The US Embassy with an NGO, Soccer Buddy, on Saturday kicked off a three-month football tournament for children in Kuchigoro Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp, Abuja, to imbue in them leadership and civic responsibility capabilities.
The children camp were organised in six teams and the winners will be awarded medals at the end of the tournament.
Mr Sterling Tilley, Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy, Abuja, said at the opening ceremony that the purpose of Soccer Buddy was to teach young people basic skills on how to conduct themselves in everyday life.
“The purpose of Soccer Buddy is to teach young people how to conduct themselves in everyday life.
“The first thing is not only to engage in sports and learn how to play the game; it is also to learn how to establish leadership skills and other sets of skills that will allow them to be self-sufficient in everyday life,” he said.
Mr Mimshach Obioha, the Organiser of Soccer Buddy, said the programme was set up to groom children in the camp using sports as a means to learning other soft skills.
“Soccer Buddy is a programme that basically helps IDP kids learn to play soccer and at the same time learn some soft skills that are actually paramount to nation building and personal success.
“ For example, they will be learning leadership skills, soft skills, life skills and some entrepreneurship and also some vocational skills while they are learning to play soccer,” Obioha said.
Mr John Solomon, Soccer Buddy Coach, said the programme was aimed at empowering the children with quality education for nation building.
“This programme aims at ensuring quality education, empowering girls and boys and also getting the kids back to school, giving them a skill.
“With this, we are also contributing in nation building because those people that acquire a skill can start up a business on their own which will help them to get funding to further their education,” Solomon said.
One of the children, John Dawa, expressed appreciation to the sponsors of the programme for enabling him to play football.
“I am enjoying my football because since 2014 I start to dey playing game in this IDP Camp Kuchigoro.
“Before, I don’t know how to play ball but for the opportunity they are bringing to us, some of this representative of US Embassy.
“This is their second time of coming here they have been bringing something for us like ball, kits and others,” Dawa said. (NAN)