The Football for Hope Siyakhona photo contest has come to an end, after more than 17,000 people voted for the 24 photos on Sony’s Dream Goal webpage to decide the winner. The picture shot by 12-year-old Marvelous Chukwu from the Nigeria community-based organisation Search and Groom struck a chord with the public, receiving a triumphant 4,166 votes.
Describing what he wanted to tell with his winning image, Chukwu explained: "My picture tells the story of a little boy loving football with a passion at such a tender age. You can see the joy on his face as he is kicking the ball."
Photos were also submitted from Brazil, India, Kenya and Australia. This contest is part of the ongoing Football for Hope Siyakhona Media Skills programme, a collaboration between FIFA and Sony. The programme was launched in 2009 ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. "Siyakhona", which means "We can do it" in Zulu and Xhosa, two of South Africa's official languages, offers talented youths in disadvantaged communities the opportunity to take part in digital photography and video courses and learn practical, vocational skills.
Ultimately, the goal is to provide them with relevant skills for jobs in the media and communications sector. So far, the initiative has reached over 400 young leaders in more than 40 disadvantaged communities.
In order to make Siyakhona a reality, FIFA and Sony work closely with community-based organisations to define training modules and select young leaders; with local media trainers to deliver courses and consult the trainees; and with local Sony distributors to provide the necessary equipment.
"This Siyakhona media skills programme has taught me how to appreciate all that is going on around me and in my community," Chukwu said. "I love taking pictures. I would like to add photography as part of my studies in the future."
The equipment provided includes handycams/camcorders, α/DSLR cameras and memory cards. In 2014, Siyakhona projects are taking place across 14 communities around the world, of which three are in Brazil, and the effort will continue on to April 2015, long after the 2014 FIFA World Cup is over.