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How the Arsenal Football Club is Fighting Poverty

Football Club is Fighting Poverty
Arsenal Football Club is currently top of the Premier League, leading English football in points and the number of wins. Perhaps a more important way Arsenal is leading the Premier League is through its contribution to children’s livelihoods in developing nations through Arsenal Foundations’ partnership with Save the Children. Here is how the Arsenal Football Club is fighting poverty.

How The Arsenal Foundation is Fighting Poverty with Save the Children

Despite having a modest budget compared to other football clubs’ charities, Arsenal spends most of its budget working in developing nations. Specifically, the Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children, a U.K based charity, formed a global partnership in 2011 and have raised more than 3.7 million pounds for Save the Children. The Arsenal Foundation gives year-round support to Save the Children through their shared mission of fighting child poverty, keeping children safe and providing children with a future. This includes providing funding for programs that provide education, food and medicine to children.

Responding to Local and Global Needs

The Arsenal Foundation is efficient and effective at responding to global crises and supporting the global community via Save the Children’s emergency work. Examples are donating in the immediate aftermath of the Ebola Outbreak, the Philippines Typhoon, the Nepal Earthquake, the East Africa Food crisis and the Turkey-Syria Earthquake.

The Arsenal Foundation also engages its north London community, through its support of sports, social and educational programs for young people. The Foundation provides money, time and hard work from the Foundation supporting the local community every day.

Coaching for Life Program

In partnership with Save the Children, in 2018, the Foundation developed the “Coaching for Life Program” a football education program for boys and girls based in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan and poor children in Jakarta, Indonesia. The program aims to improve children’s mental well-being by teaching innovative coaching techniques to help them build courage and inner strength in some of the most difficult circumstances on the planet.

The Jakarta program has been particularly successful in addressing gender issues in Indonesia, as footballer Leah Williamson’s visit in 2022 highlighted. Poor, young women in Indonesia have to work to support families and are also at a high risk of child marriage. Too many girls in Indonesia miss out on a proper education. Girls from the wealthiest backgrounds in Indonesia are five times more likely to finish secondary school than the poorest, limiting their future potential. The Coaching for Life Program is providing the opportunity to change that outcome.

The Jordan program is particularly unique among international football coaching schemes because it is based in the Za’atari refugee camp near the northern border with Syria. Za’atari opened in 2012 shortly after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war and is the largest camp for Syrian refugees. The U.N. estimated in 2018 that there were nearly eighty thousand refugees in the camp, with nearly 20% of the population under five. The program helps refugee children by giving them a sense of purpose and belief in a community where only 20% of the adult population gains work from the Jordanian government. Prospects for these children are limited, so Coaching for Life uses football to build a sense of belonging and fun to improve their emotional, physical and mental well-being. The interviews and stories from on the ground show how the Arsenal Football Club is fighting poverty.

– John Cordner
Photo: Flickr