Monday, October 26, 2009


Photo from Fugees Family website

Fugees Family came to my attention because it's founder, Luma Mufleh is receiving an award from Search For Common Ground, another non-profit engaged in making the world a better place. Coach Mufleh and her story - and the story of the Fugees Family can be found on the websites listed below. But here briefly is a short statement from the Fugees Family website that explains what it is doing.

FUGEES FAMILY, INC. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to working with child survivors of war. We build upon the power of soccer to galvanize these kids by giving them the support and structure they need to realize their vast potential. Five years ago, Coach Luma Mufleh started a Fugees team to provide refugee boys with free access to organized soccer. Since then, our programming has grown to include year-round soccer for 86 boys aged 10-18, after-school tutoring, a private academy, and an academic enrichment camp.

The Fugees Family provides a space for the kids to heal and meet others like them, from different countries, who have been through similar experiences. The players might begin by regarding one another with distrust or even hostility. By conducting drills with various players grouped together and enforcing an English-only policy at all times, the kids learn to cooperate. Africans and Asians, Northern and Southern Sudanese, Muslims and Christians, Sunni and Shia Muslims - they all play on the same team, finding their commonalities instead of focusing on their differences. Their bonds make them more secure in their own identity and more capable of acclimating to the mainstream.

The Fugees Family works to afford our kids equal access to the educational opportunities others in their age group have, helping them to acquire the social and academic skills necessary to succeed. Our goal is for the players to work hard and graduate from high school with a plan for college, technical school, or job training. We are committed to an approach that takes the whole individual into account: we are consistently involved in all areas of the kids' lives, we set high expectations on and off the field, we foster a familial atmosphere, and we have fun.




1 comment:

Susan Koscis said...

The 2010 Common Ground Awards
Announced by Search for Common Ground

Mathare Youth Sports Association to Receive Award for Social Change through Sport

Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) mentors and teaches young Kenyans living in the Mathare slums in Nairobi, one of the largest and poorest in Africa, with several hundred thousand inhabitants.

Founded in 1987 by Bob Munro, a former United Nations adviser on sustainable development, MYSA now reaches over 20,000 youth who participate in a range of sport and community development-related activities. It is non-religious, non-political and works across tribal lines.

MYSA pioneered the use of soccer as a tool to encourage cooperation, raise self-esteem and promote physical and environmental health in the Mathare community. At the heart of MYSA are football leagues with tens of thousands of young boys and girls playing on teams.

MYSA works to prevent drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, and gender discrimination. It promotes education, HIV / AIDS prevention, and environmental awareness; issues which are compounded by unemployment and poverty. Young people who have gone through MYSA programs go on to become role models and youth leaders. With additional training they now lead HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and counseling programs.

In 2000 MYSA created the Sports and Leadership Academy, which teaches youth how to understand and cope with adolescent life challenges. It also teaches organizational and leadership skills through community recreation, sports coaching, and tournaments.

MYSA’s long term goal is to help young people acquire the leadership, governance and project management skills and experience to pursue productive lives and actively engage in building a new Kenya.

Peter Karanja was one of the earliest MYSA participants and is now MYSA’s Executive Director.

The Common Ground Awards will be held on November 11, at 7:30 pm at the National Geographic Society, 1145 17th Street NW,Washington, D.C. 20036.

For more information please contact Susan Koscis at 202-777-2215 or via email: