Roy Moore is the co-founder of Fairplay for All, a not-for-profit organisation that uses the power of football and education to change the lives of children – and their families – in Payatas, Philippines.
As his organisation vows to give more children a fair opportunity for change, Thread Publishing sits down with Roy to learn what first inspired him to get involved in a developmental crisis on the other side of the world.
I grew up in a working-class family in England, but I’ve wanted to get involved with charity work ever since I was young. I saw all the usual documentaries, the publicity and the press, but that wasn’t what took my interest. It was the research and academic point of view – the ability to change something – that hooked me.
As far as I see it, you spend so much time working in a job that it’s got to be something you love. You have to figure out what your passion is, and then work out how it can make enough money to support you. For me that passion was always an issue of justice. It was never about traditional charity or giving to someone out of pity. It was the injustice of knowing things were completely unfair.
For me that passion was always an issue of justice ... the injustice of knowing things were completely unfair. Roy Moore, co-founder of Fairplay for All
The birth lottery
In reality, there are many issues in the world that simply come down to where you’re born. There’s no other factor involved. I was taught that if you’re smart and work hard you can succeed, but that truth simply doesn’t exist for most of the world. That’s why I always wanted to work in development.
Before university, I took some time to volunteer in Kenya and the Philippines. My uncle’s friend was running a charity in the Philippines, so it was a perfect fit. I volunteered with them and I loved it – it was just a fantastic experience. As a new volunteer, I probably got more out of the experience than the charity did, but it did provide a platform for me to have a taste of their work, and come back.
After my first stint of volunteer work, I studied for a Bachelors degree in philosophy, politics and economics. But while I was home in England, I experienced something like a reverse culture shock. People speak a lot about culture shock when you go somewhere new, but they don’t talk much about it when you return – and the difference it makes there.
I was listening to people talk about their problems and worrying about money and I thought, “What are you talking about? This is nothing.” But people can’t relate so you start to feel a bit isolated and alienated – it takes a while to adjust. My way of adjusting was to leave England and go back to the Philippines.
I could do this because by my second year, I had been approved for a study-exchange program at the National University of Singapore. I remember my graduation day, on June 15. Instead of going to my university, with the robes and the fancy hats, I was on a plane to the Philippines once more. That was a really long plane journey. But it just made sense.
It was my passion. It didn’t really matter that it was on the other side of the world. My family were very supportive, too. They don’t like that I’m away for so long and they don’t see me very much. Actually, I forgot to tell them I was leaving one time. That was my bad…
The Fairplay For All Foundation (FFA) is a not-for-profit organization working in the community of Payatas where up to 500,000 people live. Payatas is known for being the country’s largest open dump site, located in Quezon City in the Philippines.
The charity runs a football team, Payatas FC, to show that when you work hard and train hard, you will win. Most of the children train barefoot, with up to 100 different children training across the different sessions. FFA also run a drop-in center to formally assess and assist the children and their families, an urban farm, and more.
Written by Thread Publishing (threadpublishing.com) in support of Fairplay for All. Connecting the world one story at a time to bring humanity back into business.© 2014
Photos: All belong to Fairplay for All