By Vision Reporter
KAMPALA Kids League (KKL) and The Kids League (TKL), Uganda, gave Prince Charles some football lessons when he visited the Nakasero headquarters last Friday.
The Prince of Wales himself, who was here for the Commonwealth Heads of Goverment Meeting (CHOGM) did not disappoint journalists present when he took two penalties against children from IDP camps in northern Uganda.
The following day tabloids in England run stories of Prince Charlesâ€™ visit at The Acorns School in Nakasero, with The Daily Express headline screaming: â€œIs Charles after the England job?â€
The story was in reference to Englandâ€™s search for a new manager for the national team after the sacking of Steve McClaren last week. The Daily Mirror also led with: â€œPrince Charles makes bid for the England jobâ€.
The jovial Prince explained that his sons Princes William and Harry played football fairly regularly. Stories and photos of the royal visit have been shown in other media around the world including Hello magazine, International Herald Tribune and Pravda, the Russian news agency. At Acorns, Prince Charles was briefed on the work undertaken by KKL and TKL.
He met the staff and 20 special boys and girls representing a number of programmes that have been established by TKL in Northern Uganda. In addition, the Prince of Wales met children with disabilities. The KKL programme was started by an Englishman Trevor Dudley 10 years ago.
Trevor says: â€œWe were so proud to show Prince Charles how the programmes have helped to improve the lives of a generation of children, who have grown up surrounded by conflict with all the poverty and disadvantage that this has created.
â€œIt was a very special day for the kids who met the Prince.â€
Prince Charles was impressed with plans for the proposed construction of a $5m (sh8.55bn) National Childrenâ€™s Sports Centre that would give children the opportunity to improve their lives through sport.
The KKL and TKL programme is run by volunteers with mission of using sport to improve the childrenâ€™s lives.
Over 14,000 boys and girls in the age range of 4-14 from over 150 schools, orphanages and street childrenâ€™s organisations have taken part in over 50 soccer, basketball and cricket programmes. The programmeâ€™s success led to requests to extend it countrywide, including northern Uganda where a civil conflict has raged for the last 20 years.
This led to the establishment of a charity called â€˜The Kids Leagueâ€™ in Uganda where Trevor was appointed the Country Director. Dudley is also an Ashoka Fellow since 2003. In the last four years, TKL has established UNICEF-funded programmes in 10 districts in northern Uganda.
The programmes transmit education and health awareness messages. Ex-child soldiers and children traumatised by the conflict have been particular beneficiaries. In the last six years, KKL has prepared teams to compete in 16 top European youth soccer tournaments.
Astonishingly, the team has won 15 of these trophies, including five Gothia World Youth Cup championships held in Sweden. The tournament is the largest in the world.
The team has in turn become the most successful youth outfit in Africa.