Peter Griffiths of PG10 Coaching has just returned from Sierra leone in Africa after coaching football and delivering educational workshops to with some of the most deprived children in the world in a unique international sports and global citizenship project which has been supported by the Craig Bellamy Foundation, Gwirvol and the Safe Foundation
The project ran for over two weeks at the beginning of December, workshops in HIV/Aids, nutrition, health and life skills were delivered by the Safe Foundation to children living in Freetown and Waterloo every week day morning and in the afternoon the power of football was used to break down cultural barriers by providing football sessions managed and lead by Peter Griffiths.
Following on from a intense and unique interview day,10 young people all aged between 16-25yrs old also landed spaces to take part in the project a life changing opportunity to help some of the most deprived young people in the world.
The project also complemented and raised awareness of the fantastic work of Liverpool FC and Wales football star “Craig Bellamy” Foundation” which is also based in Sierra Leone. The young people and staff will be also visiting the Craig Bellamy Foundation to learn observe and take tips how they engage with children and young people from Africa.
Head Coach Peter Griffiths who played football with Craig Bellamy for Wales at youth level against countries such as Portgaul and Bulgaria said "The project was one of the most humbling experiences of my life, the Sierra Leone people are so happy despite living in severe poverty. The experience will remain with me for the rest of my life and l personally learnt so much from Africa and their culture. We have now laid strong links in Sierra Leone and plan more trips to Africa in 2012 to ensure our work is sustainable and continues to be beneficial. The work the Craig Bellamy Foundation is doing is fantastic and honourable and is helping so many children. My special thanks to the Craig Bellamy Foundation for their support and the encouraging words of support from Wales First Minster Carwyn Jones and from Craig Bellamy"
Aberystwyth born football coach Peter Griffiths is about to encounter on the biggest challenge of his coaching career when he and a team of professionals take part in a unique international football and global citizenship project in Sierra Leone Africa which has been supported by Gwirvol.
The project will also raise awareness and complement the fantastic work of Liverpool FC and Wales football star “Craig Bellamy Foundation.
Peter who also played football for Wales with Craig Bellamy in a number of internationals at U16 level including European U16 qualifiers in Portugal is managing the football aspect of the project which is also being run by the SAFE Foundation and Communities First in Cardiff. The project is offering 10 young people aged between 16-24yrs old an opportunity to increase their understanding of global citizenship whilst helping some of the most deprived young people in the world. The project will give volunteering opportunities to young people who would not normally have the chance to travel and also benefit marginalised children in Sierra Leone with a programme of workshops designed to educate young people in the areas of sexual health, nutrition and skill training. The project in Sierra Leone will run for two weeks at the beginning of December and the young people will be leading the workshops (with staff supervision) to children living in Freetown the capital of Sierra Leone, every week day morning and in the afternoon they will use the power of football to break down cultural barriers by providing football sessions to the Sierra Leone children and young people who suffer from severe poverty which is lead and coordinated by Griffiths
Peter Griffiths who has experience at working at a number of Premier League and Football league football academies such as Liverpool and Aston Villa said “This is a wonderful opportunity for Cardiff young people who are looking to change and enhance their life skills and self esteem. By using the power of football we aim to increase understanding and global citizenship and help make a difference to some of the most deprived children and young people in the world"
Before departing to Sierra Leone, The NEET young people will take part in six intensive workshops to coach them in all the skills and knowledge they will need to be able to deliver workshops in Africa. It is imperative that all training workshops are attended in order to qualify for the project.
The SAFE Foundation, who are leading the project in Sierra Leone are a registered international development NGO, based in Cardiff but working across the world are working with a network of people including Mo Janneh of charity ‘Forging Links’ and teachers in Sierra Leone to co-ordinate the international elements of the project.
Peter added " I must admit l am nervous but excited about the projects in front of me, after playing football in countries such as USA, Portugal, Holland and many more as a young player l realise what positive affect this can have on young peoples life skills and personal development, l look forward to being part of a real team effort in ensuring making a huge difference to children and young people of both Wales and Sierra Leone"
Craig bellamy of Wales and Liverpool FC said
"I was on the bench for the champions league final for Liverpool in 2007. I didn't get to appear. I was disappointed not to appear. I was at my wit's end. I had a mate working in Sierra Leone. and he said why don't you come out and see me. I fell in love with the place. It really scared me but I felt I had to do something. If I didn't I'd regret it for the rest of my life.”
"To play in the league they must go to school, it's not about football it's about education.. it's been a massive success, truancy rates have gone down, UNICEF say it's one of the best things that has happened to Sierra Leone"
"Everyone here has a story about the war, with a war that's only 10 years old you are bound to have people who are affected by it. . But what I love about the people of Sierra Leone is that they see a future for themselves l fully support projects in Sierra Leone and wish Peter his colleagues and the young people from Cardiff every success with their project in which l'm sure will make a huge difference to children in the country”
Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones said
"There are a huge number of links between the people of Wales and Africa and we can be very proud of this work. I am particularly pleased to see disadvantaged young people from Wales being given the chance to gain skills and experience in Sierra Leone through this project. This could be a life changing experience for those that take part. I wish them well and look forward to hearing about how they have got on."