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PHILIPPINES: Sports Program Helps Salesian Students Develop Life Skills and Stay in School

(MissionNewswire) The Madridejos Football Club of Cebu Province, Philippines, recently extended its programs to Bantayan Island and donated soccer balls to Salesian elementary and high school students and those attending Salesian youth programs there. The soccer program is part of the rehabilitation and rebuilding assistance provided by Salesian missionaries since typhoon Yolanda devastated much of the country in 2013.

Organized in 1996 by Coach Cesar Cantancio by the invitation of the Madridejos Mayor, Doroteo Salazar, the Madridejos Football Club was part of a sports program developed for a fishing town in Northern Cebu. Eventually, the club became a football powerhouse throughout the Island of Cebu. Coach Cantancio has dedicated eighteen years of his life to developing the football club whose players consist of elementary and high school students. He learned to play soccer himself when he was a student at the Don Bosco Boys Home in Banilad, Philippines and went on to play for the Don Bosco varsity high school team and the University of Cebu.

The Madridejos Football Club has been a champion of the Salesian Provincial Meet and has had its members go on to achieve acclaim in the sport. Elson Dorimon, a former member of the club, went on to play in the Homeless World Cup in Poland in September 2014.

Through a partnership with and support from Don Bosco Boys Home in Banilad, the football club has helped many young people remain in school. For many players, their skills on the field have granted them access to scholarships that have allowed them to continue their studies at the university level.

“Sports programs for youth teach valuable skills both on and off the field,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Learning and playing team sports encourages leadership and teamwork. Students also learn important social skills and are given opportunities to grow and mature.”

The super typhoon which struck on Nov. 8, 2013 was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded and the deadliest typhoon on record in the Philippines killing more than 6,200 people in that country alone. According to the United Nations, the super typhoon affected more than 13 million people overall. An estimated one million homes were destroyed and 4 million people were left homeless with close to 2.5 million of those displaced needing food assistance. According to the UN World Food Program, more than 5 million of those affected were children, leaving 1.5 million children at risk of acute malnutrition.

Salesian missionaries in the country offer a variety of educational and social development programs for youth, many with an emphasis on recreation and sports activities. The goal is to provide the opportunities necessary to gain an education and break the cycle of poverty as well as the skills to secure and retain long-term employment.



ANS – Philippines – Promoting Football to the Grassroots

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