The Global Peace Association Malaysia in partnership with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and Dream Asia hosted a Global Peace Volunteer Camp in Kuala Lumpur on March 5, 2011 to support at-risk youth through a challenging program emphasizing sportsmanship and values of living for the sake of others.
The camp adopted the AFC’s innovative Midnight Football program, an approach that combines team work and community building and that seeks to take youth “off the street and on the ball.”
Started in September 2010, the eight-month long pilot project utilizes the social power of football as a platform that brings together other agents of change to support the often marginalized, unguided, and troubled young participants.
The program covers wide-ranging topics such as motivation, character empowerment, social development and healthy living. It provides a platform for participants to make new friends as well as guidance toward becoming independent, useful and contributing citizens.
“We can really see the transformation in the Midnight Football participants,” Global Peace Association Malaysia Education Director James Poon told afc.com during the Global Peace Volunteers Camp. “They are able to show their creativity through games and group discussions. We encourage their creativity. We are not focusing on talent but on character-building.”
Malaysian teens experience various activities in Midnight Football, which starts with futsal matches and culminates with more all-encompassing personal development activities with the object of educating independent, socially aware and contributing citizens.
“We want them to care about the others in this camp and I am really happy to see their improvement,” Poon said. “Our effort is to make them volunteers for a peaceful world. We would also like them to experience the joy of giving.”
Poon also credited the efforts of the Malaysian Ministry of Health, Police and other agencies for their support of the program.
This report is adapted from a story by the Asian Football Confederation.