Spirit of Soccer uses the power of soccer to help save the lives of children living at daily risk from landmines and explosive remnants of war in some of the most dangerous places in the world. Using a unique curriculum of Mine Risk Education (MRE) alongside soccer games and drills, Spirit of Soccer teaches simple and effective lessons that help children recognize and avoid landmines and explosive remnants of war.
Explosive remnants of war (often termed 'ERW') are landmines and unexploded ordnance (often termed 'UXO') left over from past or on-going conflicts. These deadly weapons kill and maim indiscriminately for years after the conflicts have ended - most of the countries where casualties are reported are at peace and according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, 70-85% of reported casualties are civilians - many of them children.
Children are especially vulnerable to the dangers of ERW. Naturally curious, children are most likely to pick up strange or shiny objects thinking they are toys, or to try to salvage them for scrap metal. Every two days, a child is killed or wounded by weapons left over from past wars around the world. Even if they survive, a child injured by a landmine will face months of painful recovery and a struggle to afford replacing prosthetic limbs as they grow. Many never return to school and face discrimination and social exclusion.
Spirit of Soccer believes that no child should lose their life or limbs to landmines.
"It is essential for children in high-risk areas to receive more innovative education in mine-awareness," states a United Nations report on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children.
Spirit of Soccer trains local soccer coaches to deliver MRE clinics in conflict-affected communities. Through these clinics, our coaches are able to alert children to the dangers of living alongside these weapons. Since the organization was founded in 1996, Spirit of Soccer has delivered Mine Risk Education to 167,000 children in Bosnia, Cambodia, Iraq, Kosovo, Laos and Moldova.
Spirit of Soccer is committed to protecting children from sexual abuse and trafficking. Since 2010 we have been working closely with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and are leading a campaign for a global child protection charter for the development through soccer community. If you know of a child abuse-related issue please report it by following this link. The staff at CEOP are waiting to assist.