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01869 338890

Adrian Miles coaches football in Zambia

The idea for the trip came about from my current college course, Fdsc Sports Science.  Part of the course is to find a WBL (work based learning) project, a lot of students look at locally based work related situations but as I am an older and have experience in the business environment I wanted to test myself in a completely different situation.  Having coached tennis at a local school I felt that a good idea would be to coach a different sport.

I had looked at volunteer projects before in different parts of the world so when I was informed that I had to do my two week WBL project this academic year I killed two birds with one stone.

The children of Queen Victoria School in Zambia practice their soccer drills with new footballsI chose Africa for a variety of reasons but the main one being is the lack of opportunities available to them for sports.

On the trip and in my spare time at weekends I rode an elephant, walked and stroked lions and went white water rafting down the Zambezi and went to Botswana on Safari, so quite busy!

The children achieved a great deal thanks to the donation of the balls.  When I arrived they were playing with rolled up newspaper with sticky tape holding it together so they could at least get to play.  Some of the children were playing football for the first time, not surprising when you realise that the average cost of a football is $60 and a monthly wage would be around $40.  They learnt skills and drills and the director and owner of the school, Mrs Q Chansa was impressed with how keen the whole school was to take part in one of my Adrian Miles with the local football teamslessons, so much so that on the last day of coaching we headed up to the new school plot where a full size football pitch was being marked out with shovels).  The goal posts were made from tree branches and the lines were filled with lime so they stood out.  A problem was the presence of green and black mamba snakes, highly dangerous as the pitch was in the middle of a wood, these snakes were regular visitors so we had some volunteers to beat the ground with sticks to scare them off prior to the children arriving, thankfully none were seen!

On a personal level I achieved a lot.  You could say that two weeks is such a short time to achieve anything but I have left a piece of me in Africa as I arranged for a local football coach to come with me on the last day and take part in the training, his name is Hillary and he runs teams for his local church.  I have his commitment that he will continue to coach the children at the school and keep in regular contact with me to let me know how things are progressing so the balls will be used very regularly indeed!!

The children of Queen Victoria School, Zambia say thank you for their new footballsThis experience has undoubtedly changed the way I think, hopefully forever.  When you see children laughing and joking and yet at the same time missing one shoe lace which makes sports difficult it makes you realise how very lucky our children are.  In these days of "I want I want" our children don't experience the same amount of hardship and yet these children are very happy. One could argue that they know no different, but I do, that's the difference and if they had half of the opportunities that our children get then I am sure Africa would strive forwards in education. When the last time a blackboard and chalk was was used in this country?

I can't thank the donating company enough. They have made a huge, huge difference to the children of Queen Victoria School in Zambia. This school couldn't afford equipment of any description and as such the children did not have sport as part of their school week, thanks to the donating company, the school are now including sports in the timetable, specifically football and from what I have seen they have some talented youngsters.  Even after the lesson had finished, these children wanted to continue to play after school such was their delight.  If only everyone was as kind as this company and could see first hand the difference it has made.

Adrian Miles's placement in Zambia in October 2009 was arranged with Travellers Worldwide