2019 sees a step-change in our partnership with Save the Children through the creation of Coaching for Life. Working as one team, Arsenal and Save the Children have combined their expertise to create this unique programme to improve the mental wellbeing of children affected by conflict and violence.
The ambitious programme, harnesses almost 100 years of Save the Children’s child protection expertise and 33 years of Arsenal in the Community’s sports for development experience, and is initially being piloted in Jordan and Indonesia.
Arsenal Academy Manager Per Mertesacker said on his recent visit to Jordan to see Coaching for Life in action “When children suffer – we all lose. People here have fled their country and I have no experience of that, so I talked to them and learnt a lot. It was a privilege for me to visit.
“The young people I met focus on what is happening now and this project will give them courage to cope with the struggles they face day to day, as well as providing them with the skills to have a better future.
“Whether you're a young person on one of our community programmes in north London or part of our Academy, you're part of the Arsenal family. We take our responsibility as a club seriously.”
The project aims to reach 4,500 girls and boys over three years and the programme consists of seven coaching modules which will run over 20 week cycles.
Among the children Per met on his visit was 15 year-old Mohammad. Mohammad has been living in the camp for 6 years after fleeing Syria when he was just 9 years-old.
Mohammad said: “I love playing football, I forget everything when I’m on the pitch. Meeting Per has been a dream. Football teaches me respect and I’m excited to learn more skills from the coaches.”
The programme will incorporate a ‘Train the Trainer’ model – where Arsenal football coaches will teach the modules to local trainers in Jordan and Indonesia. The male and female Arsenal coaches will live in each country for almost two months and work with Save the Children to ensure the programme is as effective as possible and tailored to meet the needs of the children in each community.
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