Milton Keynes College students helping children from troubled Brazilian city at the Football World Cup

Tue 01 Jul 2014

Three Milton Keynes College students have just returned from the World Cup in Brazil having been hand-picked to give football coaching to homeless children a stone’s throw from one of the tournament venues.  

The trip, organised by British Charity Lionsraw, was to one of the host cities, Curitiba. The charity aims to mobilise passionate football fans from the UK to volunteer their time and money in order to make a difference to the lives of young people locally and globally through football.  They are bringing fun and football to children whose lives are brutalised by local drugs gangs.  In the past two years, sixteen young people who were associated with the group have been shot by rival criminals while working as drug runners.

Vicky Ashley, 18, Sabrina Crook 18 and Jason Pinnock, 21 were chosen for the once in a lifetime trip because of their commitment to their course (Level 3 Sports and Exercise Science), their passion for football and for their volunteering in extracurricular activities.  All three have previously been involved with the sports charity, Streetgames, working within their Football Fives and “US GIRLS” programme, the latter helping to promote sports to females.

Sabrina and Vicky have appeared in a video posted by the charity from Brazil showing them at work ( ).  Sabrina says, “We just get the most we can out of the whole experience.  Talking to the other coaches as well, everyone was buzzing.  It’s such a great experience to try to help the community and bring the kids and get them off the streets and into this.  I just love the kids’ respect for you.  They don’t know us but they listen and they just hang on every word.”

Vicky added, “Not only that but you get to pick up from other people’s coaching techniques and styles and you get to learn more stuff about yourself as a coach.”

The students were chosen to join a bigger group of fifteen students from other colleges in the UK to work alongside the city’s football teams as ambassadors of Lionsraw to deliver coaching projects.

The group was set up in Brazil by local man, Gil Ceu who in an emotional interview said, “I feel very happy and I thank God because the kids enjoy the attention they receive from the volunteers.  They are a lot happier; it’s a new hope for these children.  They now want to learn English, travel to England or study abroad.  So they no longer dream about violence or sad things.  Their lives are sad.  They only have drugs, violence and death.  Now they want to learn a new language, study and be somebody in life.  This is very important to them.”

Ollie Jordan, Sports Development Manager at Milton Keynes College, explains, “This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to develop their skills in a hands-on setting. We strive to give our students excellent opportunities both inside and outside the classroom which will enhance their career options.” Ollie went on to explain, “We are always open to new initiatives, and we aim big. We are excited to build upon our partnership with Streetgames in the future and we hope this will be the first of more international sporting opportunities.” 

The students help and support for the Brazilian children won’t end on their return.  They already have a range of fundraising activities planned including an evening of belly dancing and a mini-football tournament with players representing different nations.

If you are interested in following the students’ trip to Brazil, please follow @MKC_sport and @MKCollege. To find out more information about the Lionsraw Legacy trip, please visit If you would like to learn more about the sports courses available at Milton Keynes College, please visit, or call 01908 684444.

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