|Fundatia teams with Realmadrid soccer Foundation to keep Romanian kids in school|
On the empty wall of the studio apartment in a housing project on the outskirts of Bucharest, Romania, where Gabriel lives with his mother and two younger brothers, there are a few photos that stand out in a place of honor. They are pictures of Gabriel from the first practice when he put on his own t-shirt with the name of a famous soccer club: Real Madrid. On the day of the inauguration soccer match on February 19, Gabriel’s mother was on the bleachers watching her son proudly. “When I grow up I want to be just like… Ronaldo!” Gabriel declared confidently to one television reporter.
Gabriel and other 80 children just like him have begun to have hope for a better future and greater chance of making it through high school, thanks to a new Soccer Training School offered by Fundația Dezvoltarea Popoarelor, a local community building association and partner member of the AVSI Network, and Realmadrid Foundation, with other partners including in the Bucharest sector 3 City Council and Vodaphone Foundation.
The project’s approach is social integration through sport to benefit 80 children at risk of school drop-out, all aged between 7-15 years and attending two public schools in sector 3 of Bucharest. The children participate in two weekly practices under the guidance of four coaches, who were trained by the official coach of Realmadrid Foundation in November 2012. Also involved asvolunteer supervisor is former professional Italian soccer player Renzo Rossi.
The official inauguration on February 19th was attended by Remus Pricopie, Romanian Minister of Education, Mayor Robert Sorin Negoiță of Bucharest sector 3, Luis Tejero and Maria Mendez, representatives of the Spanish Embassy in Bucharest, Julio Gonzalez, Realmadrid Foundation Managing Director, and Georgiana Iliescu of the Vodafone Foundation. The event was hosted at the Apollo Sports Center in Bucharest sector 3.
“Naturally, in such moments many things can be said, but I suggest looking at these children and seeing what the effects of this program are. I want to emphasize that for the consolidation and the development of education, the implication of local public administration has a distinct importance,” said Minister Remus Pricopie in his address during the ceremony.