Sreyni: a campaign for life!
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Can you imagine travelling to Europe for the first time not knowing what you are going to do and spend one month living with a bunch of people who don’t speak your language, don’t have the same culture and don’t even eat the same food like you do?
I am Sreyni and I’m 20 years old, I’m from Cambodia and this summer I went to Czech Republic to visit Fotbal pro Rozvoj as a young leader from Football for Life in Phnom Penh. To be honest, I did not know what I’m going to do in the Czech Republic, all I knew was that I would spend one month there and learn something about football and workshops for youth. I was not sure what it would really be about.
I was so nervous and scared because I have never been outside Cambodia before and to fly to Europe on your own wasn’t something fun at all. But things turned out to be better when I got to meet all the ambassadors. I met Richie and Zoila from Colombia, Salim from Germany, Thomas from France and Roman and Marketa from Czech Republic. I also had the opportunity to meet the leaders Ansley, Stepan and Sonia who were the greatest and the most amazing people ever. I can say now that those people have changed my life completely. I gathered so much experience and skills such as team work, communications and cooperation, football drills and skills, workshops, football 3 and mediation. I also learnt how to live together as a family even though we came from different parts of the world and become a youth leader.
We spent our first week together in Lanskroun learning about football drills, workshops, football3 and some lessons about youth leadership. Then, the real campaign rolled out as we started our first workshop and action day in Ostrava then Olomouc, Prague, Usti, Hartenberg and Plzen. One of the best moments I enjoyed was when we did the tournament in Usti. I remember being so happy because I had the opportunity to play football and played some fun games with the kids there. In Ostrava at our first action day, I felt a bit nervous but excited at the same time because it was my first time being a mediator. It was very difficult for me to be able to communicate with the teams but as I started to get used to it, I found it more enjoyable and it helped me a lot in solving conflicts and making the game more interesting. It was such an amazing time and incredible experience for me as I got to meet a lot of fantastic people and worked with those lovely children who were all very nice and friendly, and I had so much fun getting to know them and spending time with them. We finished in Nezichov where we did our final evaluation and spent our last moment together.
Naturally I have to say there was also some more challenging time. It was pretty difficult for me to be able to adapt myself with people from different countries because I have never done this before. But once we got to spend more and more time together, I felt like home and those people were like my family because all they did was show me love, kindness, caring and they were all very supportive. As we shared all the daily activities together, eating, cooking, cleaning, sleeping and travelling, we grew as one family even though we did not understand each other sometimes, our friendship was priceless and every moment was a memory for us.
I enjoyed every second that I spent with those other young leaders. One of the best moments was when we played a friendly match against a local village team close to Hamersky Domek. Everyone played as one team and we had Marek the photographers, as our number one coach who helped us win the match with his tactical vision. Another one was when we discovered a room full of toy guns at the accommodation in Ostrava, and just started shooting at each other like kids, and we almost killed Ansley because there were too many of us going against him. One month was like a minute for me and there was never a time when I would want to leave them, but time has its limit. I’m so grateful for those people who have walked through this journey with me and helped make this campaign even more special. Thus, I would like to say thank you to everyone who are behind this project. Without this project I wouldn’t have met all these incredible people who have positively impacted my life as we lived as a family, worked as a team and supported each other like brothers and sisters.
I believe through football, you can bring people together and unite as one. We all believe in a better world and I can testimony that football is a great tool to achieve this. Football can and is a great way to educate young people and develop their life skills. Finally, this campaign was also an extraordinary experience to bring young leaders together and empower them.
I would like to also give some advice to young adults out there to never stop dreaming because nothing is impossible. This world is for you. Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, as once you get one step further you will see how this world is much more than what you imagined it was.