Discovering the FC Hope Center
Last Friday, we had the chance to visit the Hope Center in Hue, which assists people with a disability or from disadvantaged areas, by providing them with vocational training and work opportunities. We met with Minh, one of the staff member and the responsible for the football activities, who showed us the different aspects of the project. The center is involved in different activities such as sewing, working with wire products or pottery. But the Center doesn’t only give access to vocational training. It also gives its members the opportunity to practice sport, football in particular.
The collaboration with FFAV started in 2014, after the Hope Center heard about the association (while they were delivering uniforms in a school that was part of the FFAV network) and created a club. According to Minh, that permitted to make football activities more organized: they rented a pitch and defined regular schedules for the training sessions. They were also provided with various courses about coaching, fundraising and life skills.
Mrs. Anh joined the Hope Center in 2006
In addition to the improvement of health and motivation, Minh underlined the impact of football on the behaviour of the members and their families. To see pictures of the members playing and smiling on facebook made them want to get involved and support the project. Some financial support was also given by other people who noticed the positive atmosphere on the pitch. For example, one clothes shop decided to donate the football uniform for the team.
Anh, who joined the Hope Center in 2006 and participates every Friday to the weekly training session as a goalkeeper, told us that FFAV had permitted them to play more regularly and to have more chances to play with other football clubs and therefore meet new people.
“Matthieu also impressed the attendance”
After having filled our pockets with handicraft souvenirs from the Hope shop, we were accompanied by Anh to the training session. 20 players were there, as well as around 8 spectators. Each participant wore proudly his “FC Hope Center” shirt. The session included a lot of smiles and applauses, whether the action was a success or not. Although the group remains quite heterogeneous (each player having to deal with its own particularity, which can be hearing disorders or physical disability among other things) everyone seemed to adjust in their own way to their teammates and opponents to make the game accessible and fun for all. The players could join or quit the game whenever they wanted and there were regular breaks. The goal of the day was scored by Hau (pottery master) from his own half. For once, Minh, who made several impressive saves, could not do anything. Matthieu also impressed the attendance, but for other reasons: the players realised that he becomes all red when he runs!
The goal of the day was scored by Hau (pottery master) from his own half
What we could see during this afternoon was extremely positive. But Minh told us that there are also some challenges. One of them is the lack of human resources, which creates problems to organise activities. They will also have to find some new ways of financing the project as of 2018, as there will be some structural changes. Finally, as the pitch is not in the center and some participants have physical disabilities, the transport is always a challenge, as they could not yet find the budget for a taxi.
We would like to thank the Hope Center for this great opportunity and congratulate them on the amazing work they are doing. Minh summed up the aim of the project with the following words: “We want that everyone has the chance to play and to be happy”.
Matthieu and Cyndie took a photo with Hope Center club
Matthieu and Cyndie-------