Football and fun for impoverished children in Ukraine
Published 12 June 2012
While Europe's attention may be fixed on Ukraine and the excitement of Euro 2012, Mission Without Borders is working not so far away with some of the poorest and most marginalised people.
The charity is getting into the spirit of the sporting season by holding football tournaments throughout the summer near the Euro 2012 host cities.
While the likes of Rooney, Van Persie and Ballotelli pursue football glory in front of thousands, the charity is working hard to make sure that children from Ukrainian orphanages and poverty-stricken families don't miss out on the fun.
They are being treated to 10 days of sport and rest at summer camps being run by Mission Without Borders.
The camps are part of the charity's sustainability work in a country where three in 10 people live in absolute poverty.
They provide a welcome break from the pressures and hardship of life in poverty and also offer the children the chance to develop new skills and friendships.
More than 3,000 children from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine will stay in the camps.
Twelve-year old Ilian, who went to a summer camp last year, says his stay was a life-changing experience.
Before, he was afraid of everything, from sleeping in a room alone, to the dark and the water.
He says, “At the camp I was able to confront why I was being so frightened. I’ve got a new confidence now to fight my fears.”
Yaroslava, a ten-year old orphan living in a Ukrainian institution south of the city of Ternopil, will be going to a summer camp for the first time this year.
She says, “Others from the home went last year and told me how great it was. I really want to see it with my own eyes.”
One Mission Without Borders child sponsor from Yorkshire said: “I’ve met many of these abandoned children.
"We forget that children with no family can suffer isolation, low confidence or learning difficulties.
"For them, going to a summer camp is such a positive experience.
"They’ll really develop as they enjoy new friendships, eat and rest well. Above all, it’s a place where children gain confidence and really come out of themselves.”
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