NEW YORK – The Inter Campus journey has been a long one. 17 years have passed since the first centre was opened in Recife, Brazil in 1997. The project has grown exponentially since then, with centres springing up wherever sport – and the Nerazzurri jersey – could make a difference.
The initiative developed organically, borne of a desire to make a social contribution using the joy of football. It’s a passion that has taken Inter Campus to the four corners of the Earth: from Cambodia to Chiapas, Russia to Angola, Israel to Palestine.
The Inter Campus journey is one seemingly without end, as the project tackles the wide array of problems that afflict the poorest areas of the world on a daily basis. Drugs, violence and a lack of education and integration are just a few of the issues covered.
Yesterday, Inter Campus visited New York to testify as to how sport can be an effective tool against violence towards children. During the Sport, Children and Development conference at the Trusteeship Council Chamber of the United Nations, Massimo Moratti and Javier Zanetti presented the project to a prestigious, impassioned audience.
Moratti recalled how Inter Campus was formed out of “a courageous attempt to help children, defeat fear and ensure that hope was not extinguished. A big football club like Inter cannot overlook its social responsibility to those in need, especially in regard to children. Being such a well-respected club, we couldn’t not launch a project like Inter Campus.”
Moratti went on to explain how these values are an intrinsic part of the Nerazzurri history and an important element of the club’s identity. Thanks to their symbolic value, the Nerazzurri jerseys “make those who wear them feel important, winning them instant respect because they are part of a great project.”
Moratti then thanked Inter for the passion with which the club has carried the project forth, before the attendees were shown a short film detailing the activities and philosophy of Inter Campus.
Despite the illustrious figures in the chamber, there was a distinct rustle of excitement when ex-Inter and Argentina captain Javier Zanetti took to the floor. Zanetti emphasised the great professionalism, dedication and responsibility that have enabled the Inter Campus project to flourish.
“The Moratti family’s sense of respect for other human beings has made Inter Campus one of the foremost social responsibility initiatives in the sporting world,” stated the Nerazzurri vice-president. Zanetti was quick to point out that the effectiveness of Inter Campus is also down to the proximity of the project to local communities. It has a presence in a great many countries, working tirelessly to further children’s rights to protection, development and the ability to make informed choices.
This spirit is embodied by one young man from the PUPI Foundation, the Inter Campus partner organisation run by Zanetti himself. Once the youngster passed the maximum age limit for the project, he decided to dedicate himself to helping new recruits by working as a volunteer rather than bringing his involvement to an end.
The curtain was brought down on the event to the sound of rapturous applause. Jerseys were exchanged happily. The Inter Campus journey, of course, does not stop here. It lives on in the smiles of the children and in the recognition the project has received over the years from the international institutions.
Inter Campus’ achievements fill the Nerazzurri family with great pride. Not only does the club aspire to be the best on the field of play, it is also engaged in a relentless pursuit of social excellence. Spurred on by a burning desire not to let down the thousands of children who pull on the Inter jersey every day, it’s a challenge we will do everything in our power to rise to.