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Generous Arsenal help aid Ugandan kids charity and build hope for youngsters through football

PUBLISHED: 15:52 10 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:52 10 March 2017

Youngsters from Uganda's Family of Hope have benefitted from Arsenal's generosity

Youngsters from Uganda's Family of Hope have benefitted from Arsenal's generosity

Archant

Arsenal’s latest half-yearly results may have seen the club with cash reserves of more than £100million, but the North London club still proved it has class money cannot buy as it helped build a football pitch and donated sports equipment to an African school for children with learning difficulties.

One of the richest clubs in the world showed it still has a heart of gold by giving a Ugandan school called Family of Hope vital goalposts, Arsenal kits and various other items to help aid children with intellectual disabilities.

The school – a special educational needs centre – is based in Buwenge, north of Jinja, a town 50 miles east of Kampala which sits along the northern shores of Lake Victoria, near the source of the White Nile.

It houses 40 pupils, three qualified teaching staff, two matrons, a night watchman and a cook, with the purpose of giving the youngsters a chance to receive an education, and a future. But now, thanks to Arsenal’s kind gesture through The Arsenal Foundation – which uses football to inspire and support young people not only in North London but all over the world – it also gives the pupils a chance to play the beautiful game as it now hosts a football pitch with goalposts.

A patch of land where Arsenal helped lay out a pitch in the red African soil – where previously marginalised children living in extreme poverty can play the world’s most popular sport – is a place where compassion and acceptance are the norm and where every child has a chance to thrive.

A spokesman for Family of Hope said: “We are thrilled that The Arsenal Foundation have given us some money to build a football pitch at the school. We plan to share this with all the local schools as there are no other pitches in the locality. “We plan to run tournaments and are starting to raise awareness and acceptance of our fabulous children as we join together in football – a game much loved by everyone in Uganda. Thank you, Arsenal!”

Teacher Joanita Kasooli explained to Africa Live that they look after children with physical disabilities and severe learning issues, along with deaf and sight impaired youngsters and wheelchair users. One of the children wearing an Arsenal shirt added he enjoyed the fact there was now a pitch and that he could run so fast he could ‘be like Sanchez’.

School director Robert Kirimwita said: “Our aims are to develop the children mentally and physically. We gave Arsenal our objectives and they bought the equipment.”

A spokesman for Arsenal added: “We hope this will help foster new relationships and build understanding.”

Life can be very hard for children in Uganda. Although primary school education is free, pupils must be able to pay for their uniform, equipment and exam fees.

For those in poverty, education is a luxury they simply cannot afford. But at Family of Hope, all children are provided with a uniform, regular and nutritious meals, and have exams fees fully funded.

To learn more about Family of Hope visit familyofhope.co.uk/whyhelp/our-story.

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