Justin grew up in a rural part of Burundi and played football all throughout his childhood. At the age of 18 he moved to the city to become an electrician. He also started coaching around the same time. Before receiving his coaching certificate, he had to flee to Rwanda due to the political unrest in the country.

My Story

“I grew up in the rural area of Burundi, I played football up until the end of secondary school. When I was 18, I moved to the city alone to start my studies and become an electrician.

I grew up wanting to be a professional player. But it didn’t work out so I decided to be a coach. I first started officiating as a referee and then I started learning how to coach. So now I am still doing that, and I have a dream of being a great coach in the future.

I was very happy when I heard this programme was running because I almost completed my training to have my certificate as a grassroots coach, but then the insecurity started in Burundi and I had to flee. So, when I heard about this I was happy I can continue my activities of training children in football, because that is when I most feel like being myself: when I am training, when I am coaching, I feel happy!

I think you have to know the level of the children you are working with. But first of all, a child should be happy. Only then you learn how to develop the child’s abilities, and only then you can use educational games. So before [in Burundi], we were only learning about techniques, we had never had the chance to take a step back and see how the child will develop and all. We came to learn about that through these three aspects: fun game, small-sided game and educational game.

Now, before I do my session, I have to sit down and plan how I want to conduct this session, so that when we go to the pitch I have a picture of what I want to include in the activity. As you know, the situation of a refugee is not easy, so what we do is, we try to make sure that we occupy these children. We try to avoid them thinking about negative things, so that they learn how they can develop even in the situation that they are currently in.

Now I know how to protect a child as a coach, and what I can do to protect the children through football. I think I have learned a lot, football is an education and a school of life!”

Quick Facts
  • Young Coach Education in Rwanda (2017/2018)
  • UNHCR Rwanda
  • Burundian
  • 6 Peer Young Coaches
  • 173 Benefitting Children