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Sport to support Kenyan kids

Expats from around Korea will meet up for a sports tournament in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, this month to benefit African children.

The 12-team futsal contest has been organized to raise money for the Purpose for Life Foundation.

The organization supports several projects, including improving living conditions for people in the Kenyan community of Ngumbulu.

Its most recent activity in December saw visiting volunteers making bricks for a child development center in the village situated 130 kilometers from Nairobi.

And it will use the 500,000 won expected to be raised by the Yeosu contest to pay for village children’s school fees.

Tournament organizers Kelly and Steven Chatfield have visited Ngumbulu several times in the last five years and have taken some of the friends they have made while teaching English in Korea to help the people living there. 
Teams line up to play in a previous futsal tournament in Yeosu.
Teams line up to play in a previous futsal tournament in Yeosu.

Kelly first visited the village in 2007, when she helped build a secondary school and repair the mud road to the village.

She and Steve have since raised cash to pay for 22 kids’ school tuition fees and to buy sports equipment, as well as basic items such as sanitary towels and cooking pots.

They also have raised money to build a playground with swings, slides and a roundabout for the village primary school.

In 2011, the pair convinced six of their friends here, including fellow Yeosu-based English teacher Meghan MacDonald, to book air tickets and join them in volunteering in the community.

“We visited the homes of the neediest children to gather information and encourage people to donate in the future,” Steve said of their last trip. “Meghan in particular helped a man who was bedridden with a large growth on his right arm. This was causing him a lot of pain and preventing him from going to work and provide for his six children. She helped and paid for his diagnosis, operation and aftercare.”

Since 2007, they have organized fund-raising events in Yeosu and their native U.K. including a concert and a cross-country run, as well as volleyball and soccer tournaments. They have held a donation drive for books and clothes and local doctors also have given first aid equipment, condom, and reusable sanitary towels.

“We plan to continue raising funds for school fees, not just in Ngumbulu but in the neighboring schools as well,” Steve added. “We also intend to finish building a volunteer house in the village so that people can stay there in improved comfort. We intend to help the villagers with seed and tree-growing projects and providing education for those villagers, most of them in their twenties, with children who have little or no education.”

As part of their fund-raising efforts, the Yeosu futsal tournament will be held between 12-6 p.m. on June 30 with 12 teams coming from all over Korea.

Teams from Seoul, Gwangju, Busan, Suncheon, Jeonju and Jeju will be among those attending the event. The teams are mostly made up of English teachers from the U.K., Canada, Ireland and the U.S.

For more information on the cause go to purposeforlifefoundation.org/index.html.

By Kirsty Taylor (kirstyt@heraldcorp.com)
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