In the second installment of our three-part series, About the Charities, Operation Level Playing Field will be introducing FUNDaFIELD and how its vision lines up with that of Op.LPF's. Last week, we looked at Boys and Girls Club of America (see archives for the article).
FUNDaFIELD is a nonprofit organization run by high school and university students, dedicated to enriching the lives of children living in third-world countries through the beautiful game itself, soccer. As the FUNDaFIELD motto states, "every kid deserves the chance to play."
Indeed, the nonprofit builds soccer fields and provides equipment for children living in third-world countries, such as Uganda; though the idea of enriching lives through sports may not be as apparent as, for example, education or health-related aid, nevertheless FUNDaFIELD is committed to "utilizing the therapeutic power of sports to support the rehabilitation and recovery process in post-conflict and post-trauma regions around the world." As Shep Messing says, "Soccer is the only sport internationally that transcends all differences. It's a sport that embrances instead of segregates."
This quote can be better understood through the words of Ssekamwa Isaac Mugabi, FUNDaFIELD's Uganda country directory. In the following excerpt, he shares his thoughts on what FUNDaFIELD brings to his native land, Uganda:
"As FUNDaFIELD continues with its vision and mission for Africa, it is clear why sport is such an important part of bringing communities together here in Uganda. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world with over 3.5 billion fans worldwide.
The fan frenzy is also a reflection of a second, more subtle reality: the critical role soccer plays within African society. In the United States, Europe, and other developed nations, the game exists somewhere between sport and big business. But in Africa, a continent rife with factionalism and hostility, soccer remains a potent symbol of hope and healing. The miracle of the game lies in its simplicity -- it is cheap, easy to play, and the rules are plain to follow. When a ball is kicked, ethnic differences, politics and hatred just melt away.
Soccer instils a sense of unity to the players, youths and community at large. The message is simple: If they don't play together, they won't score goals. FUNDaFIELD uses soccer to deliver a simple message to the nation of Uganda: Citizens must work together and put aside old differences so the country can progress.
The game requires teams to rise above ethnic tensions in Uganda caused by the Kony war. The FUNDaFIELD tournaments teach players soccer is a game and not a battleground. They must learn to rise above ethnic tensions and play as a team. Can they? We believe that by the time the credits roll, unity will be gripped. And, our mission will be to have this unity live on such that in the future, different tribes and religions are able and continue to meet in school, church, and mosque discussion groups tackling complex agendas, such as sexual exploitation and AIDS awareness, inspired by these FUNDaFIELD tournaments."
Clearly, such a vision lines up well with Op.LPF's own of leveling the playing field. By donating to FUNDaFIELD, Operation Level Playing Field is expanding its commitment to a levely playing field beyond national borders, and reaching towards youths in third-world countries who not unlike some of America's youths, need all the support they can get. Op.LPF looks forward to deepening our relationship with FUNDaFIELD as we continue to support its special mission of leveling the playing field around the world, quite literally, with nothing more than a playing field.