Showing a red card to child labor
For James and Phil Younghusband, football is more than a sport. The game has been said to stop wars (Christmas Day, 1914 when English and German soldiers called a truce and play a game of football and sang Christmas carols) or even start wars (the football war between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969). Because of its power and reach, it also has a social responsibility aspect to it.
Through The Younghusband Football Academy (TYFA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), the brothers are showing a red card to child labor by creating awareness about this social issue but also providing opportunities for the victims to better their lives.
According to data provided by the National Statistics Office, there are 5.4 million Filipinos from the age of 5-17 who are currently working. Of that total, some 3.2 are engaged in child labor. The International Labor Organization defines child labor as “children working in a hazardous environment that includes poor work place conditions and for long hours.” Of every 10 children, six are boys while four are girls. The kind of work they engage in range from agriculture, services, and industry. Thirty-nine percent of that number shows that children are exposed to physical and chemical hazards.
Said Phil Younghusband of the issue: “If we (TYFA) can help, why not? It’s a responsibility that we all share. I agree, we have to show a red card to child labor. It is disgusting. I don’t claim to be an expert but you do not need to be one to say that it’s wrong.”
Last Tuesday, September 17, TYFA and ILO held a football camp called Lakas Sipa para sa Batang Malaya at the Emperador Stadium in McKinley Hill with over 190 kids from ages 12-17 in attendance.
The children -- from Metro Manila, Cavite, and Batangas – are all victims of child labor.
Jess Landagan, a football coach who has worked with the Philippine Homeless and Street Child World Cup Teams said that awareness is important for this issue. “I am happy that the Younghusband brothers are doing their part in calling attention to this issue. With so many issues plaguing our country pwede ma-overlook ito (child labor). But this is one is because of poverty so you cannot overlook this.”
Added James Younghusband, “It’s so important the ILO event because people need to be aware of what these kids are going through and how we can all get together and put a stop to it. We are privileged that TYFA was given the opportunity to be part of something to make the lives of these kids easier. To some football can be a path to a better future.”
TYFA Director Cathy Nazareno bared that the Tuesday event isn’t a one-shot. “We (along with ILO) are in the process of planning on ways and means in which we can use football as a platform for these kids to get an education and a future. Our next event will be on October 17 but the more concrete plans are in the works.”
Helping out with the Lakas Sipa para sa Batang Malaya were UFL stars Chad Gould, Nate Burkey, and Jonah Romero.
Sponsors of the Lakas Sipa para sa Batang Malaya include ABS-CBN, Landbank of the Philippines, Consuelo Foundation, Dole Philippines, SM Cares, SM Supermalls, Accel, Globe, Molten, Kettle Foods Corporation, St. Luke’s Medical Center, United Football League, Gatorade, St. Scholastica Academy, DMCI Homes, UP Alpha Sigma Fraternity, International School Manila, San Miguel Foundation, Megaworld, and LGU Taguig.