A few weeks ago, one of our coaches mentioned the FC Barcelona motto “Més que un club” (“More than a club”) and how it is applicable to SJFA based on the culture and ethos evolved amongst our coaches. SJFA has brought the group together on the pitch and beyond with an extraordinary camaraderie and spirit of brotherhood.
Following a few coaches’ trip to Iraq last year, for which we had collated suitcases full of sports clothes to be distributed to orphans in Iraq, our group embarked on providing financial support to Iraqi orphans.
Currently, we are supporting two orphans at the Diwaniya school based in Diwaniya, a town approximately 40km from Najaf. It was once a thriving agricultural place but subsequently destroyed and now one of the poorest towns in Iraq.
Poverty in Diwaniya is quite rampant and an orphan school was funded by 2 Iraqi philanthropists, where one donated the land and the other cost of construction of a very modern school which boasts latest technology as teaching aids and an AstroTurf football pitch to provide the best of facilities. The school, which is owned and run by a local NGO, Anamil al Rahma (fingers of mercy) has 6 classrooms, a library, an IT room, an AstroTurf pitch and dining hall and kitchen.
The curriculum is primary education for both boys and girls and the students who attend come from very poor families. They are provided with an annual clothing allowance, 2 meals per day and transportation with quality education. The teachers speak English as there is an emphasis to teach the language.
Majority of the children have only mothers as their fathers have passed away due to illness, accident and most recently in local battles whilst volunteering to defend their families and people.
Recently the school has also started empowering mothers with skill sets such as beautician, sewing and baking classes allowing them means to become independent.
It is SJFA coaches’ ambition to arrange a joint trip to visit the school and orphans one day and we pray this opportunity arises in the near future.