The Football Unlimited Netherlands (FUN) Foundation was founded in 2013 by Ron Brouwer, current chairman of the foundation. Working as a representative in foreign countries he was confronted with terrible poverty for the first time – the motive for action. Through Maarten Bax, former secretary of the FUN Foundation, Ron stumbled upon the village of Aljamdu in Gambia. At the time, Maarten was supporting a Gambian boy from Aljamdu named Omar Kanteh. Aljamdu lies within one of the poorest regions in Gambia and with that in the world. Ron and Maarten realised that not only Omar was in need of backing, but the entire community of Aljamdu.
Upon the arrival of our new secretary and ambassador Irene de Jong in 2018, new energy was blown into the foundation and a goal-oriented approach to finding new ways to conclude our mission was introduced. The construction plans for the school were expanded to contain a kitchen, water well and solar panels. Cooperation was sought with ‘Musa Saidy’ from the Gambian AYA foundation as well as various charity organisations such as ‘Wilde Ganzen’ and ‘Join the Pipe’.
As an experienced football trainer, Ron decided to utilise the game as a tool to distract from poverty. Initially with a train-the-trainer program, to create fun football trainings for underprivileged children. With the help of Dutch middle-class households, sportswear was collected for the youth to take part in trainings. The game brought the people of Aljamdu loads of fun and resilience too. Following conversations with the locals, it seemed that the people’s needs lied elsewhere. Young children almost never had the opportunity to go to school.
These Insights are what elevated the FUN Foundation to what is today. Six years ago we started educating trainers, giving trainings and supplying attire and materials that were missing. Today, we aspire to build a primary school fully equipped with solar panels, a water well and a kitchen, all encircled by a wall around the premises.