Who We Are: Our Core Values
- We are lifelong learners
- We innovate and improve what’s around us
- We show we care
At Fairplay, we love to learn. We love to explore new things and gain deeper knowledge where we already are. We care about the people around us and about our community. And we always want to improve the situation and make sure with everything we do things are better this week than they were last. We want to see progress.
Our mission is to level the playing field. This means creating a safe environment for the children and families we work with. This means developing holistic, innovative, and sustainable projects in education, sports, and nutrition. And finally, this also means empowering the community by ensuring they are part of the decision-making process and organisation of each project, in order to identify the root cause of the problem and break the cycle of poverty for good.
Our vision: a level playing field that allows children and families a better chance to succeed in life and break the cycle of poverty for good. This is an empowered community that cares for each other and strives to learn and develop.
Theory of Change
At Fairplay, we understand breaking the cycle of poverty needs many areas of support and development to accomplish. It is necessary to break the barriers that currently sustain the cycle of poverty, and therefore create a path out of poverty, but also that a lot of support is needed for people to continue on that path. It is not a sprint, but a marathon.
One area of support or development is typically is not enough to break the cycle. We need to level the entire playing field for our community to have a chance. From others’ research and experience (Pathways to Education), as well as our own, we identify four pillars for breaking the cycle of poverty in a community:
- Financial incentives
- Social support
- Academic support
- Counselling (guidance/mentoring)
Each of our projects works in a particular areas of these to provide a pathway out of poverty. Each of these areas complements and supports each other in creating that path out of poverty.
Our educational scholarships provide the financial incentives to continue studying, while our scholars can also earn an allowance by coaching in our Sports Center, cooking in our Cafe, or tutoring in our Youth Center. Social support is also furthered in our youth groups and sports teams. The Youth Center’s tutorials provide an additional support for the students’ academics, and the EQ Club and sports teams provide the base for better mental health.
With a holistic program, focused on these four pillars, our scholars have a chance.
A Deeper Problem
Creating a pathway out of poverty does not guarantee someone will take that road. To support people once those opportunities have been created, we needed to understand the risk factors involved. Why would one child enthusiastically and quickly take that path while another seemed to self-sabotage?
We found, through research and our experience, that the root cause of many of the stumbling blocks, such as addiction, crime, depression, teen pregnancy, and more, lies a great deal in childhood trauma. The adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) study is one of the best examples of quantifying childhood trauma and understand it’s impacts on physical and mental health. People who had experienced 4 or more of the 10 types of trauma surveyed had 2-3x the rate of heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and other physical health problems. They were 4 times more likely to suffer from depression and 16 times more likely to attempt suicide.
Our own research has found that while 1 in 8 people reported an ACE score of 4 more more in the original study (Felitti et al., 1998), 7 in 8 of our kids reported a score of 4 or more. Over half of the 100 kids we surveyed reported an ACE score of 6 or more, categorised as ‘severe childhood trauma’. The impact of this severe childhood trauma reduces life expectancy by almost 20 years (Felitti, 1998).
Research has provided 6 key areas that reverse the impact of childhood trauma (Burke Harris, 2018):
- Good sleep
- Good nutrition
- Good exercise
- Mental health support
- Social support
Each of our projects therefore aims to work in reversing childhood trauma by providing support in these key areas. Furthermore, as others found, the biggest support mechanism for a child is a healthy adult role model, a buffering adult or always available adult (Hughes et al., 2017).
Our sports programs, youth center, and social business therefore each provide the basic necessities for giving a child a chance at reversing their childhood trauma. Our mentors at the Youth Center and Coaches at the Sports Center are also trained in understanding how important their care is for the families we work with. For some of our scholars, they act as the buffering adult, the caring role model and mentor. For others, they are an additional support system.
Over time, the older students start to replace our staff members and become role models and mentors themselves, ensuring a more virtuous cycle to replace the past vicious cycle. Our process and execution is not perfect, but we believe we are learning and improving each year. For more information, contact us using the details on this website.