Kenyan kids are just like many kids around the world in that they have a passion for football. In the Kibera slums you can see football shirts from most of the world’s top clubs and football nations. It’s not just the kids; enterprising people will charge a few Kenyan Shillings for you to watch a Premier League match. The most unusual venue I’ve seen was a small room above a public toilet. As long as there is a power supply they will find a way.

The contrast between the squalor of life in the slums and the unimaginable riches of the players they watch was lost on most of those eager fans.

The fact that football inspires people is self evident.

The HOPE Academy

With our partners at Ambassadors Football we set-up the HOPE Academy in Nairobi.

Our shared goal (if you’ll excuse the pun) is to get kids off the streets and into a community that nurtures their passion for sport.

At the same time we build a mentoring relationship that encourages them in their studies, shares life skills and helps expand their horizons to dream a different future.

Another kind of coach

For three years, The Red Rubber Ball Foundation provided funding for Nicholas Macharia to fulfil his dream of running a football academy for underprivileged kids – which sees over 600 children involved in football programmes each year.

Macha graduated from the Kenya Institute of Development Studies and has achieved Premier Skills Level 1 and 2 Coaching and Referee qualifications.

He works with children in schools and other teams, camps and competitions; and runs coaching courses across Kenya.

We continue to send football kit – shirts, shorts, socks, boots, training kit etc donated by families, schools and youth teams, but the football academy now supports itself from funds generated locally.