Club delegation heads to Tanzania.
As part of a week-long visit to Tanzania, Sunderland AFC officials visited the remote community of Pemba Millennium Village today.
Gary Hutchinson, Peter Weymes and Foundation of Light’s Graham Robinson have flown to the country to check on the progress of Sunderland’s ground-breaking academy project in Dar es Salaam, in conjunction with Symbion Power.
Gary is also undertaking a series of meetings senior Government ministers and officials, along with influential members of the African business community as the club looks to build on its positive relationship with the continent.
Hutchinson, along with the Foundation’s football development director, Robinson, was part of an official delegation that visited the impoverished community of 10,000 people. Part of the Millennium Villages Project, the KPMG-backed partnership aims to improve infrastructure, health, education, welfare and the environment in one of Tanzania’s most impoverished areas.
Sport is used to empower and encourage young people within the project and during their visit the SAFC officials visited a local school, speaking with the head teacher and sports teacher, whilst also meeting boys aged between 13 and 16 who play for the local village football teams.
The club also met officials and project leaders to understand more about their work and the challenges they face, along with their hopes for the future.
Following a presentation from the club on its football philosophy and growing work in Africa the youngsters were given SAFC kits and additional kits will be sent to the region in the near future.
Speaking about the visit Gary said: We have been very privileged to see such an amazing project first-hand. The community, with the support of KPMG, is working hard to overcome significant challenges and its humbling to see the great work that’s been done.
Such are the limited facilities available that when the boys showcased their football skills to club officials it was with a makeshift ball, on a rough, uneven surface, with the youngsters in bare feet.
Club officials departed after their visit to chants of ‘Sunderland’ ringing in their ears. Gary continued: “Today has really demonstrated that football is truly a universal language and has a unique power to enhance and change lives."
SAFC’s commitment to Tanzania was sealed a number of months ago with the announcement of the academy project. Further work is continuing with the country and part of the club’s growing commitment to the African continent.