Skip to main content

We're Taking Soccer Balls to Gaza

Pic: Trevor Hogan via
The Kick Project has been on an enforced hiatus for a while. But we're back. And we've got plans.

We've all seen what's been going on in Gaza. The kids in the picture above were playing soccer on the Gaza beach a month or so ago. There was another boy with them outside of frame. They were all killed moments after this photo was taken by direct Israeli rocket fire. Their names were Zacaria, Aahed Bakr Jr., Mohammed and Ismail. They were all from the same extended family. The IDF believed they may be Hamas operatives. They are among the hundreds of kids killed, and the thousands of children wounded, often horribly so. And they, perhaps, are the lucky ones, for their suffering is over.

I was in Gaza myself in the early 1990's, and met many beautiful people there. I felt welcomed and very secure. Whatever the political context of what's going on there - I have my views on that for sure - the fact is that children and being traumatised and severely damaged - that's not accounting for those killed and injured.

This generation of kids is living in a fractured time, full of violence and shattered faith. Kids under 7 have already experienced two wars and a ghetto-like blockade. They are at risk of growing up without a childhood. Given that young Palestinians make up the majority of Gaza's population, the foundation these kids are getting is in danger of producing a nation of damaged souls and broken hearts.

Not only is this dangerous geopolitically, it is untenable in terms of global justice and human rights. In short, in this day and age, this situation should not exist.

But, it does. And so we must do something.

The Kick Project has never set out to change the world, or even a person (other than perhaps ourselves). All we aim to do is contribute to a solution. We simply aim to serve. To this end, we have decided to go to Gaza.

The basic idea is to deliver 1000 soccer balls to kids in Gaza and to various league teams on the strip. We feel this will help to re-generate an important outlet for social release, as well as help re-construct a valued means of interaction and diversion.

For the kids especially, it's about bringing a small piece of fun and celebration into their lives.

For many Gazan kids, the world has only delivered pain, disaster and general indifference to their plight. How amazing if the world actually brought these kids something wonderful, magical, and asked no questions and placed no obligations. What if the world just said, "Here you go. Here's a soccer ball. It's yours. Go and play."

So, that's our aim. It's not grand or complicated. It's just a simple gesture because it's something we can do. And we feel it may help.

We want to get this done before winter sets in but also after the current hostilities end. So, logistics are all a little vague right now. But we're keen and we're putting out the message. Let us know if you can help.

Go well and don't forget to KICK IT large......




Popular posts from this blog

Post-UNOSDP - Is the IOC fool's gold?

This is a longer version of an article published on
With the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace closed down by the global body, there is undoubtedly a void in this space in which many of us here work.
But, for all the high profile oomph the UNOSDP added to the world of sport for good, it’s passing need not be seen as devastating.
For one, the work the UNOSDP has already done in its 16 years of life has laid a platform for the development of sport for social justice. While many of us knew for years that sport had a wider purpose beyond mere business or entertainment, the UNOSDP has provided a base of credibility that may have otherwise taken much longer to establish.
While much of the work is, in many ways, still to be done, the UNOSDP has left a positive legacy on which we can all build.
More problematic is the shifting of the UNOSDP’s brief to the IOC.
Obliging the IOC to administer to the peace and development facets of modern sport raises three qu…

Statement on Funding for the Rohingya Football Club

We are very pleased to announce that The Kick Project has received a $AUD16,500 donation from the Australian Government to fund a pilot soccer program with Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. The funds, coming through the Australian High Commission in Malaysia, will allow the charity to support the Rohingya Football Club which has become a vital part of the exiled Rohingya community in Kuala Lumpur. The program entails kitting out the team, providing transport to games and establishing a sports and community hub where Rohingya people can access sporting equipment and coaching. Young people, and girls in particular, are the long term focus of the initiative. The Kick Project founder James Rose says the Rohingya are in dire need of assistance. "The UN has called the Rohingya arguably the most persecuted group in the world. They've been forced to flee their homelands in Myanmar, where they have been made stateless by government decree, and many have lost their lives as a result." As r…

Playing for Positives: How Pro Sport and Good Causes Can Work Together

Interesting read from The New Yorker on the authority and power invested in professional athletes, in relation to influencing the progress of social justice.

The focus here is on American sports, but the theme can be easily extended to other sports, worldwide.

It's perhaps no surprise perhaps that the rise of pro sports as a massive industry in its own right, with the parallel gains for individuals in money and celebrity terms, that more athletes don't speak out about important issues. There's clearly a lot at stake, and a lot to lose for those who step off the tightly managed corporate line running through most large sports organisations and clubs.

But, the fact that a large percentage of today's professional athletes come from simple backgrounds, if not from situations of outright poverty and/or abuse, begs the question of why don't more speak up about the circumstances that they escaped from and in which some of their peers in youth remain ensconced?

The Kick P…