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Manchester United football coaches train social workers to protect vulnerable children in Viet Nam

Coaches from the Foundation’s Street Reds programme arrived in Ho Chi Minh City this week to lead a three-day intensive football training session for community social workers and vulnerable children.

| by Katie Newton

Manchester United football coaches train social workers to protect vulnerable children in Viet Nam

The training is part of Manchester United’s “United for UNICEF” partnership, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and is the longest running partnership of its kind between a sporting organisation and a global charity.

Manchester United Foundation football coaches have been training Vietnamese social workers to use football as a way to connect and engage marginalised children, paving the way to provide additional vital support.

Foundation CEO John Shiels said, “Manchester United Foundation is thrilled to be here in Viet Nam, working with UNICEF to train local football coaches and social workers with skills to share with vulnerable children.  Football has the power to bring people together and we hope that the skills we leave behind will be used to engage at-risk children, opening the door for them to receive further support,”

In Viet Nam, Manchester United funds UNICEF’s essential work to protect children who are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and neglect. Funding is also used to support orphaned children, those who have been involved in child labour or trafficking, and children who live on the streets or suffer from drug abuse. 

While many children in Ho Chi Min benefit from the city’s economic growth and dynamic urban setting, others—particularly those from migrant families--face poverty, neglect, abuse, exploitation and lack of access to basic social services. It is estimated that more than 70,000 children are in need of special protection in HCMC.

“There are tremendous challenges facing vulnerable children in Viet Nam.” said Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Viet Nam’s Representative, “but Manchester United Foundations support combined with the universal appeal of football helps to increase awareness about these issues and help us reach more children in urgent need.”

This first-ever football workshop will train 10 volunteer coaches from Ho Chi Minh City football clubs and  20 social workers in how to use football as a tool to promote protective behaviours and promote reintegration in the community.

As the programme grows and develops it will engage children with disabilities and will roll out across Viet Nam.

Over the last 15 years, the United for UNICEF partnership has raised over £3.4 million and has helped more than 3.4million vulnerable children worldwide.