Triple E/ Fairplay For All Foundation
In 2010 I founded (and now co-direct with Roy Moore) the charity Triple E in the UK which is called Fairplay For All Foundation (FFA) in the Philippines. FFA and Triple E were set up to help the street children of Manila, using football to break the cycle of poverty. The first thing set up was the football teams in Payatas and Kasiglahan. Payatas is the biggest dumpsite in Manila where tens of thousands of people live, scavenging from the rubbish to find something to sell, recycle and even eat. Naturally the people there are incredibly hard-working, often scavenging for 16 hours a day for between P100-P200 on a good day.
What struck me was the manner in which the people living there were clearly able and talented, many of the kids are top of their class. The problem, however, was the lack of opportunity for many of the people – born into poverty they can’t afford the tools to get out of poverty, education, basic nutrition, a good home, etc. The Philippine people are so hospitable and friendly, the Philippines is a beautiful country, but 32.9% live below the poverty line with many more very close to the official figure (source). This is quite an average estimate and given several other indicators the reality may be closer to 40%.
Poverty is caused by a number of factors, of course, and debates about corruption, colonisation, bad governance and similar issues only mask the real issues of justice: where a child is born shouldn’t determine whether they live or die. Instead we look to encourage, enable and empower the children who live on the streets, those who society has forgotten and often deems worthless. For us, every life has value – whatever race, religion or gender, everyone has worth in and of themselves.
Our first step was to get involved with the communities, build relationships, trust and respect. With the rise of football in the Philippines, and Roy’s experience in the game, we were able to set up Payatas Football Club and Kasiglahan Football Club (the latter of which has a boys and a girls team). Competing in tournaments and representing their communities the teams have developed a culture of teamwork, cooperation and discipline as we look to provide positive ways for the kids to focus their energies. With coverage from national tv, newspapers and the top football websites these teams are also helping to change the way society views these communities – just as happened in England where the Kick Racism out of Football and Fairplay campaigns contributed to a culture shift, an intolerance to racism and cheating. Here too, we look to create Fairplay off the pitch as well as on it.
Building on this success we are soon to open a drop-in centre for street kids. A safe-space for kids who live and sleep on the streets to come and relax the facilities will offer nutrition, basic education and counselling. One of the most common reasons for drug addiction, particularly glue (rugby), is that it relieves hunger pains – thus nutrition will help to solve the underlying cause of certain drug addictions. Basic education keeps the kids learning and allows us to assess their current situation while counselling, particularly group therapy, allows a place for the kids to share things and build emotional connections and relationships often well underdeveloped in their peers. This setting also allows the long-term focus of the charity to take place, assessing the child’s particular case and situation in order to determine, with the child, the best way forward. For example, if poverty is the reason the child is on the streets – they have a loving family who are just too poor to care for their needs and send them to school, then we will look to sponsor their education, rehabilitate them with their families and break the cycle of poverty in the long-run as they gain qualifications and an education which allow them to support themselves and the next generation. If the reasons they are on the street are more because they were abused or orphaned, than we would look for residential care in one of the respected children’s homes we know, particularly Mango Tree House.
Together we look to break the cycle of poverty so children are not born into a situation where their future is determined for them. Together we look to create a world we are proud of, with a level playing field in sports and out. Together we can become something good and achieve whatever we work towards (To donate click here and at the side click donate monthly to support us with however much you can afford – we recommend a small amount like £5 a month for UK residents of P500 for Filipinos):