The power of passion: using football to inspire change

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You only have to look at the recent euphoria of Western Sydney Wanderers fans to realise that passion and football go hand in hand. Passion for the beautiful game is as dynamic as it is all-enveloping. It’s a universal language that can transcend barriers and inspire change.

A new program, led by non-profit organisation CUFA, is offering football fans the chance to use this passion to make a difference in Timor-Leste. The two week program, called the “Banking on Football Engagement Program,” 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.

This will be the second time that CUFA has run the Banking on Football Engagement Program after the success of the inaugural program in Cambodia in 2013.

Timor-Leste, like many developing nations, is football-mad. As a sea of red and black poured into Sydney pubs to watch the Wanderers’ AFC Champions League victory, scores of Timorese children played their hearts out on dusty soccer pitches before school.

According to Peter Mason, CUFA’s CEO, 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 Engagement 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 the Banking on Football Engagement Program 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.”

Mr 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 want to make a difference in a disadvantaged community then the Banking on Football Engagement Program is an incredible program to get involved with. 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.”

FAST FACTS

DATE: 4-15 February
TRIP DURATION: 10 days (teach children football and financial literacy skills, explore beautiful Timorese beaches and mountains, visit historical sites and immerse yourself in the local culture.)
REGISTRATION FEE: $1800
WHAT’S INCLUDED: Return flights, accommodation, all food, transport, tours, English speaking guide.
FUNDRAISING TARGET: $3300 (CUFA provides a fundraising guide and assistance.)

To find out more or register your interest CLICK HERE.

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