Bringing Kids off the Street and On the Ball

Eric Olsen
July 4, 2013

Although it is still in its 3rd year, Malaysia’s Midnight Football is a testament to the power of sports. According to the UN Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group, sport has multiple benefits for individuals and communities:

  • Individual development
  • Health promotion and disease prevention
  • Promotion of gender
  • Social integration and the development of social capital
  • Peace building and conflict prevention/resolution
  • Post-disaster/trauma relief and normalization of life
  • Economic development Communication and social mobilization

Global Peace Festival Malaysia uses sports to bring these benefits to the youth of Malaysia. On May 18th GPA just conducted its 3rd Midnight Soccer Workshop for this season. Education and training continued on June 28. Participants trekked through the jungle.

The workshops provide a safe, interfaith environment where youth can discuss the needs of their communities and what roles they can play.

As program organizer Alice Cornwall says that youth are “aware of social issues going on in their areas. They are not ignorant.”  She goes on to say, “Our part is to empower them to think that they can make a difference, and help them put their ideas into proper plans to address those [community/social] issues.”

The participants establish a sense of personal value and responsibility through group discussions, testimonies from past participants and one on one attention from the coaches.

Midnight Football is proving to be vital in bringing out the passion and the vision of the youth of today.  Empowering the next generation with the tools to be the bearers of change not only sets them up for success, but guarantees a successful future of the communities that they become involved in.

The power of change begins from the individual.  Midnight Football is changing is ensuring that the culture of the next generation emphasizes cooperation, integrity, service and responsibility, thereby ensuring the future of Malaysia and the world.

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