Press Release

120 vulnerable children from Ho Chi Minh City play football to END violence against children

04 March 2017

  • Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam), 4 March, 2017 – 120 marginalized and abused children from Ho Chi Minh City will gather this weekend to play in the Fun Football Festival, to promote the positive impact of sport on vulnerable children.

The festival, organized by Ho Chi Minh City Social Work Service Center and UNICEF and supported by Manchester United promotes positive values, equips vulnerable children with fundamental social skills, and thereby contribute to the prevention and response to child abuse, violence, and exploitation as well as children in conflict with the law.

Manchester United, through the United for UNICEF partnership have supported UNICEF's work in Viet Nam since 2014, supporting the Ho Chi Minh City Social Work Service Center for Children to run two community football clubs for vulnerable children. The children from both clubs will be taking part in this weekend's festival.

The football clubs are connected directly to the UNICEF-supported community-based child protection systems in District 1 and Binh Thanh District, and are designed to tap into the country's passion for football to address the needs of marginalized and abused children.

Manchester United Foundation CEO, John Shiels and coaches from the Foundation's "Street Reds" programme visited Ho Chi Minh City in 2015 to deliver an intensive football training session for community social workers and coaches on skills to connect and engage with marginalized children. The trainees also learned about life skills education techniques on topics such as substance misuse, smoking cessation, sexual health, and protection from abuse and violence. Further training has also been conducted to build the capacity for football coaches and youth outreach workers in managing the pilot clubs, integrating life skills in football activities.

The two clubs run twice per month in District 1 and Binh Thanh District. They initially involved approximately 80 vulnerable children but the number grew rapidly to 120. The Social Work Service Center for Children expanded the pilot to include children with disabilities living in Thi Nghe Social Protection Center and the Vocational Training Center for Youth. It is hoped that through demonstrating positive impacts in the lives of marginalized and abused children, city officials will be encouraged to expand the pilot to reach all vulnerable children across HCMC, including children in conflict with the law.

Manchester United funds UNICEF's essential work in Viet Nam to protect children who are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and neglect. Funding is also used to support orphaned children, those who have been involved in child labour or trafficking, and children who live on the streets or suffer from drug abuse. In addition to the football club, the partnership has helped train 160 social welfare managers to identify children at-risk and 400 community based social workers on child protection.

The Fun Football Festival is a gathering of 12 teams that will take place on Saturday, 4th March from 8AM to 12PM at the Tao Dan stadium in Ho Chi Minh City (District 1).

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About United for UNICEF

Manchester United and UNICEF have been in partnership for 17 years, working to create a better world for children. Since the partnership began, United for UNICEF has raised has raised more than £4m and helped over 3.4 million children globally.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

Manchester United

Manchester United is one of the most popular and successful sports teams in the world, playing one of the most popular spectator sports on Earth. Through our 138-year heritage we have won 64 trophies, enabling us to develop the world's leading sports brand and a global community of 659 million followers. Our large, passionate community provides Manchester United with a worldwide platform to generate significant revenue from multiple sources, including sponsorship, merchandising, product licensing, new media & mobile, broadcasting and match day.

Manchester United Foundation

Manchester United Foundation uses football to engage and inspire young people to build a better life for themselves and unite the communities in which they live. Dedicated staff deliver football coaching, educational programmes and personal development, providing young people with opportunities to change their lives for the better. Find out more:

Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong

Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong

Communications Specialist

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Children’s Fund

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