We were invited to a training clinic by Molten a while back and this morning the day arrived. 25 kids were invited, selected, and
organized. Arriving perfectly on time they were treated to sushi, pancit, and kebab steak from Red Kimono – probably the most expensive meal they’ve ever had.
Then they were brought to the artificial turf rolled out in the Music Hall Area of MOA, and the clinic started. It turned out some of the Azkals were the coaches for the training, they took turns rotating the kids through stations and of course everyone really enjoyed that. The event was organized by Molten to advertise their new Molten-Azkals footballs, and it was through Mr. Anil Buxani (the Managing Director) and Ms. Luz Ricardo (Sales and Marketing Manager) that the donations were made and we have a bunch of quality Molten footballs for our training. Mimi Salita was our contact from Molten and she was so kind in dealing with us, making sure the kids were fed and enjoying the training. Also, she was so understanding of the kids were still playing on the turf once everyone else had left :p A huge thanks to everyone involved!
So all in all, just before the training, during the training, after the announcements and also during the announcements, they were running round for about four hours. And the familiar scene of watching a kid dribble with the ball, get tackled to the floor or fall over by themselves, look at their knee and frown, and then jump moments later with a big grin, laughing, and chasing the ball, was repeated over and over again.
A few pics at a photobooth and the event was completed with a donation of footballs for the team, real quality footballs from Molten 🙂
So with the sun about to set and Manila Bay across the road we headed across with the kids, gave out the dinner, and sat down to eat as the sunset came down. For most of them, it turned out that it was their first time to ever see the sea. Another day of firsts, great opportunities, and reasons to be thankful.
Thanks again to those involved with organizing that, Mr. Buxani, Ms. Ricardo, and Ms. Salita from Molten, Red Kimono, Ebong Joson who hosted, and the Azkals for training the kids.
It was a great day at MOA, though one thing did get to me on the way back. Johndale is one of the kids we work with a bit, though not so often. Recently he’s been joining the football, especially as his younger brothers, Wendell and Jakho, have been playing for some time now. The three of them, 10, 9, and 7 years old, are all jumper boys – so when it comes to 2am they don a hoody and a helmet with a light on the front (like caving) and scavenge through the dump trucks that stop by on the way to the dumpsite. They work til late morning, and get between P60-90 each day for it.
Both their parents died some time ago and they live with their Grandparents. I can’t remember which one of them is enrolled in school, but he rarely goes, if ever. This June we’re looking to sponsor their education and get them back into school, cover those costs of working, and help them be children again. Johndale is the oldest, at 10 years old, and always looks after his youngest brothers, throwing them t-shirts as pillows as they sleep on the way back, making sure they share whatever food they have, and generally looking out for them. With his work, too, he rarely gets time to be himself, to be a child. He’s 10.
So I was glad when he started coming to training regularly, I could get to know him better, see what the situation was with his family, and work out the best, most sustainable solution.
On the way back in the jeepney I asked if they would be working later tonight. “Oo” daw. No hesitation, no realisation how different that was, it was just another normal evening. Or morning rather. So I’m writing this at 10pm, and after a really long day of playing, leaving Payatas for the 2nd time in his life, nice food from a quality Japanese restaurant, and seeing the sea for the first time, in four hours he’ll be awake and dressed to scavenge through the garbage on the back of a dump truck.
From next month we’re looking to sponsor him as part of the education sponsorship program. He can prepare for school, hopefully will work hard, and dream of a future where he can choose what to do and where to work. The jumpers and other workers in the garbage industry are very creative and hard-working, even those who are 10 years old and younger.
But there are some opportunities kids need, kids deserve. Sometimes it’s difficult to wait til next month.
If you’re interested in sponsoring a child’s education it costs P1,000 per month, to help them stop working and start schooling, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.