3rd prize 2017: Matenjay Sheriff (Liberia)
“The Ballon Dieu Youth Football Club (BDYFC) was founded by myself and Abraham Keita on March 2nd 2017, as a way to organize the youth of Gbanjor through sports and also as a way to make Youth Sports a national priority in Liberia. BDYFC aspires to control the strategic direction of football in the community while also fostering participation in sports amongst male and females of all ages”, points out the second-year Brandt School student, Matenjay, enthusiastically. Currently BDYFC club has a total of 15 club members, ages 13 to 21, and is seeking funding to host its first community football tournament for girls and boys ages 15 to 21.
The objectives of the Ballon Dieu Youth Football Club project are, among others, as follows: to bring about support for youth involved in football activities, to foster community building and to encourage healthy and social living. “The BDYFC project seeks to provide the people of Gbanjor a community forum to grow community spirit and pride through the shared support of the participating members. Lastly the BDYFC project hopes to provide potential football players in the community an aspirational pathway to a football career and fulfillment of individual sporting potential”, says Matenjay.
Matenjay is very confident in the success of this project in reaching the objectives and going even beyond that. “Football is both a hobby and a passion of mine. This passion coupled with my education background in Psychology and Public Policy, gives me the tools needed to carry out this project in a successful fashion. Apart from this, Abraham Keita has experience organizing community football tournaments in Liberia. As a team we possess the knowledge and passion to carry out the project beyond the initial football tournament phase into the realization of BDYFC goals and aims”, she says confidently. The beneficiaries of the BDYFC project are first and foremost the youth involved in the Ballon Dieu Youth Football Club and those participating in the club’s activities. The community of Gbanjor will also benefit in terms of community spirit and moral boost, as well as a boost to local businesses during club activities.