Former Arsenal footballer Ray Parlour meets the children benefitting from the Save the Children programme in Indonesia
The former London club midfielder officially opened one of three new football pitches in one of North Jakarta’s most disadvantaged slum communities last week, to launch one of Save the Children and The Arsenal Foundation‘s football programmes.
The programme, which gives vulnerable children a safe space to play and enjoy football, aims to rebuild their confidence and encourage teamwork in the community. The children living in the urban slums of Jakarta face the daily struggle of extreme poverty, exploitation and neglect, but football is helping to give them back their childhood, as well as educating them on quality and giving them hope for a better future.
As part of his visit, Ray played football with the kids and joined in training sessions run by Arsenal Soccer School coach, Drew Tyler.
“Seeing football used like this, to make a difference to children’s lives, is amazing,” said Ray.
“I met a young boy called Dhani who lives on the bench at the end of a rubbish dump. He had to drop out of school to work and support his family because his dad is blind. Seeing how he lives and hearing his story has been tough. Football is giving him back a bit of his childhood and putting a smile on his face. I’m proud The Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children are getting involved here – it’s brilliant.”
North Jakarta is home to more than 1.6 million people and has a high concentration of urban slums. Thanks to the funds raised from the Arsenal Legends game back in 2016, which Ray took part in, The Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children have also used the power of football to build pitches and run similar programmes in Somalia and Jordan.
Incredible work. Find out more about the project, or make a donation, here.