social

Football helps with inclusion

Sports

THERE are various sporting programmes that promote social inclusion and one example is the Just Play initiative of the PNG Football Association.
The programme is significant as it provides people living with disabilities opportunities to participate in activities giving them hope by breaking down barriers.
This year the programme has identified two persons with disability taking part as volunteers.
Jason Kore, 21, from Gulf and Steven Allen, 18, from Milne Bay both reside in Vabukori Village, in Moresby South and are examples of people with disability participating in the programme.
Allen had been playing soccer before an unfortunate accident in 2014 when he lost his left arm to an outboard motor after falling off a boat.
Despite the tragedy he remained positive and is now involved with in the community level and shaping up to be an active Just Play volunteer.
“I survived the accident through the grace of God and now I am here. Deep inside me I want to keep on playing football.
“I used to play soccer when I had both my hands but when this accident happened I stayed at home for a year.
“I told my parents that I still want to play football but doctors told me that I had a crack on my knee from the accident and told me not to run. But after some training I can now run and kick.
“Now I know about Just Play and I feel that I belong here. I want to be involved with Just Play and show others that anything is possible,” Allen said. Kore, the Grade 10 school leaver was born with a disability but managed to fight all odds with an aim to become a responsible member of his community.  Kore says he is a football fanatic who loves watching the game and having to be trained as a Just Play volunteer has instilled confidence in his personal development.
When Kore heard about Just Play he wanted to learn so he tagged along with his friends. After attending sessions with senior volunteers Kore has learnt the essentials of the game and the issues promoted by the game.
“I came here to learn because every time when boys and girls play football in the village I always go out and support. “One important thing I have picked up from this programme is respect one and other and helping young people to stay away from alcohol and drugs.
“In our community a lot of young people are facing problems with alcohol and drugs and some of them don’t go to school because parents are sometimes not responsible too. “Now that I am involved here I will get more understanding and knowledge to help out”, Kore said.

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