This blog post is written by our in-country Haitian program coordinators, Jean Kendy and Emilio. Recently, they conducted GOALS programming in two rural areas, bringing soccer, health education and materials to two villages, and inspiring hundreds of girls and boys. Here’s their story in their own words:
La Gonave is a small, dry island full of mountains. In terms of development it is late compared to the rest of the country and suffers a lack of infrastructure and water. Equipment and services are mainly nonexistent. Everything is expensive to buy on the island and much more expensive than in Port-au-Prince. Transportation is a big problem. Petite Anse is an isolated village of the island where GOALS spent 3 days.
Petite Anse has 2 small primary schools but no secondary school, no professional school or university. After finishing their primary studies, the kids can go to a secondary school in another village if their parents have the money to pay for it, but most of them don’t go further than primary school. Most of the population lives from fishing and agriculture but it is not enough to fill their needs.
The trip from Leogane to La Gonave took us about 10 hours on the bus and we also took a boat. The trip was really nice and the population welcomed us. We slept at someone’s house there, because there is no hotel. The community prepared everything so we could have a good program. Everything was wonderful we were very satisfied with the results.
A group of young people and adults, who love soccer and would like to work on sustainable development of their village, contacted GOALS in 2012 to ask us to come to La Gonave to provide support in developing soccer activities and other ways to develop the area. Petite Anse is in real need and some of the leaders of this community know GOALS as an organization using soccer to engage kids because some of the Petite Anse kids know some kids from Leogane. We knew this small village for a very long time and that the community is in real need in terms of educational, sport, social, cultural, and economic activities.
We went there to La Gonave to see how the community works and how they deal with daily issues. We organized soccer matches, did some training about sexual health, distributed clothes, toothbrushes and soccer balls, and also met parents in the village so they can understand what we are doing. They really enjoyed the activities and around 75 teenagers(boys and girls) participated but we also saw some parents who came to assist.
We coordinated the activities and the leaders of the village were in charge of motivating the youth and talking to the parents so that they could know what we wanted to do during our 3 days there. All the activities went so well and the population was enthusiastic. They said that was the first activities they had in the community during school vacations and they said there will probably not be any other program like this.
The community has already called us to ask when we are coming back to play and organize another seminar about sexual health because many young girls get pregnant too early within the community and because there is no other programs like GOALS in this area.
ANSE A VEAU
Emilio has family living in Anse à Veau, and a lot of friends there. Some friends contacted us because the community of this village also likes soccer. As they know GOALS is specialized in soccer activities for youth, they asked us to bring programs to their community. We went there to help the population which is need of basic infrastructures and services. We wanted to see the problems and find out what GOALS could do there to help. We took a truck from Leogane to Miragoane, then spent three more hours in a truck and when we arrived, we took a motorcycle taxi for about an hour to reach Anse à Veau because it is very remote.
During the 3 days we spent in Anse à Veau, we did so much! We met the people and coaches and kids. We organized soccer activities, games and matches and gave them some soccer balls, but also worked on health: we distributed condoms and toothbrushes and also soccer shirts. Around 50 kids attended the activities and also some adults, and some of the Anse à Veau coaches came to help.
We slept in a nice home of one person of the community. There is a lack of infrastructures but they have at least water. Another organization is helping them to treat water by themselves. We would like to go back and visit them again because they really like soccer. The coach was happy that we motivated the girls to play soccer too and he is keeping the team that we started. They called to tell us that the girls team just won their very first match.
Everyone loved that GOALS came to visit. The parents said the kids have no other activity in the area so they would like us to come back so GOALS could contribute to the development of the area.
A special thanks to our partner Coaches Across Continents who taught our staff how to use soccer as a tool for teaching health lessons, building gender equality and practicing conflict resolutions, making our rural outreach programs even more effective, and to our friends at One World Futbol for the indestructible balls we distributed, which are perfect for these remote programs.