MANILA, Philippines – Children from Metro Manila’s largest dumspite gather every Sunday to play football in their baranggay basketball court.
They come barefoot, armed with nothing but huge smiles.
But this Sunday morning, February 26, is slightly different.
They come, still beaming, still ready to kick the ball around, but it is a special day.
It has been a year since Payatas Football Club was born, the brainchild of British volunteers Roy Moore and Naomi Tomlinson. The two are co-directors of the Fairplay For All Foundation (FFA) and coaches of the Payatas FC, which gives less privileged children the chance to play football.
This morning, awards are handed out to the players for a succesful football year, and more importantly, it is opening day of a new drop-in center for the kids of Payatas.
The drop-in center, in the words of Tomlinson, “will be a place where the kids can be kids.” The center will offer educational programs for the children, and at the very least, a space to allow the kids to escape the stress of every day life.