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Stronger after Haiyan, a youth football tournament teaches us to do more than just remember the dis


​November 10, Saturday, 116 children and youth from all over Leyte province huddled together in Barangay 74 in Tacloban City to play football. The event was the commemorative tournament --Haiyan Cup, which this year carried the theme “Better, Stronger Children after Haiyan. “


It rained heavily that day but that did not stop the kids from playing, From 8 o’clock in the morning until pass 6 o’clock in the afternoon, three (3) teams of girls and seven (7) teams of boys below 17 years old (U17), and four (4) teams of mixed girls and boys below13 years old (U13) demonstrated why they, although young, have become “better and stronger” five (5) years after Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name) Yolanda destroyed their homes and communities. “We had teamwork and we made it work,” says the kids from the winning team for U17. “We understood each other and knew each of our own abilities, including weaknesses. We used understanding this to our advantage,” the winning kids collectively agreed during the post-tournament reflection session in the late afternoon.


The kids have been training under international organization FundLife International’s Football for Life Academy (FFLA), a youth-focused program that brings positive changes in the lives of the children and youth by helping them find their own strengths and potentials through sport, football in particular.

“Through sport, we guide the kids to find the values of sportsmanship, respect and teamwork because this makes them stronger even after disasters, and better in achieving success in their lives,” says Coach JP, also from Tacloban City, one of FundLife’s core of coaches who first started as a FFLA learner in 2015.


The FFLA is designed to help the children and youth from disadvantaged communities bounce back better after Haiyan. FundLife’s yearly Haiyan Cup is governed by fair play, team work, commitment and discipline. “Football for Life Academy is football and more,” says Kim Lopez, young operations manager at FundLife.”By joining our learning sessions and training to play, kids also gain experience on how the world works, what are the different personalities to deal with and how to overcome challenging situations,” Lopez added.



Overflowing with energy as they played football, the kids also inspired the folks who watched the games. ”It is nice to see children commemorating Haiyan in a positive way. Instead of sad faces, we see children laughing and cheering for their friends and for themselves,” one mother in the neighbourhood enthused. As the kids in Haiyan Cup demonstrated, people can do more than just remember. “FFLA teaches continuous action and discipline to hold on to positive values so kids can develop their resilience.” Marko Kasic, Fundlife founder and managing director explained. “One mark of resilience for kids is their ability to bounce back physically, emotionally and psychologically from calamity and gather that zest to pursue their dreams in making their lives and that of their families better,” Kasic concluded. Players also took part in bracelet-making and "What's your goal" activities led by Coach Rhobs and Coach JP respectively. They also learned proper waste management wherein they were tasked to keep the venue clean. It was a fun-filled and amusing event commemorating Haiyan's 5th year anniversary in a positive way. ​ ​Eventually, teams from SNHS (Sagkahan-A), SJNHS (San Jose-White) and TSCHI emerged as champions in their respective categories (U17 Boys, U17 Girls and U13 Mixed.)



TSCHI - U13 emerged as champions in their respective category.


Back-to-back as SNHS' Sagkahan A won both the Mini World Cup tournament and now, Haiyan Cup for their respective category.


SJNH' San Jose - White won as champions for the U17 girls category.


For more photos, check the Facebook album here.

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