New two-year initiative to pair student football coaches with special needs children

Ten-year-old Muhammad Khidir tends to be shy and reserved. But on Saturday, the primary four Chaoyang School student was all smiles. He kicked soccer balls around the school field, his mother watching proudly.

Khidir and 24 other students from the special needs school are receiving coaching sessions from 40 students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West.

This is part of a new two-year initiative that pairs student coaches with the special needs children. The initiative is part of the Central Singapore Community Development Council's (CDC) Free Kicks programme, which had previously only engaged professional coaches to train underprivileged and special needs children since its 2001 launch.

"We want to help enhance the kids' emotional well-being along with their soccer skills," said ITE College West's Deputy Principal (Academic) Goh Mong Song yesterday. "They can also learn discipline and teamwork from the training."