2016: The Year in Fairplay

2016 has been a challenging year for many of us. But scratch below the surface and there’s still so much to be grateful for. Think back on the year and ask yourself, what are you grateful for from 2016?

So as 2016 draws to a close and we look ahead to 2017, we want to say thank you to each and every one of you for sharing in our successes. Your contribution have helped us support the families we work with in Payatas. For those of you not yet familiar with Fairplay, check out our latest quick video showing what we’re about.

And now, let’s take a quick overview of the year to see just what we’ve achieved in 2016.

Fairplay Café

The Fairplay Café has had a big year. At the outset, the renovation of the Café meant that we had more room and equipment for food preparation, cooking, and serving. This came courtesy of support from William Hill. Soon after, the team for the year was complete, with the nanays Rowena, Teresa, Vicky, and Joan. Jepoy, a fresh graduate from Ateneo, joined the team towards the end of the year with him supporting the management and organisation of the Café.

The result of the renovation is that the team is now capable of cooking for hundreds of people at once. We’re able to cater outside of Payatas now and catered to several events at the end of the year.

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Fairplay School

The Fairplay Center has made real strives in 2016. What originally started as a drop-in center to get to know kids in the area has now become a fully functioning alternative school. Most school kids in Payatas are crammed into classrooms of 50 to 80 kids. The best teacher in the world can’t cope with this, in a tiny space, with no textbooks and limited teaching resources (if any). On top of all that, public schools in the area keep charging extra for different things, with kids’ grades boosted by participation in ‘non-compulsory’ outings and the like, and families can’t afford it. So more and more are dropping out.

This is why we created an alternative school that would exist for the benefit of the kids. With Democratic Education at the heart of its philosophy – students discuss and vote on how the school is run – there have been huge leaps in the emotional, social, and academic development of our full-time students. It’s been a lot of hard work, but the core team are now in place and throughout 2016 May, Angel, Argie, and our new teacher Mon helped to mentor the kids at each level.

2017 will be a big year for consolidating on this progress and finishing the registration process. Two of our teachers are scheduled in early 2017 to complete the ALS teaching course to be licensed as mobile teachers, which will allow them to teach and take the kids to the Equivalency Tests (essentially Elementary and High School Diplomas for kids who dropped out of school). So while we prepare them for higher education through the growth mindset, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, they’ll have formal qualifications too.

Our biggest supporter of the year was the Silver Star Century Group who funded the renovation of the Center in the first place. And  now developing further with that we can move from the Fairplay Center to the Fairplay School; a happier, more effective learning environment.

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Payatas Sports Center

And lastly the biggest accomplishment of the year (in terms of size) was opening the Payatas Sports Center. The first futsal court was completed with plans already laid out for the second court with bleachers, changing rooms, and a small office.

Kids are training there every day with 100 regular football players doubling pretty much immediately to 200 kids. It’s been great to see a whole host of new players join in. Over the course of the year, also, a group of trespassing volleyballers (who used to run away whenever we’d walk up to the Sports Center) were able to set up a meeting with Fairplay and work out a schedule so they could practice. In exchange, they teach the younger kids too. Always nice to turn people into friends and allies, while expanding the number of sports on offer.

A huge thank you particularly to StraightArrow, a creative and marketing company, and the DTSI Group, who helped us purchase the land; and Bootcamp, Ortigas & Co. and the Australian Embassy in the Philippines, who helped us construct the court itself.

Before the court, we created the Metro Manila Futsal League (MMFL) with Dream Big Pilipinas and Gawad Kalinga. There aren’t many youth leagues available to Community Clubs, and tiring of the Festival Syndrome with the win-at-all-costs mentality it creates, we made a youth league that was run for the kids to develop. Not to win, not to compete at all costs, but instead to have fun, to enjoy the game, and to grow. The MMFL has special rules, scores aren’t recorded to disincentive blowouts (results are listed win, loss, draw) and if a team gets too far ahead they remove a player to balance the teams. With 31 teams competing from across the whole of Metro Manila (and slightly beyond) in U12s and U16s age groups, the first season of the MMFL was a great success. It was a tough and humbling experience that allowed us to learn from mistakes and grow together as a team. We’re very much looking forward to Season 2 in early 2017, when we’ll host U12, U14, and U16 age groups in the North and South.

And towards the end of the year Fairplay hosted the Pinay Community League too at the Payatas Sports Center. Again with the support of Dream Big Pilipinas, six U17 girls teams joined in the fun and played a league over 3 weeks (2 games per matchday). The Pinay Community League was a pilot to test of how much interest in a girls division of the Metro Manila Futsal League there would be. And with a successful season, we’re ready to expand to North and South divisions for U14 and U17 Girls Leagues in 2017. This will come after Season 2 of the Metro Manila Futsal League.

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As the year draws to a close, then, there’s so much to be grateful for. It’s been a year of excitement, heartbreak, tough decisions, tough lessons, and big questions. More than anything, though, it has a been a great year for the Fairplay team.

So we’d love to hear from you so write your comments below at the end of the post and let’s celebrate together the good things from this year 🙂 and share Fairplay with your friends and family too.

Next Up: What are we Looking Forward to in 2017? And How Can You Get Involved?

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