SPAIN: Real Madrid to Hold Match to Benefit Salesian Socio-Sports Programs in Africa
(MissionNewswire) Florentino Pérez, president of Real Madrid, launched the eighth “Corazón Classic Match” to be held on June 11 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. The match will showcase the skills of the Real Madrid squad against their opponent in Rome. The event will benefit the Real Madrid Foundation in Africa, which includes 10 sports school and humanitarian aid projects facilitated by Salesian Missions Madrid.
Salesian Missions Madrid and the Real Madrid Foundation have joined forces in projects for disadvantaged children and youth for several years. The program’s motto is, “They play, we educate” and participants receive nutritional, family and psychological support, regular health checkups and the opportunity to participate in social and educational workshops in activities such as gymnastics, crafts, reading and citizenship. Training sessions on topics such as health, hygiene, values and the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse will also be provided.
Outside of normal school hours, participants in the program will receive sports training by coaches specifically qualified by the Real Madrid Foundation.
“Sports programs teach youth both on and off the field,” says Father Mark Hyde, the executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Learning and playing team sports encourages leadership skills as well as teaches youth to work as part of a team. Students also learn important social skills and have opportunities for growth and maturity.”
The collaboration between the Salesians and the Real Madrid Foundation has been very successful, granting more than 2,000 youth and vulnerable children the opportunity to participate in similar programs around the globe. Currently there are 17 socio-sports schools across 12 countries on three continents.
“Football should be a great generator of solidarity and its strength should be conveyed in a commitment to the aid of the most vulnerable,” says Pérez.
One of the socio-sports programs is in Senegal. In 2016, the Real Madrid Foundation’s technical team made a trip to Senegal to provide a training course for Salesian staff based on the “They play, we educate” program model. The training, which was attended by 16 coaches and educators from Salesian-run socio-sports programs across Senegal, was held at the Don Bosco Kër Center in Dakar, the largest city and capital of the country.
Salesian programs in Senegal have a focus on sports education. Socio-sports schools in the cities of Dakar and Thies started their programs in 2012 and one in the city of Tambacounda has been in operation since 2010. The overall objective of the schools is to provide students between the ages of 5 and 17 with organized sports that promote positive values and teamwork. The sports programs are provided in addition to traditional vocational education programs and social development services.