Meet the Coaches of Refugees United Soccer Academy – CAR!
Stan (his nickname) is 32 years old and lives in a small, one-room home made of mud and brick with his younger 20-year-old brother in refugee site Gado. He’s been in Gado since 2014. The rest of his family lives in the town of Garou-Boulai, 30 minutes away. They fled Bangui before he did. By the time he arrived, the UN Refugee Agency told him and his brother that they had to settle in Gado. Stan is a smart, hardworking man. He has completed three years of University where he was getting his license in mining, engineering, and geology. Since becoming a refugee, he has been able to pick up jobs from day to day, such as helping plan and build the latrines across the refugee site, and has also learned brick building. What worries Stan most about his refugee community is the youth, who are struggling with memories of the violence in Bangui and who don’t have much opportunity, and instead use drugs and alcohol to cope.Why did we pick Stanislas? Since the first day of training, we noticed his positive demeanor. He was attentive and focused and a good soccer player, but he was also always smiling, encouraging others, and making his peers laugh. We felt he had the maturity to lead the Soccer Academy, serve as a strong coordinator in the community, and has the ability to work with young children.
Ghislaine is 23 years old. She lives with and cares for her young daughter and her little brother in refugee site Gado. She has been living in Gado for one year and seven months. In Bangui, before the conflict, she had been starting her last year of “technical high school.” In Gado, she has worked for organizations CARE and Plan International, visiting homes to raise awareness among parents of the importance of education. What Ghislaine was most excited to tell us about was her love of sports. She was previously taking karate lessons and formed a women’s soccer team, and has organized games with girls living in the local, host community.Why did we pick Ghislaine? First, she caught our attention with her soccer skills. Next, it was her natural leadership qualities. She was very focused and learned all the skills and drills quickly, and she was also great at speaking out and mobilizing the others. She seems to be a very dynamic young woman.
Rachidatou is 22 years old and has been living in refugee site Gado for two years now. She is divorced and lives wth her two children: atwo-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl. Rachidatou is illiterate and never attended school. The training was Rachidatou’s first time playing soccer! This was surprising to hear because she definitely has natural athleticism. She wants to be a coach because she believes in working with and developing children.Why did we pick Rachidatou? She had a very positive, bubbly presence during the training. She worked really hard at learning the skills and drills, she had a natural ability for soccer, and, most importantly, she seemed to be having fun. We think Rachidatou will bring a really playful, positive attitude to the group.
Haron is 21 years old. He is not married, has no children and lives with his older sister in refugee site Gado. He has been in Gado for one year and seven months. The rest of his family are still in and around Bangui, bearing the violence. Haron not only looks like a soccer player but he was also one of the best during the training. We could tell he took the training and soccer very seriously, always giving 100% in every drill. Haron has completed three years of secondary school and his favorite thing to do is play soccer. In Gado, he has formed a team and they organize games when they can. He wanted to become a coach because, he said, “I see coaches on television and hope to become like them. And to help children. When you play with children, its good for them; they learn about other things they can do in life.”Why did we pick Haron? He caught our attention in the initial meeting before the training began. He sat in the front row and seemed very calm and understanding, even while others were getting upset and talking over each other. Then, immediately during the first morning of training we noticed his soccer skills and his work ethic. He was the first candidate I asked to lead the warm-up and he did an amazing job at guiding the group. We think his skills and passion for soccer coupled with his calm, respectful demeanor will be wonderful for the children and a great match with the other coaches.
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