Young people talk to us about the importance of football

Football in DRC

Boys playing football (UNICEF DRC Dubourthoumieu)

YOUNG REPORTER – Playing, relaxing and taking part in recreational activities are among the important things in the life of a child. Unfortunately, there is almost no support or guidance for these children. In this article, I am sharing with you what 3 young people from the Province of Ituri think on the importance of football for children.

Creating unity in order to better understand others

Moise, who is only 13, already lives an adult life. He is convinced that age is not a factor when choosing what to do in life.

He has been appointed as children’s representative for Ituri Province by the Provincial Ministry of Gender. He explains what he likes to do when he is not in school:

‘’I know that I have rights but also duties. My favourite pastime is football. This is why I love to train in my free time. It is maybe not a passion for me but it is good for me to play with friends. I feel very happy’’

Football en RDC

Not just a hobby (UNICEF DRC Ramazani)

He goes on to say that football is not just a hobby.

‘’Football is not an individual game, it is a team game. This makes it possible for us to create unity and to get to know one another better. This is important in life in order to get along well with others!’’

It teaches us to live as a team

From the town of Bunia, we went to Gety, a village in southern Irumu where the militiamen increasingly use children within their ranks. Junior*, who is 17, provides us with another view of this village:

‘’When people talk about southern Irumu, their first perception is the armed group which is active here. This is worrying. Many think that each child from this area is a militiaman, but that is not true! We have other talents!’’

The existence of this armed group has contributed to the violation of children’s rights in this village for more than a decade. Junior* still believes that peace will return but deplores the lack of guidance for young people:

‘’We love football, it keeps us busy and helps us to learn to live as a team. We are left to our own sad fate. I had the opportunity to study but to become a great football player is what I am hoping for. I would like to become like my idol Neymar, but unfortunately, that is likely never to happen because nobody wants to invest in football.’’

Nobody wants to invest in football

At Rwapara, a village close to the town of Bunia, I met Amoti who is 14 years old and playing football in front of his plot. Is there not football field to play with friends? That was the first question I asked.

Foortball en RDC

Invest in football in DRC (UNICEF Ramazani)

‘’There are many of us who love to play football, but unfortunately there are very few places set aside for football and even these are gradually disappearing’’.

The authorities tend to sell the areas that were previously reserved for football for young people.

All children have a right to leisure

The biggest problem remains the insufficient playgrounds, not to mention the lack of guidance. And yet leisure is recognised as a right of the child in terms of article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

As the Province’s children’s representative, Moise pleads for the government to get involved and to support young people.

Football makes us fit and it is also one of our rights. We ask the government to allocate more playground space to young people but also to support their harmonious development

More info about football in DRC

Translated from French by Elsabe Joubert

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David a rejoint le Club d'Ecoute pour Enfants en 2012. Deux ans après, il en est devenu le porte-parole puis en 2015, le coordonnateur. La même année, David est devenu Enfant Reporter. Il présente également diverses émissions sur les droits de l'Enfant. "Parler des droits de l'Enfant via les médias, c'est ma préférence". David étudie le droit à Bunia et rêve de travailler à la défense des droits des plus vulnérables.

David joined the Children's Listening Club in 2012. Two years later, David became the spokesperson and in 2015 the coordinator. That same year, David became a child reporter. Since 2014, David has hosted various programmes on child rights.  "I want to use the media to talk about child rights”. David studies law in Bunia and dreams of working to protect the rights of the most vulnerable. He says he will always work for children.

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