Kids to play football as therapy–and for Pope
MANILA, Philippines—To help the children overcome the trauma wrought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan)—and perhaps attract the attention of Pope Francis, a known big football fan—Mission Tacloban, Team Socceroo Football Club and Henry V. Moran Foundation are holding the Santo Papa Futbol Cup, a three-day football festival in Tacloban City from Jan. 15 to 17, culminating on the day the Pontiff visits the city.
Mission Tacloban was created by the Doña Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Medical Foundation (RTR).
The Santo Papa Futbol Cup will pit six teams whose members are typhoon victims aged 13 and under in games at Eastern Visayas State University. One team is from Ormoc and is supported by the Energy Development Corp.
The ICTSI Foundation will award the champion team a trip to Manila to participate in a grassroots event of the Philippine Football Federation in March.
More than a year after Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas, the stress and trauma linger among many of the children who survived the horrors of the strongest storm ever to hit land.
One of the footballers, 9-year-old Ian from Tacloban, described what happened that day.
“This house, this post was shaking violently from the wind. Then, little by little, our roof started to come off, and my cousin was swept away by the rushing water.”
Ian recalled: “My little brother Leo was shouting ‘Lord, please make it stop, I cannot stand the cold any longer.’”
Helping the children who survived, like Leo and Ian, deal with the psychological stress and trauma months later is one of the aims of the foundations.
Other event partners are PASAR Foundation Inc., Olympic Village, Leyte Football Association, SR Metals Inc. and Rayomar Outreach Foundation.
“The Santo Papa Futbol Cup is part of RTR Foundation Mission Tacloban’s commitment to fully support the recovery and rebuilding of lives and communities in Leyte, specifically among the youth who are still severely traumatized by Supertyphoon Yolanda,” said Ginggay Hontiveros, mission director of RTR Foundation Mission Tacloban.
Team Socceroo Football Club, a professional club based in Metro Manila, will provide the coaches and technical and organizational input.
“Santo Papa Futbol Cup is a celebration of the papal visit, but more importantly it is for the Typhoon Haiyan victims, where the focus is to uplift spirits and provide a message of hope through football. This initiative for us is ‘Plenus Pectus’ or ‘Full Heart,’ our club’s motto,” said Nicholas Reyes, TSFC manager.
The Pope, who is from Argentina, is a passionate football fan who supports San Lorenzo FC, a professional Argentinean club founded by a Catholic priest who offered the front yard of his church as a pitch to children playing football in the streets.
Danny Moran of the Henry V. Moran Foundation said, “We recognize the power of football to not only change lives, but more importantly, its ability to bring love and compassion to those who may have lost hope.”
To help or learn more about this initiative, contact Cris Tacuboy of RTR Foundation at [email protected]
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