By Rose Walker
The Tom Maccabee Memorial Fund is partnering with Hope for Children, fundraising to help change the lives of girls living in extreme poverty in Uganda through football and a new project called Girls United Kampala.
Girls United will work with girls from Namuwongo, a sprawling slum community just outside Kampala where children live with their families in inadequate makeshift shelters and whose lives are limited by poor health, lack of access to education and opportunity. In Namuwongo it is girls that are most vulnerable, exposed to exploitation and abuse, teenage pregnancy and HIV infection.
Football really can be transformational in this context. The project will provide 40 girls aged 11-17 years the chance to have fun and play football while at the same time access vital support to protect their health, wellbeing and future opportunities through counselling, life-skills training and support to help them go to and stay in school.
The Tom Maccabee Memorial fund has been established in conjunction with West Bridgford Colts, the club Tom played at through his teenage years between 2002 and 2011.
Funds raised for Girls United will provide football equipment, kit, pitch hire and a trained football coach for weekly training sessions and competitive matches, as well as social workers and counsellors to provide the girls with weekly support and to deliver a monthly life skills programme.
"Looking for a charity and worthy cause to support in memory of a loved son, brother and friend of so many is not easy. Tom loved football and the power it had to bring people together. He also had a real drive to help people less fortunate than himself. Finding a project together with Hope for Children to establish a girls football club in a slum district in Uganda fits his legacy perfectly. Tom would be proud - and we are on his behalf" - Tim Maccabee, father of Tom.
“It’s amazing to have the support of the Tom Maccabee Memorial Fund and link up with West Bridgford Colts FC in the UK to get Girls United off the ground. The project will make a huge difference to the lives of many girls living in really difficult situations in Namuwongo. The girls are so excited about playing football, and as well as having fun the project will help boost their confidence and self-esteem.” - Immaculate Kiiza, Hope for Children Uganda Country Director
Making double the difference
All funds raised by 23rd December 2017 towards Girls United will be doubled by the UK Government through its Aid Match programme as part of Hope for Children’s Head Held High Appeal. That means as well as funding Girls United, donations will have double the impact and matched funds will be used to improve the lives of many more children in Africa by improving their access to quality education.
Government match funding will be used to provide a range of activities in northern Ghana including providing school books and uniforms, as well as running teacher training programmes to improve the quality of education available.