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Here is an update from one of our partners in Mozambique. Even with their financial & other struggles, they continue to faithfully work in their community doing what they can to help kids play.

I’m a leader of children and youth in the organization of ESPANOR (Hope for New Branches). In our project we have 2050 children from 41 groups and 574 youth from 22 groups. Which is 2124 in total of Children and Youth in 63 groups. These groups are also led by youth leaders who are working as volunteers. There are 91 volunteers.

Other groups used to meet once a week while others meet twice / week.
There are many group of people who are being impacted with the work. With this impact, there are other groups who are in need of the programs and we are expecting to have 15 new groups for this year 2016.

Every year, we used to plan to have 15 new groups. Sometimes we manage while sometimes we do not. We give training to volunteers through seminars three times a year. We visit them in their groups in order to supervise and evaluate how the project is going on, to encourage them etc.

As we know that nothing can go well 100%, there are problems which we meet in our programs. We prefer to help / provide with materials for each program for free like balls but we don’t manage. This happens because of financial problems. Therefore we used to provide them a ball at once then if that ball lasts, we ask groups to contribute some amount of money to buy themselves a new ball for their group. With this request, sometimes groups also they don’t manage to buy a ball for themselves and the end results is that the group starts to become discouraged or even stop.

We would like to ask for your help to solve this problem.

We are thankful for our partners around the world who work so faithfully in their communities, & we are thankful for our donors & advisors who help Ball Project provide grants for balls & sports equipment to programs like the ones described in Mozambique.

A concept we are working on here at Ball Project is helping create more vision & ownership & sustainability for our partners with the resources that already exist in their communities.

We are encouraging our partners to have each team or community to match the Ball Project grant anywhere from a 1:1 to 20:1 ratio, where for each new ball (or 10 balls, or 20 balls) that Ball Project provides, the team/village/school/coach/church needs to come up with another ball for the project.

Along that line, here is an encouraging update from one of our partners in Mozambique:

We will continue to help teams, villages and churches in Mozambique to develop sports programs in poor communities, mainly through soccer schools. We do so by training coaches and teachers on experiential learning.

This year we will extend our action to other Portuguese speaking African countries: Cape Verde Islands, Sao Tomé and Principe, Guinea-Bissau.

Matching makes sense to our groups, although in some cases this is almost impossible. To give you an idea, a cheap soccer ball (not for teams but good for community and church initiatives in South Africa can cost around US$10. In a rural church, this may be 50% of a Sunday offering!!!!

So we usually do other kind of matching, like the community giving the food (locally sourced) and we give the materials. In some of these communities even if they have money, they don’t have anywhere to buy balls.

Anyway, let me try to do a soccer ball matching program of 1:10 or 1:5 depending each case.

This matching program may or may not work, but it is a step in the right direction.

We are thankful for our partners faithfully working each week in their communities around the world to help kids play. & we are thankful for our donors & advisers for encouraging us to work on building our partners’ sustainability & resilience.

After 2 weeks of Ball Project visits in Asia, I am in Florida for a week of meetings with Ball Project partners from Uganda, Jamaica, Nepal, India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Dominica, Romania, Niger, Nigeria, Mozambique, Kenya & beyond.

Ball Project is a resource partner with funding for balls (obviously) & essential equipment such as goals, nets, pumps & so forth. We also do our best to connect our partners with coaching & programming experts to help them accomplish their goals in the communities where they work.

Partnerships are simply two or more people or groups working together as a team to accomplish a common vision or goal. Partnerships of this sort are working relationships. Relationships are built over time on trust, communication & shared experiences.

Face to face time is always special. Hearing project & personal updates & learning more about what is working & what isn’t working helps all of us to stay focused & productive. Sometimes we talk about projects; sometimes we talk about sports or family. The important thing is simply talking & listening & getting to know each other better so that we have a better understanding of each other & open lines of communication & growing trust.

For Ball Project & our partners the common goal is to help children by helping children play.

Ball Project is very grateful for our wonderful partners working in challenging situations, usually underfunded & under-resourced simply investing in the children & young people in their communities.

Girl in Chennai India with a soccer ball

Girl in Chennai India with a soccer ball

Help children play

“Give me a ball and I’ll have a thousand kids chasing after it.” –Solomon, Kenya

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