Mariya Goodbrake, Founder and Director of Global FC, recalls her family’s personal journey from war torn Afghanistan, displaced in Iran then India, finally to secure a better future in Canada through the resettlement system. Caught up in the web of conflicting cultures, beliefs and expectations between her Afghan Muslim heritage and the West, her sense of identity and belonging faced challenges to adapt.

In 2013, Mariya relocated to Kansas City and encountered the refugee population in the Northeast community. In 2014, through an organization, she visited the country of Jordan to connect with Syrian refugees displaced in the border town of Al Mafraq outside the Zaatari refugee camp. The experience opened her eyes to the damages of displacement, especially on youth.

Mariya returned to Kansas City with the desire to identify what refugee and immigrant youth in the community longed for, being reminded of those very same needs she struggled with as a child attempting to navigate a new culture. Beyond access to extracurricular activities, academic support, family support and other fundamental needs, at the root level, the youth desired a greater sense of belonging.

GlobalFC was launched with the humble beginning of twelve refugee kids kicking a soccer ball around at the local community center with damaged goals and a field filled with holes. The organization has since grown to engage almost three hundred youth from over twenty-nine nations including but not limited to Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Congo, Rwanda, Thailand, Burma, Honduras, Mexico, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya.

The vision of providing access to quality soccer opportunities has extended to include academic assistance, mentorship, civic engagement, cultural exchange, family support initiatives, special events and educational forums and workshops.

GlobalFC staff, volunteers, partners and supporters are committed to investing and enhancing their vision to cultivate a just community where members are free to be fully-known and fully-loved in pursuit of their greatest God- given purpose and potential.

Long Road to Freedom by Mariya Goodbrake took the grand prize in the live short film category sponsored by Empower Women Media and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation 2020 film competition.

 All the short films in this competition are artful and present compelling explorations of the impact of freedom of religion and belief (FoRB) in the workplace and community. Whether inspired by real-life events or fictional stories, animated, or experimental, the films thoughtfully seek to affirm that FoRB is good for business and thriving communities.

On August 1, 2020, Empower Women Media and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation will host a free online film festival and award ceremony to honor and celebrate the 2020 winning films. Click here to register for the free film festival.

(Courtesy of 21wilberforce)

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