Arsenal Foundation, in partnership with Save the Children football program, is giving impoverished children a chance to forget about their daily hardships while teaching them about their rights.
A 13-year-old named Gita from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta lived in a nice home with her family before they were all evicted and forced to live under a motorway.
Living there in the urban slums with her mother, father, and younger sister, they were forced to share a public toilet with neighbours and endure horrible conditions.
Gita then joined a football program that was formed by a partnership between Save the Children Foundation and the Arsenal Foundation. Recently, she talked about how it all started for her and the problems she had faced.
“In the beginning my mother didn’t let me join the football team because she said it’s a male activity,” Gita said.
“A girl like me should stay at home and do kitchen things instead.
“But after a while, my parents agreed I should join.”
The whole idea behind the project is to bring children together and help them build confidence and develop teamwork in a safe and clean environment.
Gita was the first girl to join the program in Jakarta, but has since helped many other young girls find a love for football. “I was the first girl to join the project, but now I’ve convinced my friends to join the girls’ football team and they love it as much as I do,” she added.
“It’s different from any other activity that I have ever done. Here we get football coaching-clinics as well as soft-skills classes.”
“It’s really good to learn things outside of school. I’m learning new things like gender equality and children rights.
“I’m so happy to be part of the football team and I feel honoured to be supported by Arsenal and Save the Children.”