East meets west in his­toric foot­ball match

The U13 foot­ball team from Old Buck­en­ham Hall School took on 14 chil­dren from Mum­bai slums as part of their tour of the UK

EADT Suffolk - - Education -

A team of 14 chil­dren from the Mum­bai slum com­mu­nity joined chil­dren at Old Buck­en­ham Hall School, near Lavenham, for a week­end as part of their UK foot­ball, ed­u­ca­tion and cul­tural tour.

The chil­dren are part of the OS­CAR Foun­da­tion, a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that sup­ports and men­tors the most vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple in slums across In­dia.

The team from Mum­bai re­ceived a warm wel­come from the OBH chil­dren, who had ea­gerly awaited their ar­rival. First on the itin­er­ary was sup­per. The con­ver­sa­tion be­tween the chil­dren filled the din­ing hall. Many ques­tions were asked about fam­i­lies and homes in Mum­bai, where they had al­ready been on the tour, and how well they had played in their foot­ball matches. By the time the chil­dren went to bed they were brim­ming with ex­cite­ment in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the foot­ball match and train­ing next day. The fol­low­ing morn­ing the teams headed to the foot­ball pitch. Alan Lee, U18 man­ager at ITFC and five of the ITFC youth team play­ers vol­un­teered their time to sup­port the event, and were ready to greet both teams and put them through their paces.

By 11.30am the teams were ready for kick off and the pitch was lined with spec­ta­tors. It was a very ex­cit­ing match. At half-time the score was 3-2 to the Os­car team. In the sec­ond half, OBH tried hard to stay in the game, but were un­able to match the pace and skill of the Os­car team. The fi­nal score was 5-2 to Os­car.

While foot­ball was the cat­a­lyst for the tour, the op­por­tu­nity to spend time with each other was in­valu­able. They joined to­gether to take part in a team chal­lenge, Dan­ish long ball, and to make cheese filled cha­p­at­tis, cooked on the open fire. A spe­cial moment oc­curred when staff and chil­dren gath­ered around the fire in the out­side class­room to drink hot cho­co­late.

The pur­pose for bring­ing an OS­CAR foot­ball team to the UK was to re­in­force the mes­sage that ed­u­ca­tion is a re­ally ef­fec­tive and pow­er­ful way of chang­ing peo­ple’s lives. The chil­dren will re­turn to their com­mu­ni­ties as role mod­els, shar­ing their knowl­edge and in­spir­ing the com­mu­nity as a whole. Ev­ery­one needs role mod­els and in keep­ing with the ethos of OS­CAR, the tour will have cre­ated 14 more.

“The team from Mum­bai re­ceived a warm wel­come from the OBH chil­dren, who had been ea­gerly await­ing their ar­rival”

Chil­dren from the Os­car Foun­da­tion at Old Buck­en­ham School

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