UEFA has joined forces with the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) and the Ugandan government to launch a scheme that is set to give homeless children in the country better opportunities for a brighter future.
The initiative was made possible through UEFA ASSIST - the international programme aims to address the needs of national associations and confederations outside Europe.
According to UEFA, the programme came on board in August 2019 to train 22 Ugandan international football coaches in order to give them the necessary training to educate approximately 600 children between the ages of 8 and 15 respectively.
The initiative is set to run for ten weeks and it aims to give the children the opportunity to be involved in football training sessions in the capital city of Kampala and also be equipped with basic life skills to help them going forward.
UEFA ASSIST came into existence in 2017 with the aim of supporting in four areas such as capacity building (football and operations), development of youth football, infrastructure projects and helping UEFA's member associations to create cooperation programmes with associations from outside of Europe.
"UEFA aims to work as much as possible in the development of football, and I feel it is our duty to assist other confederations and their member associations by sharing our experience, expertise and knowledge so they can reach their goals," said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.
"We are looking forward to helping them grow football in their continents and also to participating in the development of the game outside Europe."
Reports have emerged that the amount of children under the age of 18 who are homeless in Uganda is increasing by the numbers and most have had to resort to crime in order to find a way of surviving on the streets.
"We are very grateful to both FUFA and UEFA ASSIST for their support with this programme," said Florence Nakiwala, the Ugandan government minister for youth and children's affairs.
"Using the power of football we are aiming to take vulnerable, homeless children off the streets and keep them safe.
"They will learn new skills and make new friends. We will measure the reduction in attacks on such children as well as the reduction in petty crime, drug usage and alcohol-related injuries. This will allow us to understand the benefit of such an initiative in our cities."
The children will have the chance to participate in a mini-football match at the end of each weekly session. The youngsters will also be given equipment such a football shirt, shorts and shoes when they take part in the programme.
“We are delighted to have supported FUFA and believe this Football in the Community programme is an excellent initiative, delivering some very clear benefits for the Ugandan Government," said Eva Pasquier, UEFA’s head of international relations.
"It shows what's possible when the various stakeholders in football work together."
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