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For this group, all it takes for one to succeed is to have a dream—and to be ready to kick some ball.
Dream Big Pilipinas, founded by Pitong Pinoy finalist Miguel Bermundo, has a simple but lofty goal: to make underprivileged kids take a chance at a better life thru playing football.
“We want kids to address the dream, to have dreams. Without the big dream, you can't transform your life” Bermundo told Yahoo! Southeast Asia. Bermundo, a football coach, initially started teaching two poor kids for recreation until the number of his students grew. After a year, Bermundo continued teaching children for free, on the condition that if they want to play football, they have to go to school.
“Maganda yung naging change [The change was good]. There was discipline and they learned long term planning. Now we’re about 300 kids from two, and we are now tapping different communities,” Bermudo said.
"There was behavioral change, as well as changes in their parents. They stay in school and after that, they’re not supposed to work. We say no to child labor. So should they follow the program as designed, then we can get them a scholarship and eventually we break the cycle of poverty,” said Bermundo.
Underprivileged kids who have proven their sports skills also get a living out of football by teaching fortunate kids. Bermundo, a licensed FIFA football coach, has trained teens not just to play, but also to coach and mentor others.
“The proceeds go directly back to the program,” he added.
Bermudo notes that unlike other scholarship programs, the Dream Big Pilipinas scholarship program is not just for the academically gifted.
“As long as they have a desire, they will keep up; Let us give them a chance because these kids are educated in public schools, often with unconducive learning environments like having 60 students in a class, limited school resources, among others. Now, some of the kids are actually doing very well. Because of behavior change, they’re not shy to ask questions anymore,” he added, noting that three scholars were recently admitted to an international school in Pasig.
The foundation is also discovering new sports talents.
In fact, Dream Big has sent kids to major football tournaments and festivals, and is gearing up to send kids to the Homeless World Cup Football Tournament when they come of age.
“It completes my circle of ages. And the young ones now see that dream to be part of a professional league,” he added.
Before he went coaching full time, Bermundo had a nice-paying job in advertising.
“It was fun but may kulang e [but it lacked something]. I really wanted to teach children so I took the leap and quit my job,” said Bermundo.
Read more about the Pitong Pinoy Finalists here.