Reflections on Honduras 2012: Part 4 – Not just a Fortnight of Football

Not Just a Fortnight of Football

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The football pitch funded by Leeds University as it looked on 12 July 2012, in the midst of construction.

The football pitch funded by Leeds University as it looked on 12 July 2012, in the midst of construction.

Our time at Casa Alianza extended beyond the walls of the charity’s main base in the centre of the city.

We were able to spend time at the specialised centres of Querebines, a safe-house for girls who have been involved in trafficking and prostitution, and Casa Rafael, which supports young boys who have suffered with a double drug addiction – usually that of glue and another class A substance.

The base at Casa Rafael, set away from the chaos of the city centre, was chosen as the location for the all-weather football pitch which is being built with the money raised by Leeds University. The volunteers who helped to raise the money were able to see the progress of the pitch and even got to have a kick about before the first seeds of grass were planted. When completed, the boys at Rafael will be able to play football throughout the year and it will also be used by the children at the other Casa centres whenever possible.

After spending time with the boys at Rafael, it was clear why we had selected this particular group to benefit from both the funds we had raised and equipment we had flown over. With children as young as 12 battling serious addiction problems, the workers at Rafael have the daily challenge of keeping the children occupied for as much of the day as possible. The aim is to try and keep them actively engaged to help them cope with their addictions and their extremely difficult lives.

The pitch at Casa Rafael on 19 November 2012... now with grass!

The pitch at Casa Rafael on 19 November 2012… now with grass!

Based on their love of football, the children were eager to learn and develop their skills whenever possible. We received tremendous feedback from all the children after two weeks leading coaching sessions. For these boys football provides not only an excellent outlet for their energies, but a source of camaraderie and unity. For this reason alone, it was clear that the money raised would have a real beneficial impact on these children, and that when completed, the pitch will serve as a valuable asset for the charity to aid the development of the children at Casa Alianza.

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