SipaG is a youth leadership program that was developed by the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation (GK). GK is a Filipino non-profit foundation that has developed over 3,000 communities across the Philippines through holistic programs in shelter, health, livelihood, youth development, and social entrepreneurship.
SipaG is one of the pioneering programs in the Philippines that uses football, street football, and futsal for social impact in marginalized communities. Although SipaG is not limited to just one sport, football and its many modalities is the medium of choice because it is a gender neutral team sport in the Philippines.
Initially starting in GK areas, the SipaG program now collaborates and works with other foundations, communities, and schools across the country.
The SipaG Academy (SipaG) is a program started in the Philippines by the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation (GK) to initially help complement GK's child and youth development efforts. Founded in 2005 as "Gawad Kalinga Football", SipaG is now present in all 3 major island regions in the Philippines. SipaG works with GK communities, non GK communities, and public schools to address a number of social issues affecting marginalized and at-risk Filipino youth.
Over the years, SipaG has worked with organizations and groups such as the Asian Football Confederation, Coaches Across Continents, the Philippine Football Federation, the Department of Education, and various private sector groups in using the power of football to make a positive impact on Filipino youth.
Stories of Hope
Princess is a 13 year-old girl who used the lessons that she learned in football and in SipaG to set and pursue ambitious dreams.
In 2017, she was selected out of hundreds of Filipino aspirants to attend the FC Barcelona Escola training program that was held in Malaysia. At that camp she was chosen as one of two participants to attend the FC Barcelona Escola training program in Barcelona, Spain, besting hundreds of aspiring hopefuls in the Asian region.
In 2018, Princess applied to the prestigious Filipino Scholars Program of the International School of Manila (ISM), one of he country's top private schools. Out of hundreds of applicants to the scholarship program, Princess secured one of two available full academic scholarships. She is now studying at the school and playing for ISM's football team.
Like many of the previous scholars before her at ISM, Princess dreams of pursuing a full scholarship at an Ivy League university in order to study and become an engineer.
Chester started in the GK SipaG program as a player and coach at the age of 15. He wanted to be a role model for others so as a teenager he dreamed of becoming a football coach and was the first program beneficiary to take and pass the Asian Football Confederation C-License Coaching Course.
Today, Chester is doing well serving as a Coaches Across Continents (CAC) Social Impact Coach, Kaya Academy Coach and now Head Coach and lead community trainer for GK SipaG. He also mentors up and coming coaches from the leadership program.
Chester aspires to be a National Team coach, travel to other countries, and to continue to empower children through football.
Zarah is a beneficiary of the program, emerging as an empowered woman youth leader at an early age. As a teenager she was instrumental in forming the first GK girls team that she played on and eventually coached.
She is a champion futsal coach, tournament organizer, league commisioner and referee. She also serves as a life coach and mentor to many of the girls and upcoming women leaders in the program. Zarah also trains other younger youth leaders to become future referees and officials.
Zarah's dream is to become a school teacher and she is on her way towards completing her education degree and becoming a licensed teacher. She also recently passed the Philippine Football Federation's Level 1 Futsal Referee Licensing Course as she also aspires to one day be a FIFA referee.
Kevin started in the SipaG program when he was 7 years old. Like many youth who grow up in the slums, out of necessity he was asked by his parents to drop out of school at Grade 1. He was performing poorly in school and his parents felt he had no future in academics and in football.
With the help and guidance of youth coaches and leaders from his community, Kevin started focusing on football where many noticed he had a great talent. Kevin was convinced by his coaches to enroll in school as a prerequisite to play football. Thanks to his talent, Kevin was recruited by Kaya FC Academy and won 2 Best Player Awards and 1 Golden Boot Award in one of Metro Manila's top youth football leagues. Kevin was also selected by Milo Philippines as one of the few lucky Filipino talents to train in FC Barcelona's La Masia Academy with Barca legend Eric Abidal.
More impressive is Kevin's progress off the pitch. His grades have drastically improved and his parents now are very supportive of his schooling and football activities.
Yanzie is a former woman youth leader and player who used her talent in football to further her education opportunities.
Yanzie was taken in by the SipaG program where she immediately started turning heads with her talent. In 2014 she competed in the Philippine girls team, that finished 2nd in the Street Child World Cup held in Brazil. After her stint on the Philippine team, Yanzie was recruited as an athletic scholar to play football in the University of the Philippines in Diliman, the country's premiere university.
While not playing, Yanzie serves as a role model student-athlete to girls in other communities.
Angelo became a youth leader of his community at an early age of 14 years old. Although other players showed more talent in football, Angelo was a natural team leader who took care of the needs of his team and community. He often coordinated and worked with adults on how to improve the SipaG program in his community.
Encouraged to dream big, Angelo tried his luck to enter one of the country's top youth football programs by trying out and attending the training camp of FEU Diliman's football team. Although Angelo did not have as much talent as the other hopefuls who were trying to make the squad, his maturity and positive behaviour stood out with the coaching staff and he was offered a full athletic scholarship to the school.
Today, Angelo is on his last year as a starting leftback with a UAAP champion FEU Diliman team. He is well positioned to pursue further education studies as a student-athlete in university.
Avin volunteers as a coach, community club head, and youth leader to the kids in his community. In 2018, he ran Liga GK as its youth commissioner and lead organizer. Together with his older brother Nico, Avin was part of the first batch of children who joined SipaG as players and who now serve as community leaders in the program.
Avin was the Team Captain of the Street Child World Cup Philippine Boys Team that competed in Brazil in 2014, and since 2017 has been part of the Philippine National Futsal Team training pool, waiting to be capped by his country for his first international tournament. Avin is currently an athletic scholar at the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) varsity futsal team, where he serves as a key player on one of the country's best collegiate futsal teams. His dream is to finish his schooling to help both his family and community. In pursuit of his goal to be a world class community coach, in 2018 Avin took the Asian Football Confederation C License Coaching Course while balancing his commitments as a student-athlete.
Despite his very busy schedule, Avin dedicates whatever free time he has in mentoring the children in his community through football, futsal, and life. He serves as a role model to children across the SipaG program who know him as one of those who made it out of the slums and into university through hard work, dedication, and a positive mindset.