Together for the Neighbourhoods

Ties that Bind 
March 14, 2024
Partnerships Transform Families
March 14, 2024

One school director partner has been a pathfinder for Operation Mercy´s youth dimension of STEP in the toughest neighborhood in the city. Through her oversight, we have been able to work not only with women and mothers but also with young people, teaching dressmaking, majority language classes and leading football training for boys who come from the most economically depressed homes in the capital.

The 2023 football season culminated in an interschool fixture with the local Freedom school team – most of whom play with local club teams. As we were walking together to the inaugural interschool match, I asked our kids, “Have you ever played an actual normal game of football in your lives?” For all the players but one, the answer was a clear “no”.

Despite this, the team scored a great goal, but lost the game. Our coach, who is also a physiotherapist, half-joked that the result was a catastrophe. I fed back to him and his assistant that no, this event was a big success – an unknown precedent in our part of town. The assistant agreed as he never had the chance to play football in the tough neighbourhood, but now was all in to volunteer to help the team. Once very quiet, he is now the voice of an empowering uncle to the young players.

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