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Twenty-year-old Ebrahim is one of the Young Leaders for the Soccer Bloc project in New York City, which aims to connect young people from different communities in celebration of the city’s melting pot of cultures for which it is famous.
Hailing from the Bronx and having attended City in the Community’s Saturday Night Lights programme as a teenager, Ebrahim says a lack of opportunities to connect with people from outside your own neighbourhood is a significant issue across New York City and is determined to help tackle it.
He told mancity.com how the Soccer Bloc project can be a shining example of the Big Apple’s greatness…
"The separation between different communities is one of the biggest issues in New York City right now.
“Everywhere you go people stick with who they know and they don’t want to integrate.
“It’s something me and my friends have experienced. We’ve visited places and been told we don’t belong and have tried to play soccer on pitches but weren’t picked because we didn’t know anyone.
“Nobody in my community is doing anything to change that.
“I had to go to Harlem to take part in Saturday Night Lights and I decided I wanted to bring something similar to the Bronx because if we don’t try and change things it will create more isolation and more conflict between people.
“Soccer Bloc allows anyone to come and play for free and if you don’t know how to play soccer we’ll provide training so you can improve.
“Our programme will allow people from different nationalities and backgrounds to play and hang out together.
“It will change lives and perceptions. People will think and look at each other differently and we will create a community for the future, where young kids will grow up and see the difference.
“We want people coming to New York City to feel safe, happy and welcome.
“We don’t have that at the moment and it needs to change so that when people come they can see the greatness of this place.”
This project is delivered by City in the Community Foundation, and generously supported by SAP.
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