The UEFA Foundation for Children, The Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children are working together to transform the lives of poor and vulnerable children living in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.
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The UEFA Foundation for Children has teamed up with The Arsenal Foundation and the UK non-governmental organisation Save the Children to support Coaching for Life, a development programme in Jakarta, Indonesia, that aims to empower children to make their own life choices.
“Whether you’re growing up in London, Jordan or Jakarta, football has the power to bring people together and offer a lifeline,” says Arsenal and England defender Leah Williamson, who travelled to Jakarta in October 2019 to deliver a masterclass for girls taking part in the programme.
“It was amazing to see how Coaching for Life has been built in partnership with Save the Children to create something so special to inspire the girls I met.”
Coaching for Life
Many of the Indonesian capital’s poorest children have no choice but to start earning an income from a young age to help support their families. They are left with no choice but to drop out of school – losing the best chance of improving their lives.
In a combined effort to give these children hope of a better future, The Arsenal Foundation, in collaboration with Save the Children, set up Coaching for Life. Delivered exclusively through football and on-pitch sessions, the programme draws on Save the Children’s expertise in protecting vulnerable children and helping them cope with their tough life circumstances.
In particular, Coaching for Life uses innovative training modules to empower young girls’, giving them the confidence and resilience to stand up for basic human rights. Many are forced into child labour or run the risks of child marriage and early pregnancy. It is estimated that six Indonesian girls marry before they are 18 years old.
Arsenal FC coaches
As part of the programme, Arsenal FC have sent football coaches from London to Jakarta to share their expertise with 35 local coaches. Together with the children, they explore topics such as emotions, communication and decision-making.
“The young girls in Jakarta inspired me and have made me incredibly proud to be a woman and a role model to young girls,” says Arsenal’s Williamson.
“I have been at Arsenal since I was nine and have always known about our place and role in the community. It’s in our DNA. We all understand it’s a privilege to use the power of the club to do good. When you apply it in a really special way, it can be used to achieve brilliant things – develop confidence, resilience and essential skills for life.
To ensure lessons learned stretch beyond the football pitch into childrens’ homes, 1,500 parents and caregivers also participate in the programme. Coaching for Life is also funding the renovation of seven football pitches so youngsters taking part in the programme have safe places to play and enjoy sport.