) in Kimisagara, a suburb of the Rwandan capital, Kigali, as young children sang, danced and played towards highlighting the importance of football in social development.
The event was the ‘Kigali Football for Good Festival’ initiated by Streetfootballworld, through its local network member, Association des Jeunes Sportifs de Kigali ‘Esperance’ with the support of the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF).
The one-day event under the theme ‘celebrate Africa with innovative solutions and how positive social change can be delivered through football’ provided a platform to showcase how football can be used as a tool for social change and development.
There were also series of activities that represented the work of community based organizations using football as a tool for social transformation.
The fun-filled day started with a workshop for over 50 kids with CAF General Secretary, Hicham El Amrani; Paul Kelly - Regional Programmes Manager, StreetFootballWorld and Victor Emmanuel Sewabana – Founder of Esperance amongst the speakers.
The discussions centred on the importance of in reconciling the youth, peaceful coexistence, how to tolerate each other and to a larger extent fulfilling one’s potential and goals in life.
The climax of the day was a gender-mix match on the mini-pitch featuring Zambia legend and CAF Executive Committee member, Kalusha Bwalya and three members of the Rwanda national team namely goalkeeper Eric Ndashimiye, midfielder Emery Bayisenge and striker Ernest Sugira, also boys and girls from Esperance.
They engaged in ‘Football3’, a unique way of playing football based on the principle of basic values of fair play, gender equality, teamwork and respect.
On her part, Rwanda’s Minister of Sport and Culture, Julienne Uwacu commended CAF for their role in using football as a tool for development across the continent.
In the end, CAF 2nd Vice President, Almamy Kabele Camara assisted by CAF 1st Vice President, Suketu Patel presented 100 tickets for Sunday’s final of the Orange CHAN Rwanda 2016 between DR Congo and Mali to Sewabana for the kids to attend the match at the Amahoro Stadium. There were also gifts for the kids who participated in the match.
Esperance founded in 1996 in a Non-Governmental Organisation with focus on social work and conflict solving through football. The organisation uses football not only to reconcile differences within the population, but also to raise awareness of dire issues that face young people and their communities
Over 10,000 young people are trained on the football field each year and many more partake in other activities.