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Inspired Kicks: Eric from Ivory Coast

My name is Eric, I’m 13 years old and I am in my second year of high school. I live with my mother in Bondoukou in the North East of the Ivory Coast. In Bondoukou, many of my friends were never registered at birth and don’t go to school, especially the girls.
UNICEF and the Football Federation of the Ivory Coast organized a soccer tournament from May 12 to 16 for boys and girls aged between seven and seventeen years here at Bondoukou and Odienne called “Right to Score” (“Droit O But”). We played soccer with 300 children and in doing so, sent a message to adults to respect our rights.
My team was called “The Unregistered Children” but didn’t win because of our goalkeeper. We still enjoyed ourselves though and I had the opportunity to tell parents that they should register their children at birth at the mayor’s office and to enroll them at school.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup-the largest and most spectacular sports event- will come to an end this Sunday. As the World Cup played for the first time on the African continent and six African teams competed, the enduring legacy of this global event will continue to live for children in Africa in more ways than one. UNICEF played the game too: promoting greater awareness and strengthened child protection systems (The Red Card Campaign); advocating  healthy lifestyles and HIV prevention through sports (Sports for Development programs); and harnessing technology  to inspire youth even in the remotest villages (World Cup in My Village initiative).

Here is the last in our series of Inspired Kicks profiles:

My name is Eric, I’m 13 years old and I am in my second year of high school. I live with my mother in Bondoukou in the North East of the Ivory Coast. In Bondoukou, many of my friends were never registered at birth and don’t go to school, especially the girls.

In Ivory Coast children used soccer to tell adults to register child births and respect children's right to an education.
UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire/2010
Eric (holding board) with his Team- “The Unregistered Children.”

Those classmates of mine who do not have an official birth certificate are not allowed to sit for the Primary Education Certificate in July. As a special example during one single inspection of the Primary School at Bondoukou, more than ten thousand boys and girls were not allowed to sit the Primary Certificate exam because they could not provide a copy of their birth certificate.

UNICEF and the Football Federation of the Ivory Coast organized a soccer tournament from May 12 to 16  for boys and girls aged between seven and seventeen years here at Bondoukou and Odienne called “Right to Score” (“Droit O But”). We played soccer with 300 children and in doing so, sent a message to adults to respect our rights. We did sketches, wrote poems and sang songs.

My team was called “The Unregistered Children.” We didn’t win but we still enjoyed ourselves though and I had the opportunity to tell parents that they should register their children at birth at the mayor’s office and to enroll them at school.

I would love if all my friends from my class could follow the school curriculum like I do.

You can help UNICEF continue to use sports to inspire children like Eric in Ivory Coast, Tshepo in South Africa, Ander in Honduras and in more than 100 other countries by purchasing a durable leather soccer ball, complete with pump for just $31 through UNICEF Inspired Gifts.  

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