We are continuously thankful for the relationships that The Raining Season has forged both stateside and in Sierra Leone. These relationships have continuously created unique and special opportunities for our kids. Fortunate for us, some of these relationships have created a ripple effect, further connecting us with others. In July of 2018, Mariama Keita invited Emmerson, a Sierra Leonean Afropop singer, to surprise our kids and staff at a celebration thrown by Khadijat Mojidi, former Country Coordinator of USAID in Sierra Leone. Medix, a U.S. based healthcare recruitment company, regularly Skypes with some of our older children providing encouragement, support, and guidance. Because of this relationship, we were connected with the Ela Soccer Club from the suburbs of Chicago. The Ela Soccer Club donated uniforms and soccer gear to the center. Stories like these continuously bless The Raining Season.
Most recently, Joe Walker was working to develop the reading program he began organizing after his first trip in January of 2019. As he brainstormed with our in-country director, Sorie, how to shift the reading culture and how to incentivize our boys for reading, he came across the Sierra Football Academy - SL on LinkedIn. Joe connected with the organization and planned to meet with them when he was in-country. Today, we are excited to share more about this new relationship that is forming with the Sierra Football Academy Foundation.
First, a little background information on the Sierra Football Academy Foundation. Founded in 2018, the Sierra Football Academy Foundation - SL is a non-profit formed by several football (soccer) lovers in Sierra Leone. They are dedicated to promoting grassroots football within the country. Their mission is to find young talent and develop youth football in Sierra Leone. They want to identify and serve vulnerable and underprivileged children by teaching them soccer skills. In addition to that, they want to maintain the standards of soccer while collaborating with institutions, both local and international.
In August, The Raining Season was on the receiving end of their incredible mission. As you probably know, our boys LOVE soccer! Countless broken windows, a protective shelter for the aunties to observe from, and hours of soccer matches are all signs of this love of soccer. In a two day event, the Sierra Football Academy first visited the center. They sent their head trainer to work with all of our boys on basic soccer skills, including foot-work drills. The main event came later in the week when The Raining Season’s soccer team participated in a friendly match against the 15 and under Sierra Football Academy team.
The opportunity to participate in this friendly match was a highlight of the summer for many of our boys. The game itself was fun, but as we all know, it was more than a game. The opportunity to participate in this taught our boys discipline, work ethic, and teamwork. It was more than a scoreboard that determined a winner and a loser. It was an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and we are grateful to the Sierra Football Academy Foundation for that. Not only did our boys have fun, but they also looked the part thanks to the Ela Soccer Club outfitting our team. You can read more about the Ela Soccer Club here.
We are excited to share that the Sierra Football Academy plans to continue its relationship with The Raining Season. Ten of our boys have been invited to train with the Sierra Football Academy full time! We are still working out the final details of how this will work, and we will certainly keep you posted as this journey continues.
A very BIG thank you to the Sierra Football Academy, its coaches, and players. Thank you for the time spent teaching our boys the fundamentals of soccer. Thank you for challenging us in a friendly match. We are continuously grateful for people, near and far, who are willing to pour into our children. We are thankful for the experiences they share and the opportunities they provide.
The Raining Season