Manchester City and Etihad Airways team up to empower Young Community Football Leaders in Kolkata

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Kolkata: Manchester City Football Club (Manchester City) and Etihad Airways have joined forces to develop youth leaders from India and around the world, who are tackling social issues in their communities by delivering youth-led football projects.

Returning for its third year, the Cityzens Giving Young Leaders Summit welcomed more than 50 young leaders from Manchester City’s global network of community projects to City’s state of the art training facility, City Football Academy. The week-long programme saw five leaders from Kolkata among the many others from a further 11 other global cities take part in a variety of on and off-the-pitch workshops to develop and enhance their community football leadership and coaching skills.

As the Official Summit Partner, Etihad Airways connected young people from Kolkata to their peers by flying them to Manchester. For several delegates, this was their first experience of international travel.

In Kolkata, Manchester City works with young leaders from Magic Bus India to help deliver their ‘Healthy Goals’ football project to educate children about health, sanitation, and how to access clean water.

India is a rising nation with declining poverty, but over 60% of people lack adequate sanitation. M.D Salim, from Kolkata, attended the Summit with other young leaders helping step up to make a change.

“In my community there’s an environmental problem,” he said.

“This means that some kids swim in polluted canals, drink dirty water, and are at risk of disease. Through football we will bring them together and teach them about how to live a healthy life and how to access clean water. We want to change their habits and save lives.

“This week has provided me with new experiences and I’ve learnt a lot about my leadership style and how to communicate better with people. My favourite moment from the Summit was delivering the football festival to local children. I was a little bit nervous before the festival but we worked together as a team and everyone played their role in making the day a fantastic success.”

Salim was joined by fellow leaders Mehtab Alam, Payal Gupta, Parvati Pujari and Pinky Yadav – all from Magic Bus in Kolkata.

Sixteen returning leaders from Manchester, New York, Melbourne, Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur, Barranquilla, Kolkata and São Paulo co-delivered the Summit to their peers and new leaders from projects in Beijing, Bandung (Indonesia), Mexico City and Abu Dhabi.

The delegates, aged between 16-30 years old, are currently delivering community football projects addressing a range of issues affecting young people, including gang crime, substance abuse, HIV / AIDS, obesity and creating safe spaces for children to play football.

Omar Berrada, Chief Operating Officer for Manchester City FC commented:

“We are extremely proud that our community footprint continues to grow and develop every year – both locally where City Football Group has Clubs in Manchester, New York City and Melbourne but also globally. This summit epitomises the power of football to change lives and we’re delighted to be working with Etihad Airways to connect the young leaders together.

“We’ve brought young leaders from different backgrounds, speaking a number of different languages and yet they all share a common goal – to make a difference through football. Using our community philosophy and years of experience, we are equipping the young leaders with the tools they need to go out and deliver life changing projects in their communities.”

Patrick Pierce, Vice President, Marketing Partnerships at Etihad Airways said:

“Etihad Airways has a duty to contribute to communities around the world. By flying delegates into Manchester for Cityzens Giving Young Leader Summit, we are honoured to connect young people who seek to address complex social issues in their home cities. This is another powerful example of using the medium of football to lift young people out of trouble, into safety and on the path to a more stable and prosperous future.”

The week also saw leadership master classes from Club experts including members from City Football Group’s Leadership Team as well as more practical sessions on event and project management, safeguarding and monitoring and evaluation.

On the final day, leaders put all their newly found knowledge and experience into practice as they organised and delivered two highly successful football festivals for 240 local school children and Manchester City fans.