Hai Dang Social Center

During our last weekend in Hue, we had the opportunity to visit the Hai Dang Social Center, an inspiring project close to the FFAV office.

Mr Binh, one of the physical teachers, explained us that the members of the center are between 6 and 22 years old. They eat and sleep in the center, while they attend the local school classes. All the members are orphans or come from disadvantaged areas. In addition to football sessions, there are also regular English classes, music lessons and life skills education sessions. Furthermore, they even have their own vegetables garden and raise chickens.

The decision to focus on football came naturally. The kids were playing anyway, without goals or even a pitch. The benefits that football brings to the kids were quickly identified. Playing improves the children’s health and contributes to develop solidarity among the members. Football also provides a good alternative to activities such as gambling or video games, according to Mr Binh.

Therefore, the football offer got bigger and bigger. In 2012, goals were donated by volunteers teaching English at the center, as they reached the same conclusions when it comes to the positive impact of football. After this, the center got inspired by the Hope Center’s story. They heard about its successful cooperation with FFAV and wanted to start their own partnership, which officially began in 2015. The material provided by the organization contributed to further expand the football activities. Currently, the children in the center play almost every day, and from what we could see on the pitch, they love it!

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Du in action

Following FFAV’s philosophy, we also wanted to give the word to the main stakeholders, the players. We had the chance to talk with Du (16 years old), who joined the club with his little brother Danh seven years ago. By the way, Ms Hue, our translator, explained us that Danh and Du put together means dignity in Vietnamese. They could both start school thanks to joining the center. Football makes Du happy and gives him the opportunity to learn the importance of teamwork. He is also very good at it, which gave him the opportunity to be selected in the city youth team. He also likes to watch football, especially when Barcelona and Messi are playing.

He told us also that he was playing almost every day, that the rough ground did not hurt his feet as he is used to it (Matthieu could not say the same) and introduced us to another popular sport at the end of the session: đá cầu (also called Jianzy or featherball).

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Session of đá cầu

The main challenge that the club faces is linked to the popularity of football. After having done their homework, the members of the center cannot play as long as they would like to, given that it is getting dark and there is no light. So Mr Binh told us that one of their objective is to set up a light system. Other challenges relate to the rough surface of the pitch (which can be dangerous), and the lack of balls for individual skills’ sessions.

The visit to this club showed us one additional context where football plays a significant role in the personal development of the children. We feel fortunate to have attended such a dynamic session!

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Matthieu and Cyndie

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