The Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s Vision and Mission to leverage on the beautiful game to strengthen communities through the AFC Dream Asia Foundation continued its game-changing impact with the launch of the “Prison Football, Rehabilitation Through Football” programme in partnership with the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) and Shelter Ashraya Nepal (SAN).
Aimed at rehabilitating past offenders and reducing reoffending, the year-long project, spread across two phases is supported by the nation’s Home Ministry and the Prison Department of Nepal.
The capacity building initiative will offer different skill-based courses, namely, coaching, referee, and football training. The skill course offered to the inmates will depend on their age, interest and serving period.
Upon completion of their respective courses, coaches will receive a D licence while those training in refereeing will earn a Category IV certificate.
The ANFA and the SAN will provide participation certificates for those undergoing football training and will also assist them in securing opportunities to be employed in the local football ecosystem upon completion of their time served, paving the way for them to be reintegrated into the community as rehabilitated and respectable citizens.
Inmates who have less remaining time to serve will be given preference to ensure they are provided with the best conditions to benefit from the programme at the time of their release.
The ANFA, spear-heading this project with the aid of various local bodies such as the non-profit organisation SAN, will work closely with the government while choosing the prison that will be the site for the pilot edition.
Giving ex-offenders a chance to engage in physical activities, team sports is integral to their overall physical and mental well-being.
Therefore, for those offenders who are not eligible to be part of the enterprise, a parallel “Football for Fun” project has been proposed by which the inmates can still be included through football matches and counselling sessions, among other activities.
The latest initiative further underlines the long-standing and meaningful impact of the partnership between the AFC, ANFA and SAN following the successful launch of the ‘Feed the Hungry’ programme in 2021 during the height of the pandemic.
The ‘Prison Football, Rehabilitation Through Football’ represents another excellent model that upholds the AFC’s belief that football truly belongs to everyone and anyone can develop lifelong values through the sport.