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
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