The new Soccer for Youth Development and Healthy Living campaign will benefit more than 28,000 young people.
“It’s a great honor to be able to announce this alliance between the Pies Descalzos Foundation and the Fundacion Barcelona,” said Shakira at a press conference. "Education is the most efficient and speediest tool that can be used to change the destiny of a child and that of his or her family; even of the entire community. In Colombia – working with Maria Emma Mejia – we’ve seen children in vulnerable situations and living in extreme poverty who could have easily followed a path of violence or delinquency, and instead we’ve accompanied these same children from elementary school all the way to university, where they are now on their way to becoming graduates, professionals, and the pride of their community.
“There are 54 million Latinos in the US, and as such we represent not only the largest minority but also the fastest-growing. Our community urgently needs all the tools possible so that our children may develop their potential, talent and intelligence. In this sense there is nothing better than education to achieve this goal; and together with sports even better, as a tool of integration and comprehensive development.”
The initiative aims to help construct sports and recreational venues for young people in both Colombia and Miami.
“With Gerard [Piqué], I’ve learned something about football, and above all what it means to the development of a person when sports are a fundamental part of their early years: how it helps to develop skills in children who begin very early, skills in working as a team, respect for rules, discipline, tolerance, the desire to achieve your goals, to taste victory and to make dreams come true. He’s also explained to me how on Team Barca there is a true integration of players from all different nationalities, idiosyncrasies and religious beliefs. And how unity and wearing the same jersey is what really matters, above any other distinction.
“These chats with him as you can imagine have made me dream of the day when humanity as a whole can look beyond all that which divides us. That Latinos in this country, of every type and without distinction, receive the same opportunities. And that humanity—like Team Barca—can wear the same jersey and defend the same common goal, a goal of offering the opportunity of education to all children regardless of race or social class. If every child in the world can carry a book and a football with them, then this recipe, education and sports together, is infallible I am sure.
“The Hispanics of the US have all the talent and the desire we need; now all that’s missing is more education and sports to get the ball in our court and play the best game possible.”
“I value in the most positive light this alliance for our club,” added Ramón Pont, Vice President of the FC Barcelona Foundation. “Uniting the forces of soccer and music will assist the development of communities in dire social needs. It is a long road that is necessary, one that we will take together to succeed as far as possible.”