Far away from FIFA sanctions, football is assisting children of Indonesia's tribes

While Indonesia's governing football association, PSSI, remains suspended by the world body FIFA and the regional Asian Football Confederation from their international competitions and development programs, NGOs continue to address community issues in the soccer-infatuated South East Asian nation. Harry Widjaja, CEO of Uni Papua Football Community, explains how football is assisting in social-inclusion at the grass-roots level:

UNI PAPUA FOOTBALL COMMUNITY is a football organisation based in Indonesia with 34 branches in Papua, West Papua, NTT, Bali, Sulawesi, Java and Aceh. Overseas branches in Finland and Philadelphia, USA, will be included in 2016-2017.

Uni Papua is a member of both FIFA Football For Hope a CSR program based in Zurich, Switzerland, and the Street Football World organisation.

The theme of our 2016-2017 FIFA Football For Hope program in Indonesia will be Football Among Tribes. The background of this program is knowing that many of our brothers and sisters come from different tribes and tongues and live in rural areas which still lack social interaction and development access.

The aim of this program is social inclusion through introducing football to children. We provide football training equipment and educational materials, teach them how to play football and share knowledge about health, peace and humanity. We have been helped by the One World Play Project with footballs and Coaches Across Continents with play materials.

Football Among Tribes first starts on 10-16 February 2016 with the Elseng, a small nomadic tribe in Papua province. To reach the Elseng's location, we need to take a five-hour car ride from the provincial capital to Kemtu Gresi and then continue the journey by walking for five to eight hours.

Volunteers assisting this program include Glaiton Batista, a young football coach from Brazil, Yan. F. Pepuho, program manager, Frans Praibabo, an instructor from Sorong, West Papua, Demianus Howay, a former Uni Papua player from Maybrat, West Papua, who trained with the PSSI FIFA Elite and went to coaching clinics in South Korea and Malaysia, and Uni Papua members from Yakonde village, Sentani, Papua.

For more information and updates follow us on www.unipapua.net or contact us by email: unipapua.fc@gmail.com.