EYC’s Sports Coordinator, Nara, was recently featured in the Phnom Penh Post article, “The young Cambodia escaping poverty using the beautiful game.”
Nara’s love of football and the positive impact the sport has had on his life led him to start “Play To Progress,” an organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for kids from impoverished communities to experience the transformative power of sports.
An excerpt from the article follows:
“Since childhood, I’ve loved football. My parents got divorced when I was 11-years-old; my mother was a tailor and my father was a policeman. They did not allow me to play sport because they said it was a waste of time and demanded that I instead work for money by collecting plastic,” he says.
Struggling to cope with a turbulent home life and disinterested in school, Sovannara says that it was EYC and football that turned his life around.
“I didn’t want to study and I almost dropped out of school in grade five. But then I encountered EYC and I played football through them. But their one condition was that I had to continue studying if I wanted to play football, so I decided to go back to school,” he says.”
Nara’s experience is a reminder of why sports is a critical element of EYC’s holistic programming. Through the sports program, our students learn not only the mechanics of a particular sport, but also valuable life skills including teamwork, problem-solving, self-esteem, and confidence.