We would like to thank UEFA for their generosity in providing the next big step in funding which made the construction of EFTC´s all-weather Sports Pitch possible. This Sports Pitch has been a dream of the Foundation for years and with the amazing donation of £32k from UEFA at the start of 2017 this dream was made a reality.
The build of our Sports Pitch has been a huge process, Guatemala is not always known for fast action and efficiency. If you work here you know that an end of July finish date definitely does not mean it will be finished in July.
We suffered some setbacks with three huge earthquakes hitting the region during construction however, we are happy to announce that despite the severe weather setbacks, the flooding and mud of rainy season and the predictably slow moving Guatemalan logistics we have finished our all-weather Sports Pitch. It is a dream come true, in the most literal sense of the phrase.
This is the first time our students have had a proper pitch to play on. Before the space was just dirt, too dry and dusty in the summer, and a pool of mud in the rainy season. This pitch is such a treat for them. For us as a Foundation it is so much more than even we imagined. We have never had a resource like this space. It is perfect for football but not only that, we can now facilitate workshops of a size we could not before. We have an adaptable space to run alternative after school programmes and outdoor classes in the rainy season. The rain that used to stop us leaving the classroom for months is no longer an obstacle.
This freedom to utilise time and space that we could not before is the biggest benefit of the all-weather Sports Pitch. It allows us to address something called the “dead zone”, one of the biggest threats to our children and their ongoing education, safety and wellbeing. This dead zone is a period of time where the school day has ended but their parents have not yet returned home from work. Children are often left alone and out of boredom and lack of structured activities they are at risk of becoming involved with alcohol, drugs, crime, gangs and unsafe and or underage sex.
This pitch allows us a space to structure activities which allow our children to simply “be kids”, not to be thrown out into the adult world too early but to enjoy the activities, freedom and safety that we would have taken for granted at that age.
UEFA’s support has changed directly and immediately hundreds of lives, of some of the most amazing and engaged children we have ever met. Indirectly their impact is immeasurable. A simply thank you is not enough. The smiles on our students faces as they see the pitch opened for the first time expresses the gratitude that we cannot put into words.