Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Local students aiding Ugandan peers
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 5 Apr 2006, p. 3

Full Text

Halton Hills residents are being asked to donate any used youth soccer uniforms and equipment to a group that wants to help disadvantaged children in a small town in the African nation of Uganda. The Canada-Africa Soccer Friendship Association (CASFA) has struck up a partnership with Georgetown District High School and students were introduced to details of the campaign at an assembly last week. Anthony Atine, a native of Uganda who now resides in Brampton, spoke to GDHS students about the impoverished conditions in his native country and how he hoped the sport of soccer could help African youths improve their way of life. "We're not asking for your money," said Atine, president of CASFA and a former professional footballer in Africa and later Canada with the Toronto Blizzard. "We're using youth soccer as an instrument for human and social development, health, peace and education. We want to link Canadians with Africa and help them enjoy what we do over here. It's all about the soccer first and then we'll talk about the other issues later. Georgetown is the flagship community in Canada for our campaign." Atine, a 45-year-old mechanical engineer with Air Canada and the Nova Tube company of Halton Hills, met local resident Phil Evans on one of their frequent trans-Atlantic flights and the two soccer fanatics talked about how they might be able to collaborate their humanitarian efforts. Evans, a metallurgical engineering consultant who went to Uganda with Atine to drop off the first shipment of Georgetown Minor Soccer Club uniforms four months ago, contacted GDHS principal Ron Maruya about enlisting student support for CASFA, linking it with Ireda Primary School in Uganda. The student parliament at the school has jumped on board as well. "When I first met Anthony he told me about the school over there and how you could see 10-or-so children crowding around one book," said Grade 12 student Daani Surma, prime minister of the GDHS student parliament. "I thought Georgetown could do something about this. If everyone in the school brought in one book, that would be 1,300 books and it wouldn't be that hard to do. So, we're asking people to donate books to the cause, too." During the next couple of weeks, the public is urged to drop off any unused uniforms or equipment such as shoes or shin pads in the school's library. A container filled with goods will then be shipped to Uganda in May. Atine explained that the intent of CASFA drive for the Ireda school is not to provide charity to the youths there; through soccer, the hope is that the students will develop self-reliance through their involvement in a team sport and take pride in their community and country. "Through little projects, we can develop things in the community so that the kids have something to do and are helping their parents instead of destroying what's there," he added. "We have to teach them how to love their country like we do here in Canada so they're not asking us to send them money." A film crew has also accompanied Atine recently, accumulating footage for a future documentary about the CASFA campaign. Atine, who emigrated to Canada in 1987 has coached youth soccer in the Toronto area for the past few years, said that CASFA is looking for support from sponsors to help defray the costs of transporting the containers to Africa. For more info, his e-mail address is atine@rogers.com.

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Date of Publication:
5 Apr 2006
Personal Name(s):
Atine, Anthony ; Surma, Daani ; Evans, Phil ; Maruya, Ron
Corporate Name(s):
Canada-Africa Soccer Friendship Association ; CASFA ; Georgetown District High School ; Toronto Blizzard ; Air Canada ; Nova Tube company of Halton Hills ; Georgetown Minor Soccer Club ; Ireda Primary School
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Local students aiding Ugandan peers