On Friday in New York, the FC Barcelona Foundation, Unicef and Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) presented the 1 in 11 campaign to offer educational opportunities to at-risk children in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal.
The events at the Unicef headquarters was attended by FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, directors Ramon Pont and Ramon Cierco, vice-presidents of the FC Barcelona Foundation along with Anthony Lake, executive director of Unicef, and Essa Al Mannai, executive director of ROTA.
Globally, one in 11 primary school-age children – or 58 million out of 650 million children – are out of school. The majority are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable: children living in areas affected by conflict; children in extreme poverty; children with disabilities; children from indigenous communities. In addition, in many schools, sports programming does not exist, even though studies have shown that including sports in school curricula can inspire children to attend and stay in school, lead to better physical health, and help to improve their grades.
Fund raising auction
The ‘1 in 11’ campaign will raise funds through individual donations and a major art auction at Sotheby’s in London on Thursday 12 February, featuring donated works by renowned artists including Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Richard Serra and Shirin Neshat. Hirst and Murakami have created specially commissioned works of art featuring Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona player, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and President of the Lionel Messi Foundation. Murakami designed the campaign logo.
Leo Messi and tennis champion and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassasor Serena Williams are offering their images and knowledge to the campaign.
Barça offers FutbolNet methodology
The funds raised by ‘1 in 11’ will focus initially on pilot education programmes in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal, and the FC Barcelona Foundation will be contributing its Futbolnet methodology, a tried and tested instrument that uses sport to educate children in social values. In Indonesia, the campaign will support schools in six districts to include children with disabilities. In Nepal, UNICEF has worked with the government to identify 10 priority districts that will offer sports programming for children up to secondary school, particularly aimed at breaking down the societal barriers for children with disabilities and including them in school. In Bangladesh, the campaign’s focus will be on reaching out-of-school children.
The FC Barcelona Foundation, set up in 1994, works to promote values through sport among children. It currently has more than 400,000 beneficiaries around the world. UNICEF promotes the rights and welfare of children and works in 190 countries and territories, where it converts its principles into a reality. ROTA is a non-governmental organisation associated to the Qatar Foundation that seeks to develop human potential in Asia through education and research.
Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “At the FC Barcelona Foundation we are able to put all of Barça’s strength at the service of people in need, especially children. The tools we use to do that are sport and the FutbolNet methodology, which incorporates our unique view of football and the values of La Masia, our sporting centre of excellence that has been recognised all around the world and of which we feel so very proud. At La Masia we train, educate and teach values and these are the same values that are included in our Futbolnet programmes, which are currently reaching more than 100,000 children in 46 countries around the world and that are also one of the cornerstones of the 1 in 11 programmes in Bangladesh, Nepal and Indonesia. That is how the values of La Masia reach beyond sport to children all around the world.”
Anthony Lake said: “Every child has the right to learn, to play, and to grow – and the ‘1 in 11’ campaign will help more children do so. We are delighted to work together with FC Barcelona and ROTA to get more children into the classroom and improve the quality of learning they receive there”.
Takashi Murakami said: “I’m delighted to be able to support the 1 in 11 campaign through donating my artwork to the auction and designing the global campaign logo. I know the money raised by the campaign is going to help some of the most marginalised and vulnerable children across the world”.
Essa Al Mannai said: “ROTA is extremely honoured to take part in the ‘1 in 11’ campaign with UNICEF and FC Barcelona Foundation. This campaign will further ROTA’s vision of a world in which all young people have access to the education and training they need in order to realize their full potential and shape the development of their communities”.