In 2013, the Arsenal Foundation pledged a donation of £300,000 over three years to its official global charity partner Save the Children, with the aim of supporting 4,000 vulnerable young people in the Bandung Province, West Java, by providing enhanced education and employment skills.
Almost two years on, the project is making real progress as it attempts to give more young people in Indonesia the chance to transform their lives. To date, Arsenal and Save the Children have supported 2,971 young people through the project; 1,271 in year one and 1,700 so far in year two. Some 325 teachers have also benefited from the project, participating in training activities conducted by the Education of Youth Empowerment Programme.
A total of 10 companies have also committed to support the programme with six of them already implementing activities to train 86 teachers and 266 students, offering internships to potential students, offering job opportunities and support on curricula development.
In January, the club was back in Indonesia and invited a group of young people and staff from the project to take part in a special activity session in Jakarta with former Arsenal midfielder and Arsenal Foundation Ambassador Robert Pires.
During the session, the Arsenal legend heard from Save the Children’s Indonesia country director, Ricardo Caivano, who spoke about the crucial work being carried out on the ground by Save the Children.
Pires also spoke to some of the young people directly about how the project had benefited them, and joined them in an exclusive football session to bring the group together.
The Arsenal legend was in Jakarta to help bring Indonesian fans together to set a MURI (Indonesian World Record Museum) record for the longest non-stop 11-a-side football match held in the country. To make their activity session even more special, 20 youngsters, aged 16 to 17, from the project were invited to take part in the record attempt with Pires. A total of 770 participants took part and helped the club to set a new MURI record of nine hours, three minutes and 39 seconds.
With the help of official club partner PUMA, Arsenal also donated a football per participant to Save the Children and other good causes in Indonesia. The Save the Children project received their donation of 200 footballs at the event.
Speaking about the project, Pires said: “In my role as ambassador, it’s been incredible to meet some of the youngsters who are being supported by Save the Children’s work in Indonesia and to see for myself that the project is already having such a positive impact on the lives of these young people here.
"It’s so important that Arsenal supports projects like this. Arsenal is known for giving its young players a chance and I’m proud we have the same philosophy off the pitch, giving young people who just need a chance, an opportunity to thrive.”
Save the Children’s Indonesia country director, Ricardo Ciavano, said: “It was fantastic to welcome Arsenal back to Indonesia. The club’s support of our project in Bandung has made an incredible difference to the lives of thousands of young people, providing them with the skills and links to employers that they need to fulfil their potential.”
For more information about Arsenal’s global charity partnership, visit www.arsenal.com/thearsenalfoundation.
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