A four-day football and games festival aimed at promoting peace among children began at the SOS Children's Village at Tema.
The event which was organized by the Management of SOS Children's Villages saw over 700 children drawn from 32 schools across the country and five SOS Villages in the West Africa sub-region are to participate in gala matches and fan games.
The participating SOS Villages are from Benin; Nigeria; Cameroon; Nigeria; Togo and La Cote d'Ivoire. The National Director of the SOS Children's Villages Ghana, Mr. Kojo Mattah in an opening address stressed the need to resort to dialogue and discussions in solving problems instead of indulging in violence.
Mr. Mattah said the festival was being held in connection with the ongoing African Cup of Nations (CAN 2008) with the belief that football united all people despite their race. He impressed on adults to teach children and the youth the need for dialogue and respect for other people's opinions, expressing optimism that it would reflect in their lives in their adulthood to abhor violence.
"I am sure a lot of the conflict and violence we are experiencing in our society, on the African continent and the world would be reduced to the minimum if not eliminated if we are united with a common cause."
Mr. Mattah explained that it was for this reason that management brought together children from different countries and backgrounds to participate in the games, adding, "this is in line with our dream of establishing North-South and South-South dialogue, cooperation and exchange".
The SOS National Director said this was an opportune time to move further to the grassroots and deal with kids who are normally the most affected during crisis. He said he was optimistic that the games would go a long way to impact positively on society as the children expressed their feelings in their essay competitions and debates held as part of the event.
Mr. Alhassan Andani, Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, commended the management of SOS Villages for introducing vibrancy into its administration by using football to create the awareness among children to fight the canker of discrimination, violence and poverty that was devastating parts of the world.