Tuesday, June 25, 2013
We did it!!!
One June 22 our Sierra Leone appeal hit our £1000 target, two days ahead of the closing date for donations. This means that we are delighted to say we will be able to send the 40 boys from Sektars Football Club, based in Makeni, to school for one year and also provide them with football coaching and matches for the same period.
Our More Than a Game Sierra Leone appeal was started after volunteering and working together with the Craig Bellamy Foundation and the Collective Sierra Leone in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone. We felt that we needed to do more to help the people of Sierra Leone and, after volunteering in west Africa for two months, decided this appeal was the answer. We want to thank everybody who donated their hard-earned cash to this appeal:
And so, a million thank yous go out to:
Paul Featherstone, Laurent Dathie, Footbaltic, Graham Williams, Kelvin Hooke, Josu Samaniego del Campo, Alexandra Flemming, Gordon Hamilton, Jaime Morris, Ed Russel, Jane Pannell, Atheen Spencer, Shaun Gisbourne, Erika Medene, Rupert Williams, Maureen Robinson, Bernadette Samuels, Neil Mathieson, Alan Davies, John Mottram, Graham Foster, Lindsey Langford, and Michael Finch.
Without all of you, we could not have achieved this. Your efforts will improve the quality of life of a lot of little boys in west Africa.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
After a quiet couple of weeks for the More Than a Game Sierra Leone Appeal, we received our latest donation a couple of days ago from Josu Samaniego del Campo (pictured above). The Spaniard, who lives in Riga and plays football for Riga United Football Club, donated his hard-earned cash to the boys of Sektars FC, playing in the Craig Bellamy Foundation League,who we are sponsoring and sending to school for the next 12 months, with the inspiring words:
"I am donating to this fund because football needs Africa and Africa needs football".
Josu plays centre-forward for Riga United FC and is also studying for his UEFA C coaching badge at the moment. His side play their first match in the Latvian Second Division, when they take on Adazi at 16:15 in Riga on May 11.
The amount so far raised for our Sierra Leone Appeal now stands at £725. The target is £1000.
Monday, April 1, 2013
More Than a Game will sponsor Sektars FC for the next 12 months. Agreement has been reached with the Craig Bellamy Foundation to sponsor the Sektars FC under-12s and under-14s. Sektars FC play in the Makeni league in Sierra Leone.
Here is a description of the club as featured on the Craig Bellamy Foundation website:
Sektars FC are a product of two young men from two rival communities, whose friendship surpassed the differences between the two areas. Their dream was always to set up a football club that would unite the two communities and help people move past their differences. Sadly one of the young men would lose his life in the civil war but in tribute his friend became ever more determined to fulfill their shared dream. In 2005, this was achieved with the formation of Sektars FC.
To date we have collected £655. We need to reach a target of £1000. This will send the 40 boys playing for Sektars FC under-12s and under-14s to school for one year and will also pay for their participation in the league, regular coaching, equipment, water etc.
If you would like to help the boys of Sektars FC, then please follow the link below:
Support Sektars FC in 2013.
Monday, March 25, 2013
More Than a Game would like to extend our thanks to Gordon Hamilton for his kind donation to our Sierra Leone appeal. We met Gordon on the boat to Freetown airport as we departed Salone. Gordon has been committed to taking Sierra Leone forward for many years. You can read about his good work with the Sierra Leone Mission by clicking on this link.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
More Than a Game would like to extend our thanks to Ed Russel, Paul Featherstone, Jane Pannell and Jaime Morris, who are the latest friends to kindly donate their hard-earned cash to our Sierra Leone appeal in support of 40 children going to school and playing football in the Craig Bellamy Foundation league.
Their donations have taken the running total well past the half way mark of £500, with the total so far raised now £635 - approximately $1000.
If you are planning to visit Sierra Leone then you can expect to hear this extremely popular Nigerian pop hit by P Square at least half a dozen times per day during your stay.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Many thanks to Shaun Gisbourne, Atheen Spencer, Rupert Williams and Erika Medene, who are the latest people to kindly donate to More Than a Game's Sierra Leone Appeal. We want to raise £1000 so that we can send 40 Sierra Leonean children to school for a year. They will also get the opportunity to play football for one year in the excellent Craig Bellamy Foundation League.
The running total is now £420. Click here to read more about the appeal and/or to donate.
Saturday, February 23, 2013 (Day 45)
Sierra Leone - England - Albania
Like I said, I feel so spaced out by the time our flight leaves Freetown that I have no sense of leaving Africa. But, something changes over the course of the next couple of hours...
... Blurry eyed, I stare ahead of me at the computer-animated flight route map. Within minutes of our departure we have long since left Sierra Leonean airspace and have already crossed much of neighbouring Guinea. As we begin to overfly Senegal I grab my pen and write down the first individual words that come into my tired head:
Humbling; uplifting; inspiring; upsetting; frustrating; rewarding; enlightening; infuriating;
These are some of the words; a few of the emotions that I felt during my seven weeks in Sierra Leone volunteering with the Collective and the Craig Bellamy Foundation.
Suddenly, I feel like crying when I remember much of the poverty, and the amputees, and some of those little boys working in the streets. I can say I feel proud of myself for having done this. I am definitely ready to go home but I did 'enjoy' my Salone experience, if 'enjoy' is the correct word to use.
We begin to overfly Mauritania. Gambia Bird is a joke. They are offering me a single bread roll for dinner because, despite assurances from my travel agent and at check in, they don't have any vegetarian meals. The seats don't recline and there is also practically no legroom at all making it very difficult to sleep even if you feel exhausted. Yes, I know my moaning sounds a little out of context after the previous paragraph talked of poverty and despair. But I have written this blog to record my thoughts and emotions; my highs and lows. I hope by telling things the way they really were it has given those who are interested a better sense of what it might be like to volunteer in Africa. I hope also that I have provided a balanced picture of life in Sierra Leone: yes, the country is currently one of the least developed countries in the world but it also has a hell of a lot going for it and, at times, you might end up feeling happier when you are living there, in West Africa, than when you are cocooned in your comfortable life back home in Europe or North America.
We are greeted by the sight of a spectacularly bright red sun as we begin our descent to Gatwick Airport. I think I might have managed to get one hour's sleep.
In London it is flaking with snow and so cold after Africa that I wonder what the shock must be like for an African stepping foot on this continent for the first time. It is only minus three but after seven weeks of sweating all day and all night, England has never ever felt so cold when stepping off a plane.
I cannot remember if I mentioned it before but I am straight off on holiday today. Having arrived at 7am, I check in with British Airways an hour later, a full six hours ahead of my flight to Albania, where I will meet my girlfriend this evening. It means that my journey from Charlie's house in Freetown to the Hotel Nobel in Tirana will have lasted approximately 30 hours.
A holiday in Albania? Well, after living in Sierra Leone for the best part of two months I am not quite ready for the glitz and consumerism of Western Europe. In some senses, Albania is Europe's Sierra leone: underdeveloped and largely unloved by the outside world...but full of beauty and potential.
One picture postcard from Albania perhaps....
More Than a Game joined The Collective and the Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone for a seven-week voluntary placement in January 2013.