The 2017 Zimbabwe Homeless World Cup preparation have roared into life. Young Achievement Sports for Development (YASD) the national partner to the Homeless World Cup has announced. The team selection will run under the theme “Its Game On” and will give an opportunity to young people from grassroots soccer teams through a capacity development forum for socially ostracized and disadvantaged youths who lack access to basic social services for normal community and human development.
Though YASD is based in Hatcliffe Extension, a peri-urban settlement 25km from Harare. The community lacks basic social services like education, water, health and recreational facilities which have left the youths vulnerable and short of equal opportunities to transform their lives. Speaking to Petros Chatiza , the Coordinator of the organisation he highlighted that beginning last year in 2016 the organisation has been expanding into other areas where youths have dropped out of school due to lack of availability of a formal school in the community, others due to lack a stable source of income or livelihood. The message has been to promote HIV behavior change through soccer trainings for those that are sexually active as well as providing education to the developing children.
Chatiza said “YASD uses the power of football to energize homeless and socially excluded people so that they can change their own lives. With the support of grassroots programs and social enterprises, YASD celebrates its work by participating in a global annual football tournament that unites teams of homeless and socially excluded people from various countries all around the globe”.
The 2017 selection process will see YASD working with over 20 grassroots teams with the hope of demonstrating how football has the power to change people’s lives. The teams will take part in a national selection tournament from which the final team will be drawn. The national selection tournament is focused on lighting up the hearts and minds of everyone it touches and changes people’s attitudes to less privileged-in all the cities where the tournament is held, people who are homeless and excluded report improved relations with the public.
Over the past decade participants in previous Homeless World Cup have managed to transform their lives with some managing to go back to school, others initiating self-sustaining projects and others joining professional football teams.