The Power of Community Spirit
Football? Soccer? Whichever part of the world you are from, it is without doubt the most popular sport on the planet with the power to unite and excite players and supporters alike. Over two weekends in April the ISKL community was most definitely united and excited to support the Dignity for Children Foundation (DCF) by co-hosting preliminaries for The Faisal Cup, a football tournament involving 1,200 children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The tournament is an annual event with preliminaries held around Malaysia. The event is all about spirit - team spirit, community spirit, and for the 500 children who attended the preliminaries last month at ISKL, it also involved a large dose ISKL Panther spirit. In support of DCF, the event touched on just about every aspect of ISKL’s community, from parent volunteers, Girl Scouts, security guards, student emcees, and the Trash Hero recycling squad, through to students taking turns in a hot, furry Panther costume to entertain supporters. It was fun-filled tournament with a lot of cheering and smiling faces.
The feel-good factor extended well beyond the football fields to all those who supported the tournament behind the scenes. The event was a culmination of many months work by both DCF and a large team of ISKL parent volunteers led by Mr. Charles Horton. A parent of a child in Middle School, Charles became involved because he believes “sport is an essential tool for building character”.
Charles continues, “In addition to all the logistical support, the response and involvement from our community has been truly inspiring. ISKL’s Girl Scouts coordinated the donation of football gear for the players and our Middle School students raised more than RM4,000 for the cause by holding a Spirit Week. The parents and class instructors from our volunteer-run Conversational English Program for non-English speaking parents also supported the cause by donating the fees (RM9,000) from the Program to DCF. A large portion of the donations helped spread the Faisal Cup spirit across Malaysia by supplementing the transportation budget. ISKL’s involvement with DCF touches the very heart of our community, and at the same time as we give support, our community also gains so much in return”.
While the Faisal Cup has been running since 2006, DCF has been providing education and care to underprivileged children for over 20 years. The stories of 20 DCF alumni have been captured in “20 years … 20 stories of dignity” a book which was researched, designed and developed by ISKL students as part of the Creativity Activity Service (CAS) component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. As the book’s name suggests, it commemorates the work of DCF in transforming the lives of children through education and embodies the spirit of collaboration with ISKL and DCF students working together with support and guidance from ISKL faculty and parent volunteers.
Community involvement in non-government organizations such as DCF and events like the Faisal Cup undoubtedly has the power to transform lives. However, it is not solely the lives of those the event supports but also the lives of those who support the event. Charles explains, “We all derive so much from actively participating in community events such as the Faisal Cup. In particular, our students experience an important lesson in the value of taking action to effect positive change around them. This is a lesson that will last a lifetime”.
About Dignity for Children and the Faisal Cup
DCF is a non-governmental organization that provides holistic care and education for urban poor children in Kuala Lumpur. The Cup is dedicated to preserving the memory of Faisal, a young DCF student who drowned in 2006 while trying to retrieve an old football floating down the Gombak River. The Faisal Cup was initiated to ensure that children from underprivileged backgrounds have an equal opportunity to play in a safe environment. It is to ensure that never again will a child lose their life over something that seems so small to us, but is so important to them. It is to build a better tomorrow through the restoration of peace, hope and dignity.
The Faisal Cup Finals will be held at SMK Victoria on July 6 and 13, 2019.
Address: Victoria Institution, Jalan Hang Tuah, City Centre, 55200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.
All proceeds from the sale of “20 Years… 20 Stories of dignity” will go to sponsoring students to attend dignity for Children Foundation. To order your copy, please contact Lynette MacDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 017 818 8513. Minimum donation per copy RM100.