Life Life

08/11/2018 - 15:26

Project "Football For All in Vietnam" (FFAV)

A beneficial playground for students

With over 15 years of implementation in Thua Thien Hue, the project "Football For All in Vietnam" (FFAV) has provided 19,000 boys and girls with recreation activities that are both physically and mentally beneficial.

Positive impact

Founded in 2005, the community football club of Thuy Phu Secondary School (Huong Thuy Town) initially encountered many difficulties as the number of participants was low. However, after a short time, the students and parents gradually realized the benefits of these activities, so the number of students registering to join the club has increased.

The community football playground brings fun and positive effects to the children

"At first I thought it was just simply children kicking the ball and playing, so I didn’t pay much attention. But after seeing one of the games, I realized that the children were not only able to play sports and have fun, but also participate in games with many useful messages. So, I decided to register my children to participate. I also support the replication of this model in other schools,” said Mr. Huy Vu, a parent with children studying at this school.

With the support of FFAV, the community football clubs not only organize football games but also provide a positive playground for the physical, talent and intellectual development of children. With the help of coaches, youth unionists and volunteers, folk dances, singing, painting, puzzle solving, and folk games that integrate the messages of environmental protection, physical hygiene, traffic safety, HIV awareness ... have helped the students develop a more positive lifestyle.

"Before, I was afraid to talk with strangers or be in crowded spaces. When I had free time, I would just read books or play video games. Ever since I started joining the club, my parents have been complimenting that I seem more steadfast, dynamic and confident,” Ngoc Hung – a student of Dien Loc (Phong Dien) School - proudly said.

The meaning and benefits of the community football model have spread to remote areas and to children with disabilities. Notably in Nam Dong district, since the realization of the significance of this playground, 14 community football clubs have appeared in the district. Some of which are highly regarded such as clubs from Huong Phu Primary School, Huong Huu Primary School, Thuong Quang Primary School, and Nam Phu Primary and Secondary School, etc.  As for children with disabilities, The Center for Gifted Education in Culture, Sport and Arts (Hue City) is considered as a bright spot in helping disadvantaged children confidently get on with their peers.

Not only popular within the primary and secondary schools, the model of community football has urged Mr. Nguyen Van Do (Phu Vang) to find FFAV and some clubs to learn from their experience to coordinate, link and operate a club for the local youth in his hometown.

Maintaining and replicating

When the Football For All in Vietnam in Hue announced to end the project (27/10), what parents and children were most concerned with was how to maintain and continue to promote these models on the basis of what FFAV had set up.

Snack stall of Thuy Phu Secondary School students (Huong Thuy town)

Ms. Le Ngoc Han, vice principal of Huynh Dinh Tuc Secondary School in Huong Tra Town, suggested: "Our solution is to open training courses in coaching, refereeing and peer leadership... for the students in the club. Then, they will learn how to organize and run the club through the football matches at the school or at football festivals and through life skills activities ... Currently, our school’s volunteers have established a Norwegian volunteer football club with nearly 30 members. They always support the school whenever there are events, even if some of these student volunteers have gone on to high school.

"At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, the school has incorporated this content into the parent conference for parents to better understand the benefits of maintaining the club. The school also sent invitations to all parents to come to the games and directly participate in refereeing, coaching, cooking, and playing with the children... After participating, they were very excited and expressed the desire to participate regularly in these activities. That is how we maintain the club before the end of the project," said principal Ho Huu Hung of Dien Loc Primary School (Phong Dien). In addition to training and encouraging alumni and parents to become volunteers, funding plays a very important role in maintaining and replicating this model.

After more than 10 years with FFAV, Mr. Tran Xuan Lua - Principal of Huong Toan Second School (Huong Tra Town) - shared, if done publicly and transparently, certainly no parent would refuse to contribute to maintaining such a beneficial playground for their children. "In addition to our parents' contributions, we also ask for support from local businesses in the area. So far, at the Huong Toan 2 Primary School club, the fund for community football activities is always "plentiful", Mr. Lua said.

Mr. Dang Phuoc My, acting director of the Department of Education and Training, said: "Depending on the specific conditions, the department will direct the affiliated units to develop football into an elective course to teach in secondary schools and include this activity in physical education and extracurricular activities … for elementary students; using part of the funds in the general expenditure to maintain the operation of the clubs...".

Story and photos: Han Dang