Football kit brings smiles in Uganda

One of the teams in the programme wearing Bucklands Beach Association Football Club training kit and boots donated by BBAFC club members. Photo supplied.

There’s a very proud bunch of kids in a Ugandan village sporting some very smart football kit thanks to a Botany family and Bucklands Beach Association Football Club (BBAFC).

BBAFC was approached by Northpark’s Tina Bargh whose family was to embark on their first visit to Uganda with a mission to meet up with the aid organisation.

Andy Pullar, BBAFC’s president, said: “Tina was inquiring with BBAFC as to if we could help with some playing kit and equipment for the kids.

“We reached out to our club members for donations of football boots.  There was maybe enough to kit out three or four teams.”

The club had a large number of playing shirts it no longer required.

“These typically were ones that were either an old brand or style or no longer required.  The blue ones in the photo were our old training and away kit that we no longer used,” said Pullar.

“The gear was all in excellent condition.  One criteria from Tina was that they could only take playing kit if there was enough to outfit a whole team.  We managed to supply enough to outfit probably three or four teams – shirts, shorts, and socks.”

The club is delighted it has been able to help.

“It’s really cool for our club to be able to help out these kids.  We all share a love of football and to see these kids kicking a football around the pitch is fantastic.”

“A special thanks to our members who donated all the football boots for the kids to wear on the pitch.”

The aid organisation heading the programme is called Rising Star Ministries, a sports and education ministry that aims to end poverty in Uganda by helping students grow spiritually, academically and physically, giving them hope for the future and a chance to help build thriving communities

When the kids are on breaks from school, Rising Star runs soccer programmes three days a week. The programme uses soccer as an incentive for kids to work hard. Before coming to the soccer field, kids first spend the morning hours in the reading centre where they are taught how to read and write.

Bargh said there was a group who went and funded the trip themselves.

“We went as we are friends with a couple from our church, (New Hope Community Church) who are New Zealanders living and working there with aid organisations which provides trauma relief to refugees,” she said.

‘When we decided to go to Uganda we found out that one of the needs we may be able to help with was supplying gear to the Rising Star organisation.  We asked a few football clubs if they had gear to donate via facebook and Bucklands Beach replied very generously.”

While they were there they also visited a Compassion project in Nsyambya and saw first-hand “the incredible and lasting benefits” of child sponsorship.

“We visited a maternity clinic run by one ex-pat midwife on the edge of a slum as well as visiting a refugee camp in Adjumani.  One of the outcomes of our trip has been that we are now considering ways to raise funds to pay a monthly salary of $200 so that the midwife we met can employ another well-trained midwife and possibly a social worker as well.

“We are also hoping to be able to send funds to the Tutapona Adjumani field office to enable them to buy a computer.”