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UEFA, UN and UEFA Foundation for Children unite for World Children’s Day 2021

World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children's Day and is celebrated on 20 November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare.

Since 1990, World Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the Declaration and the Convention on children's rights.

World Children's Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UEFA and UN

In January 2021, UEFA and the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) concluded a MoU at the House of European Football in Nyon, signed by UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Tatiana Valovaya.

The MoU further establishes a formal institutional partnership between the two organisations and outlines concrete activities to harness football’s capacity to promote sustainable development and peace.

UEFA-UN Memorandum of Understanding

UEFA Foundation for Children and World Children’s Day

The UEFA foundation for Children has projects worldwide which aim to help children and safeguard their rights. In particular, the projects provide support in the areas of health and children’s education, as well as promoting access to sporting activity, facilitating children’s personal development and fostering the integration of minorities.

Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA President and UEFA Foundation for Children Chairman

"World Children’s Day offers all of us the chance to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights. I am very proud of all our UEFA Foundation for Children projects which contribute to building a better world for children. As the governing body of European football, we are in a privileged position and we must make full use of this to help children worldwide who are living in challenging environments. It’s critical that we come together to reimagine a better world for children."

UEFA Foundation for Children key projects - #voicesofyouth

We look at some recent key UEFA Foundation for Children projects from the Philippines to Greece and beyond which are all helping children lead better lives.

ActionAid Hellas - Greece

Project summary: The project is led by international football player Dimitris Papadopoulos, who was inspired to create a football-based programme that would provide marginalised children with life values and skills affording them a better life with dignity and greater opportunities to develop themselves and their communities.

"Football is a way of life! Through football, we make friends, learn discipline, respect, how to lose and how to win, and most importantly how to keep fighting until the end. The moments on the pitch are amazing and unforgettable." Sofia, 16 years old.

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FundLife International - Philippines

Project summary: FundLife’s mission is to give every child equal opportunity in football and in life. The FundLife Dream Academy (FDA) expands the successful flagship Football for Life Champions Academy project to a new location, the highly urbanised and impoverished city of Cebu. The FDA protects, educates and provides opportunities to vulnerable children via a holistic sport-for-youth empowerment approach.

"The programme is excellent! It has helped me grow as a player and as a responsible individual in our community. Through football, I have established good relationships and improved my social skills." Karen, 17 years old.

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Just Play - American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu

Project summary: Just Play is a community-engagement Sport for Development programme developed by the OFC to improve the lives of children and teenagers aged 6–16 by using the sport of football.

Through active participation, Just Play helps children to develop healthy lifestyle habits and become confident in their abilities; encourages gender equality; promotes social inclusion; and emphasises that sport is for everyone.

"It makes me happy when I play football with others. I learn to dribble, pass and practice as a goalkeeper. I can kick the ball with power too. Just Play is making me better." Jammy

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Cruyff Foundation - Brazil

Project summary: The community of Novo Bonfim in Cabreúva, Brazil is the most vulnerable in the region. Children and young people are affected by high levels of poverty, teen pregnancy, drug abuse and drug trade. There are no safe public sports facilities in the community for children. The Cruyff Foundation will build a Cruyff Court for the community providing children a safe space to play football and other sports. The Cruyff Foundation’s local partner, the Instituto Plataforma Brasil (IPB), will run daily football sessions based on the 14 rules of Johan Cruyff.

"I think this project is very good because it provides many children with the chance to play football in this area and this keeps the youngsters off the streets." - Naydjelly

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International Trade Centre and streetfootballworld - Gambia and Guinea

Project Summary: The project is aimed at young people from different backgrounds, delivering demonstrable results that move participants closer to education, training, employment and entrepreneurship. In addition, Kick for Trade will develop the capacities of local football coaches to deliver employability and entrepreneurship curriculums included in the toolkits.

"I learned how to think quickly and make good decisions. I strengthened skills such as self-confidence and resilience, and how to manage difficult situations. I would like to become the first female general secretary of Gambia Football Federation or the minister of youth and sports." Veronica.

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