The Stieng people are a minority ethnic group who live near the border of Vietnam and at the edge of the province of Kratie, in Cambodia. There are approximately 900 villagers in the three villages. The Stieng people are vastly under-represented and under-funded by their majority Kmer government and, as a result, suffer from poverty, unemployment, and a lack of resources such as clean water, food, education, and medical care. Due to recent changes in weather patterns, the wet season has become shorter and the dry season longer, which adds to the villagers’ long list of barriers. Due to lack of employment and healthy activities young men in these villages often find themselves pulled to the city of Kratie and into the street life and gangs.
In an effort to connect with and empower the youth of Kratie, ICO has partnered with local communities to sponsor youth soccer tournaments. Local leaders have used football as a way to connect with young men between the age of 16-28 and to offer a healthy pro-social recreational activity. ICO is supporting an existing football program by providing footballs, pumps, goal & nets, football team uniforms, and football cleats for players in need and will sponsor at least two football tournaments by paying for food, water, gas and other expenses. Through the power of organized team sports, local youths will gain community, stability, teamwork, and fun.