Football projects for young people including street and orphan children

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Football projects for young people including street and orphan children

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Karmic Angels provides aid, relief and development for a number of projects throughout the Gambia. Our aim is to facilitate health and self-determination for the communities we work with. The project we are applying for involves supporting the football teams for young people we work with, embracing street children, orphans and girls. Our aim is to create a regional football league and cup competitions, plus extend our teams' experience to areas in the Gambia further afield (pardon the pun!).

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Funding; resources/equipment; transport; global ignorance and apathy! FUNDING: As a relatively new charity, we are in a constant state of 'catch up' when it comes to funding projects and realising our aims. All of us involved, from our core team to board members and trustees, both here and in the Gambia, rely on independent incomes/ full time jobs separate from our charity. All Karmic Angels funds go directly to projects. Our Gambian members are all in existing health, education and community work jobs and in both countries we rely strongly on our volunteers. RESOURCES/EQUIPMENT: We need to create secure storage for our team strips, balls, boots and more. This can only be done by adapting space in existing school buildings or building a separate facility. TRANSPORT: A huge problem. To have our own transport, in the form of a mini-bus, would enable our teams to travel and meet other teams usually out of reach. It would also allow us to reach training grounds that didn't comprise of sand or dusty, sun baked earth. The benefit to reaching other communities includes and goes beyond the football. The potential is clear. GLOBAL IGNORANCE AND APATHY: Speaks for itself!

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Karmic Angels is at a bit of a cusp right now. We only gained charitable status in 2008 and it really is through the selfless efforts of our small team plus volunteers (as and when needed), that we are poised to make serious inroads for our aims and objectives. In the last year, over and above our core work of helping create basic facilities and resources to some of the poorest villages in the Gambia, we have provided the following (and more): • A Carl Zeiss clinical microscope given to us by the Fazakerley Hospital in Liverpool, worth over £10,000, that we’ve taken over to The Royal Victoria Training Hospital in the Gambia - an essential tool for combating malaria, HIV/AIDS etc and saving lives • Scores of mosquito nets • A successful twinning between a Bath, Somerset primary school and one of our Gambian schools projects, plus a potential youth music project twinning (when we have established that particular project sufficiently over there), with CYMAZ, a youth music project in Truro, Cornwall for 13-25 year olds (my ex-wife, Jane, is the director) • Hands on support and work with our Gambian teams and volunteers on buildings, water supplies, irrigation, health, livestock & agriculture, education etc during our quarterly visits • Facilitating and supporting 4 football teams of different age groups, with a focus on involving girls, street children and orphans, integrating them with the other young people involved as well as with the respective communities as a whole. With our football teams initiative, we hope for the first time to bring groups of young people together from all over the region outlying our current projects. With the participation of a selection of youngsters voted in by their peers, it is hoped a regional league can be created for each participating age group. We'd also like to see cup competitions. The enthusiasm and talent is already there, it just needs support and financial backing to make this happen.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our primary work provides aid, relief and development. This includes new builds for schools; holistic health centre; multi-skills centre, as well as renovating existing buildings; providing school materials; creating water supplies/irrigation and more. Our work with football teams initiatives has attracted support in England from Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton FC's, with 16 kits donated to our 18-23, 3rd division team Suma Kunda and 21 shirts for our younger teams. We expect another kit for the Suma Kunda girl's team in the near future and 6 further team kits expected. English premier division players Pepe Reina and Nimanja Vidic have provided a signed shirt & photo, along with a signed shirt donated to us by iconic France international Zinedine Zedane. Such signed, donated items help generate funds for the teams, as do donated tickets from Liverpool and Everton FC's for guided tours of their grounds. We've been able to use the funds for part time help from a trainer and arrange hired transport for the teams to play away when possible. The growing confidence of team members, not just as footballers but as individuals, has been clear, as has been the benefit to social cohesion in the respective bush villages where we are involved. One of our aims has been to involve street and orphan children and now 50% of the Brikama team are from these groups, with a few also in the Busumbala team. Numbers are expected to continue growing. It's meant not only bringing young people together for football, it provides the opportunity to get those not in school keen to participate there too. As a result of our work we now have interest from 11 more teams in the wider region and it's our hope to eventually extend our support to them too. Our work has become known now to the extent that we have been acknowledged, thanked by and met ministers from the Gambian government and recently had a documentary done on us by Gambian TV. Liverpool FC have posted info on their website.
About You
Karmic Angels
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



Karmic Angels



Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Karmic Angels

Organization Phone

0151 548 7797 mob. 07932 665192

Organization Address

24 Grayling Drive, Croxteth Country Park, Liverpool, UK, L12 0AT

Organization Country

, XX

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, XX

Do you have a patent for this idea?


