Hi! My name is H.M Hussein – a 30-year-old British citizen of Somali origin. As a child, I witnessed the horrors of war and was used to seeing guns, warlords and people being killed across the country, just because of their tribe. It left a lasting impact on me and many others around me. In 1999 my family and I fled the civil war in Somalia and settled here in the UK. I’d never even heard of England before we landed, but it soon became my home. I studied sports and participated in sporting activities - mainly football and later joined a local Somali run club in Streatham - Waaberi FC.
The Waaberi FC club hosted a diverse group of young people from all over London. It offered youth football, educational activities and mentoring. We seized any coaching opportunities and promotions arranged by the club and there were always opportunities for us to learn new skills and take part in trips both at home (UK) and abroad.
With all this support, I aspired to become a coach and completed a sports science and exercise course at college. I realised just how much the support and opportunities afforded us by Waaberi FC had a positive impact on me and the whole community.
In 2009 the club was shut down due to funding cuts.
I was part of a group of 30 young men who had benefited from Waaberi FC programmes. Since the club shut down, 5 of those young men have fallen victim to knife crime and 21 have been or still are in prison. All but 4 of us, including me, managed to escape the trappings of crime and gang culture.
Clubs like these are vital to the well-being of our communities.
When I look back on just how easy it is to fall victim to crime and gang violence, I realise - it could’ve been me! And looking ahead, I don't want it to be anyone else!
Having witnessed first-hand, the effects of both civil war in Somalia and gang violence in London, I believe it’s time for change. It is my dream to be an inspiration to our youth and to help them focus on achieving their life goals.
I have taken a step towards providing our youth with an alternative to crime and gang culture, through sports and mentorship. Being involved in sporting activities, and working as part of a team saved me from a life of crime. Sports provides a focus for positive change and at my club - Streatham Academy FC - we work to ensure that our local youth have a safe space to learn and grow through playing football.
STREATHAM ACADEMY FC work with young people from 5 - 25 years old. Our aim is to bring these disadvantaged young people up to a level where they are competing effectively with their peers. Just as importantly, we strive to bring the community together. Unfortunately, without funding we have struggled day to day.
HOW WILL YOUR MONEY HELP?
With your support, we can create a better environment for our members to excel, especially in sports. We intend to hire pitches, buy equipment, provide club uniforms and match kits and participate in a local football league - giving our players a sense of pride and confidence in themselves and the club.
Personal development is a big part of our culture at the club, and with your support we would like to continue giving our volunteers the opportunity to build their skillset, and to help promote some of our senior players to coaches and mentors.
We believe it is our duty and obligation to teach what we have been taught, to be law-abiding citizens and a good human beings – these are our club values imparted to our players, volunteers and members. Each day our club is growing with more and more interest from young people in our community – so please pledge what you can! With your support, I am confident that we can continue the good work!