We have been running blind football sessions since July 2014. Our volunteers received training from the Royal National College for the Blind and took donated kit and special footballs to Malawi in order to set up a team.
We taught the local PE teachers basic drills and rules, so that football can now continue as a regular timetabled activity for all the visually impaired children.There has been a blind football competition held annually since, which is part of a sports day that also includes races and musical performances.
In 2015 we invited Chigoli, an organisation which promotes grassroots football in Malawi, to help us run a football camp at St Montfort. Their football expertise has helped us to improve the quality of the training sessions and their work with us has been reported on in the South African press.
Malawian journalist and documentary maker Macdonald Nyirenda joined us for our 2018 football camp and produced a 20 minute documentary called ‘The Birth of Blind Football in Malawi’.
After seeing how popular blind football was with the students at St Montfort, we decided to extend the project to other schools in Malawi. In November 2019 we organised a training programme at St Montfort which was attended by staff from seven other schools in the region. They learnt the rules and coaching methods, and were provided with the equipment and kit to enable them to set up their own teams.
Our 2020 visit to Malawi has sadly been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the schools have been sending us photos and videos of the sessions running in our absence. We are looking forward to returning to Malawi next year and would welcome any volunteers who would like to join us.