As well as constant communication with our Gambian members, we ensure that we have quarterly visits from the UK, each time for 3/4 weeks. These visits involve those who can spare their time and money. Usually, this means our core members, but it also includes our UK board members and trustees. Often, friends and associates travel with us too - at their own cost! This maintains our hands-on approach. We have negotiated a deal with Thomas Cook Travel, which means we are allowed allotted carriage space, giving our donated items free passage. Whilst there, we insist that everyone gets their hands dirty and helps with the builds, projects and more. We intend to consolidate the work we have already done, plus concentrate on realising the potential of our football teams. Included in our strategy is more contact and communication with the Gambian government, with the aim of showing how support of projects like the football teams can result in benefits that go much further. We see this as a beginning, not the end. Projects like ours extend beyond borders and constructively influence countries throughout Africa. When it comes to actions, we're not an island, we just need support and belief!


Results are happening, with four teams including a girls team raring to go. We also have 11 teams in outlying regions waiting for our support. We are making inroads across the country, politically and with the media in terms of showing the benefit of true support involving sport. We at Karmic Angels recognise that sport and music are two of the most unifying and empowering influences in our troubled world. We aim to focus on these alongside our important grassroots work.

In terms of 'results', how long is a piece of string? Happy, healthy, smiling faces, with a sense of hope and direction is the result we aim for! - so far, so good!

Through our support with basic building work and teacher involvement, we aim for self determination for village populations. The football teams could be the cream on the cake, a young, hopeful mix proving they can look beyond poverty. Gambia suffers from an ironic situation. It's generally not had the problems of despots/dictators/war in recent times so has tended to go under the radar. Nonetheless, it suffers the same African problems such as 2 out of 5 children dying before the age of five from Malaria;HIV/AIDS, other diseases and conditions.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

The will of the footballing people we work with, our own determination and support from where we can find it.

1st year: consolidate the work we've already done, select a group from our young players to decide directions. Look at attracting more girls for future teams.

2nd year: National recognition: aim to get our senior team into a higher league and enthuse the younger teams, plus girls, with that possibility. We would hope by that point to have attracted some media recognition and have started a momentum that will pay dividends for future success. This will also provide a window that will highlight the further reaching issues experienced overall by the bush villages. We would also hope that by this point we have integrated street children and orphans sufficiently to the point where they are accepting school places as well as on-going support from within the community. The international climate, too, must be taken into consideration - many changes occur, even the volcanic eruption in Iceland can impact on how the world's struggling regions are perceived. Our aim at Karmic Angels is to continue highlighting our work. We see the world in global terms, not just regional, and consider our efforts in the Gambia to be valuable long term for the benefit of us all. In particular, we hope regional football leagues can be created, also including cup competitions. This would encompass the various age groups respectively. We hope to create similar opportunities for girls' teams.

3rd year: While our work, both with football initiatives and our wider remit is so far focussed on the Gambia, with the right backing and financial support, we envisage taking our services to countries throughout Africa that could benefit from what we do. As for our 3rd division team, we'd like to see them progress and find themselves competing at a higher, national level. This would be a fantastic bonus to the bush regions as a whole, helping instil pride, hope and enthusiasm for all there, young and old!

Included in all the above is the need to work on promotion and publicity. This, of course, requires funding just as the basic football scheme project development does. We see as a priority the setting up of local and regional football management teams, able to oversee progress on a day-day basis as well as promote, publicise and fundraise, independent of Karmic Angels input.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Lack of: funds/support; resources/equipment; team management; training; commitment; health education/awareness; disease and epi/endemics
(not to mention complacency; a lack of self belief from within the various communities; divisive external and internal politics!).

Having said that, the nature of Gambian life, particularly in the bush, is such that disease, poverty and infant mortality are never far away - it's why the wider remit of Karmic Angel's work is vital for projects such as our football teams to flourish. We incorporate elements of health education and awareness in all our projects and the wider communities.

Another possible drawback involves technology. Our core team meet face to face on a regular basis, as do board members and trustees but, given that I am now back in Edinburgh after 30 years of working and living in England, Ireland and abroad and Alan and Stephanie live in Liverpool where our Karmic Angels HQ is based, we rely heavily on our ability to communicate online and by phone etc. This is also a factor regarding our ability to keep lines of communication open with our Gambian members, government and supporters etc. Remaining positive, though, it's important to remember that it's technology that has helped power many aid successes and will allow more success in the future!

