Reflections on Honduras 2012: Part 3 – The Power of the Beautiful Game
Football provides a rare point of unity in a country which is deeply divided by gang culture and political corruption. Football in Honduras, as in many parts of the world, is far more than just a sport: it’s a means of escape, a representation of hope and a catalyst for change.
By channelling the children’s love of the sport, in Summer 2012 Football Action was able to run sessions that could instil confidence and encourage leadership and teamwork skills whilst also providing an outlet for aggression. Importantly, we also wanted to create a sense of fun!
Football was used to challenge existing traditions that are deep-rooted in Honduran culture. The most prominent example of this is the ‘machismo’ or male dominated culture that is pervasive at many levels of Central American society.
Working with all the children at Casa we wanted to demonstrate that the girls could take part and compete with the boys at an equal level. A crucial part of this message was reinforced by the female volunteers from Leeds University who acted as key role models for the young girls who would otherwise have seen their involvement restricted by the older boys.
The positive impact which the programme had was obvious by the end of the project, with a number of girls being accepted as equal competitors in games by most of the boys. The boys were put in their place on a number of occasions by a few particularly determined females!