Ghana Football Project - Billa
Hi, I’m Lee Kellett, In January 2011 I co-founded The Ghana Football Project to combat the issue of human trafficking within soccer in Ghana by raising awareness of the issue and strengthening the legal academies. Over the last 6 years running the project I have worked with incredible people - but not many come more inspiring then Billa Mahmud from the Future Leaders Underprivileged Children's Center in Accra, Ghana. A fearless leader in ensuring the mission of the GFP is fulfilled within his soccer academy, when unexpectedly Billa tragically passed away in December 2016, we were truly heartbroken.
The Inspiring Leader
Billa Mahmud was a family man and an advocate for education providing over 190 children with free schooling through his center. To be a part of one of his largely sought-after soccer teams, 100% attendance in school was a must. Day in and day out Billa dedicated his time and money to give children and teens the opportunity to develop into a professional players while reinforcing the importance of an education. With the financial and coaching support of GFP, Billa was able motivate and develop players into role models for the community. In 2016 one of the graduates Bernard Tekpetey was called up to the Ghana national team. This goes to show that not only is the soccer field in the heart and soul of Accra, but Billa was too.
On Jan 28th I will be traveling to Ghana to help put sustainable plans in place for the soccer program to continue after the passing of Billa. I will be educating and supporting the programs coaches to ensure the great work Billa did carries on and continue to raise awareness of human trafficking in soccer. To keep Billa's legacy alive, I need your help.
To hire replacement staff and assist in the yearly costs of running a successful soccer program, your donations will help pay for:
-$1000 for teams yearly registration fees
-$800 for a full set of team uniforms
-$600 for teams yearly referee fees
-$600 for the coaches monthly wages including hiring new staff
-$500 for food and water pre and post games
-$500 for yearly field maintenance
-$400 for 24 soccer balls
-$250 for a teams yearly transport to games
-$100 for a players housing
-$60 for 100 training cones
-$50 for a pair of soccer cleats
-$30 for soccer pinnies
-$15 for a soccer ball
Cheers to the beautiful game and Billa’s legacy. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Meda ase (thank you)
Co-Founder of Ghana Football Project
Director of Youth Soccer at Sporting Club Gjoa
Honored Friend of Billa Mahmud
For more infomation on GFP and Billa please keep scrolling down. Once again thank you for your donations!
Ghana Football Project is a registered charity in Ghana. Future Leaders UCC is a registered charity in Ghana and the UK. All donations from this gofundme page will be withdrawn by Lee Kellett and allocated to the UCC in Ghana.
Billa Mahmud, founder of Future Leaders UCC in Ghana, was a visionary man who felt passionately about changing the lives of children for the better. Born and raised in a small town just outside of Accra, he knew poverty and it's affects first hand. Recognising the need for change he started teaching children, who were not in any form of education, basic Maths and English underneath a mango tree. Billa understood how to engage children and inspire them to learn and change their own destiny. The project grew organically over the next 18 years to what it is today; a school of 196 children with many more in Junior HIgh and Senior HIgh education. He also set up football teams for different age groups to encourage positive behaviour and team work and recognised the need to help families in setting up small businesses. His good will, generosity and ambition to make a difference spread far and wide and touched so many people's lives in his short time on Earth. Shortly before he died, Billa saw the beginnings of his dream come true in the form of a permanent school structure. This school will make a difference to hundreds more childrens' lives and will be a lasting legacy of his work. Please help us to continue Billa's legacy by donating whatever you can.
Ghana Football Project:
Ghana Football Project was established in January 2011 by 2 UEFA-qualified football coaches from Preston, Lancashire. The project aims to spread awareness of and combat the issue of illegal academies that cause human trafficking. Such academies lure players abroad under the promise of a trial with a professional club - a trial that never exists. Talented youngsters are then stranded with little hope of a future.
Ghana Football Project aims to help safe, legal academies one at a time to gather all the necessary support in order to generate a sustainable income and become self-sufficient. The project works to improve the standard of youth football in Ghana and to combat the issue of illegal academes and corrupt agencies, by providing and assisting in the provision of education, training and equipment necessary for progress within the sport. We also aim to raise awareness of the issue of illegal academies and the destruction that they can cause.
I started off my recent trip to Accra, Ghana, by attended the funeral service for my late friend Billa Mahmud, at the local mosque in Labadi. It was amazing to see so many people from all around the world come together to celebrate the life of the inspiring Billa Mahmud. The service had one clear message: regardless of your religious beliefs or where in the world you are from, we were all there because Billa was a truly good person who helped local children to improve their lives and inspired us all to be better people.
The day after the funeral, the work started as we put plans into place for the future of the Future Leaders Underprivileged Children's Center. For the first time, many of the volunteers from around the world who help support the UCC had a chance to come together in one room and discuss the future with the amazing Phyllis Ntow, who is Billa’s widow. Phyllis has stepped up to take the lead at the UCC, and through a difficult time she has done an unbelievable job and showing great passion and drive to keep Billa’s legacy alive.
The football program looked to be the most vulnerable aspect of the UCC. We needed to find ways to make the football program financially sustainable and to find a replacement to manage the club. The biggest success story of the football program is Bernard Tekpetey. Bernard is a Ghana national team player who currently plays for Schalke 04 in Germany. When Schalke purchased Bernard from UniStar for 50,000 euros, Billa was due to receive 50% in a sell-on fee but UniStar refused to pay it. Billa started to hire a lawyer just before he passed away. Using the money donated by you, we have now paid for a lawyer and fully expect to receive the money within the coming months. This money, along with the rest of your generous donations, will help to sustain the football program for the next couple of years. Ghana Football Project is going to continue to help sponsor the program through fundraising and volunteers. Bringing in volunteer coaches to visit the club can help in many ways, from donating equipment, helping educate the local coaches & players, to raising funds to sustain the club’s future.
One area of concern for the football program is its leadership. Phyllis openly admitted that while she knows about a lot of things, football was not one of them. We decided to create a advisory board that the Ghana Football Project would be on to help guide the football program. Using our expertise in running football clubs we are able to support Phyllis and the local coaches. One of our first decisions was to look into hiring a new Director of Football to manage the day-to-day running of the club. I had the chance to interview a potential candidate and we hope to have him in place within the next month.
I had the opportunity to have productive talks with each coach at the club. I helped support them in their preparations for the upcoming season and provided them with equipment and kit donated by various youth teams in USA and England. I got to watch the senior team play in a couple of games and - as it usually does - it amazed me how the very talented players can play so well on such a difficult surface. I saw some great goals scored during the games with the occasional taxi driving through the field bringing everything to a temporary halt, although they do carry on playing if a chicken or goat invades the pitch.
As I write this short report, I feel so much better about the future of the UCC football program and I truly believe we will keep Billa’s legacy alive. None of it could have been done without your kind and generous donations, so I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You have already made a difference and I look forward to your continued support. Meda Ase, thank you!
Co-Found of the Ghana Football Project
Follow us @ www.facebook.com/ghanafootballproject
Through daily communication with the staff and coaches at Future Leaders UCC, our plans and goals are taking shape. As a team we are proud to help maintain the soccer program’s progress and continue to develop the the youth in Accra.
For regular updates and to learn more about GFP please like and visit: https://www.facebook.com/ghanafootballproject/