Travel, too, is an important consideration. Firstly, internationally, the recent scare from Iceland's eruption has shown how plans can be disrupted before we know it. Compromised air travel could impact on long planned project builds/initiatives/important meetings etc. Secondly, more relevant and immediate in terms of current and ongoing problems in the Gambia, lack of suitable transport - ability to transport teams/core members/volunteers/equipment etc - will compromise plans and risk our football teams never reaching their potential.

Other than that, short of natural or political disaster, there is little to stand in the way of our projects' progress

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?


What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?

, XX

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Karmic Angels (UK and International registered charity)

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Approximately 150 words left (1200 characters).

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

Funding; promotion/publicity; people

FUNDING: A quick bit of background info regarding our financial and team structures. Our core team here in the UK, Stephanie, Alan and I rely on having jobs that are completely separate from Karmic Angels. This means that all funds/donations etc go directly to the KA projects, apart from essential expenses. In the Gambia, all our local project managers and co-ordinators are in existing teaching, healthcare and community posts. The teams, both here and in the Gambia, rely on the goodwill and commitment of volunteers for our successes. All our board members and trustees, again both here and in the Gambia are also unpaid for the services they provide. As I've already stated, we are in a constant catch-up situation re. funding. The more we can attract for our work the more we can achieve with our current, ongoing projects including the football teams, as well as for future health and project development overall. We see continuing innovation on our part as crucial to the wider success and development of Karmic Angels and our current/future projects. This encompasses promotion/publicity; fundraising; project development. The ultimate aims here include providing opportunities for those we work with, with the hope of seeing people, particularly the youngsters, grow in confidence and start to feel able to branch out independently (and with innovation where possible), using their own talents, abilities and dreams!

PROMOTION/PUBLICITY: We recognise the importance of getting our charity's work out into the public domain so publicity/promotion are key to our growth and success of our projects.

PEOPLE: Besides our core team, board members and trustees, we have a committed group of volunteers here in the UK and in the Gambia but we are always on the lookout for more help from committed and able volunteers and supporters. We also recognise the importance of networking/partnerships with similar charities/organisations/initiatives etc, plus with individuals who have something to offer independently too. In other words, people from all walks of life/backgrounds/professions(or not), once assessed, can also prove pivotal in the success of our work. Last but not least, being able to bring in known, footballing 'names' etc to visit and encourage now and then can also enthuse those involved in our team projects.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Here are some initial thoughts from our co-founder Stephanie prior to us getting charitable status:

'It all started when I was 13. To this day I can remember getting so excited and rushing home to read the latest book I had just bought. No - not the girlie magazines my mates were buying, but my favourite authors Kyle Onstott and Lance Horner who wrote about slavery and mandinka warriors and slaves being taken from their families . . . . In March 1985 Alan made his first trip to the Gambia and was amazed how friendly and happy the Gambian people were even though they had nothing. They would do anything for you. On one later occasion when I first visited, a Gambian woman walked seven miles to get me some flip flops - I was amazed! In the searing heat she had gone to the capital Banjul after I had asked her where to get some. She said "I will get them", and so thinking it was close by I agreed. That was just one thing. The Gambia is the smallest but most densely populated country in Africa and has 1.5 million living there . . . . From being a little girl of 13 and Alan going there 23 years ago we never realised just how much of a mission was there for us. . . . Alan and I made the perilous journey to James Island from the village of Juffereh, where the first slaves were taken and 93 perished when imprisoned on the island. We actually went inside the hole where they were kept, all 93 of them. To this day one can remember the horror when entering – people talk of similar feelings when entering the Nazi concentration camps in Poland. . . . . So, we’ve been there, done that and most assuredly will return regularly for this is our life’s work. When we retire we will move to the Gambia and be able to continue the help we have just begun.' (2007)

Carrying on from Stephanie, it was seeing the joy felt by the young kids from playing football, even in bare feet, that inspired us all at Karmic Angels to support and develop the football projects now in place. Sport, like music, can help alleviate the grim reality that so many experience. It's also a means of promoting health awareness. Such an initiative not only unites people but can give hope where there is little of that in evidence!

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

I think this is more or less covered, except to say that who or whatever our personal God might or might not be, spirituality and humanism are the true social innovators behind selfless giving. This holds true whether from athiests, agnostics or those with faith. Promoting self-awareness in mind, body and spirit is, it seems to me, the way towards creating and maintaining a healthy outlook for us all.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

FSI (Foundation for Social Inclusion), London UK