“Get down to work, it is worth it to keep on fighting for the good!”
Founder Helmut Köglberger (1946-2018)
What ACAKORO stands for
The ACAKORO Football project was founded in 2013 in Korogocho slum, Nairobi, Kenya and was run by both the “Austrian ACAKORO” aid organization and the Kenyan association “ACAKORO NGO”. The goal of all these efforts is to grant academic as well as sports training to children who are socially strongly disadvantaged, by football serving as a life skill.
150 socially strongly disadvantaged boys and girls between the age of 7 and 17 are supervised in ACAKORO by 14 local employees. All children are enabled to attend school in one of the 4 partner schools, by getting their school fees paid and getting provision of school uniforms and school materials. Other than that, ACAKORO offers regular private tutoring. Academic and social education is the most important goal at ACAKORO.
Daily football training with all necessary equipments and character development core elements, a warm meal, safe transport home as well as medical care of all the children sees to it that the children are fully cared for and have the possibility to experience their childhood in a child-suitable manner.
GROWING UP IN EXTREME POVERTY
The Korogocho Slum
Life in Korogocho is hard. In the morning, many people do not know what they will eat the entire day and whether they will go to bed hungry. This particularly affects children who, from a very young age, 5 or 6 years old, are left on their own and must somehow get through the day because their mostly single mothers and fathers attempt to earn a bit of money. It is a constant battle for survival for almost all the 200,000 residents. Most of them have a roof over their heads. They live in single-roomed corrugated-iron huts, where it is not rare for up to 8 people to stay in a 10 squaremeters space.2 aufhalten. One sleeps where they can find a spot, even if it is on the bare floor. When it rains, the water penetrates the huts. When it rains, the water penetrates the huts. And since there are no shelves or cabinets, where they could store items they use on a daily basis, the entire family lays the household utensils on the bed and either sleep on the wet floor or wearily sit out the rainy night. There is electricity in about half of all the housing, although there is power outage almost every day for a fair amount of hours. The water supply is still bad, which results in poor hygiene services.
Whoever grows up in Korogocho, grows up with the daily realization, that their human basic needs are not met. The fact that most of the children become, in many cases, neglected adolescents due to their parents´ need to somehow ensure the survival of the family, is rooted in the evident, existential plight. Without sufficient education, without professional skills, that no one taught them, often also without fundamental social skills like respect, punctuality or empathy, it is understandable how the youth cannot succeed in overcoming the vicious cycle of poverty and leave the slum. Quite the contrary, most of them become parents at a very young age, and continue the cycle of misery with their own children. Violence, drug abuse, crime and hunger are not the exception but the rule in the life of the residents.
Since 2013 ACAKORO has attempted to counter the virtuous circle of deprivation in Korogocho slum. And with considerable success. By concentrating on 150 girls and boys, and the extensive support of each child, most of the children have succeeded in developing a perspective for themselves and to achieve a future out of the slums.
3-column learning model
For all 150 ACAKORO children, all costs that are associated with school attendance are covered. What’s more, ACAKORO is in constant correspondence with the teachers and keeps an eye on the regular learning of the children. The academic learning, whose basis for career development for the children out of the slum cannot be valued enough, ends with the successful High School graduation with 18 years. For children who are weak in some subjects, ACAKORO offers a comprehensive after-school care with its own teachers. Academic learning at ACAKORO is of the greatest importance. Education is the basis for any further personal development!
All children come to ACAKORO every day after school. 6 football teams are trained on 2 football pitches. In this respect, the sport of soccer serves to support the children in their personal development. This is how every training week at ACAKORO is structured; with a particular positive characteristic, be it Fair-Play, team spirit, respect, commitment, dealing with defeat, passion, self-confidence, etc. Through this approach, football at ACAKORO becomes a sustainable life skill and the positive power of the sport becomes integrated in the daily life of the children.
ACAKORO-graduates have the possibility to attend a vocational-oriented college. Despite the fact that the then youth are no longer part of the daily program, ACAKORO enables them to get an opportunity to undergo a specified vocational training in one of the craft professions offered by covering all their expenses. This takes, depending on the profession, one to two years and increases the chances for them to get a job after graduating from high school and eventually leaving the slums.
Since 2013, more than 500 children have undergone the ACAKORO training model. The overwhelming majority of the children have managed to leave the slum and its accompanying misery and challenge a positive life that includes a profession and a family in some of the parts of Nairobi that are not affected by extreme poverty. Some of the high school graduates have made a career out of their hobbies and play for one of the highest football leagues in Kenya as professional footballers. Almost all the graduates are still connected to ACAKORO. They attend the afternoon football trainings or engage themselves in any other form under the ACAKORO programs.
Over the past 10 years, we have been able to create a sustainable sense of belonging, which makes ACAKORO more than just a development project. ACAKORO is a place where children feel that they are in good hands, a second family!