International NGO SOS Children’s Village celebrates 10 years of teaching life skills through football in Toamasina
The Japanese football players from Peace Boat were in a boisterous mood as their minibus convoy rolled through streets of Toamasina on Sunday. Chants echoed off the Mercedes’ aluminum roof, camera shutters clicked, and shirtsleeves flapped at open windows.
With Peace Boat docked in Madagascar’s second city, participants in the ship’s Peace Ball programme visited SOS Children’s Village’s Football Center to play a series of friendly matches there, and learn about how the international NGO supports vulnerable children in the country.
“Wherever you go in the world, even if you just have a ball made out of duct tape, you can connect with people through soccer,” said Kurita Arata, a member of the Peace Ball team. Outside, pus pus drivers thickened the morning traffic on National Road #2, and canted shacks sold meat, batteries and scrap metal.
The football center, situated on the grounds of the NGO’s 12-hectare Toamasina complex, aims to teach life skills and build self-esteem, and facilitates scholarship through sport. This year it is celebrating its tenth anniversary.