New York – “Memories of my passion for soccer go back to when I was a little girl. My father travelled a lot and I liked to be with him when he was home. One of his favourite things to do was relax and watch soccer games on TV and explain the rules of the game and the names of the players and teams to me. I spent hours watching games and without even realising I became a real fan.

Growing up, I learned to love soccer for other reasons. Soccer is an incredible way to strengthen your self-belief, teamwork, ‘healthy’ and friendly competition, empathy, passion and determination. It plays an important role in education and learning about sports too. What fascinates me most about soccer is that it gives you a sense of total freedom and a desire to reach your goals.

The first time I heard about Inter Campus was when Inter visited the UN in New York in July 2016. Inter came with a group of kids, who were promoting the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for the 2030 Agenda. In my spare time, I also promoted the principles of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SGDs, getting involved in activities that help vulnerable people to improve their wellbeing. One example is the creation of the One Billion Voices event, which gives a voice to people with disabilities, especially children, on a global scale and raises awareness of their rights, hopes and abilities.

It was with Omar El Sayed, Inter Campus Project Manager, that I learned that Inter Campus is perfectly in line with my values and those of the UN to promote socioeconomic and environmental growth, social justice and respect for the dignity of a person. And that’s how our work together began. I invited Inter Campus to the ‘One Billion Voices: making visible the invisible’ event, which I had organised in collaboration with the UN, concentrating on how the public and private sectors can promote inclusion of people with disabilities through sport.

Furthermore, sport is defined in the preamble of the UN’s 2030 Agenda as an ‘enabling factor for development and peace.’ The sport of soccer has the unique power to unite people and to serve as an instrument to reach all 17 SGDs. It can also be used as an important tool to educate through fun and play (SDG 4) by strengthening resilience. For me, this sport also has the power to unite people and united communities, especially in times of difficulty. With soccer, diversity and multiculturalism become added values!

Inter Campus understands all of the above, creating a better life for children, who live in underprivileged areas. I’ve been really inspired by the Managers and coaches of Inter Campus and their devotion to the cause, as they work together to give a better life to future generations of children so they can make their dreams come true. That is why I did not hesitate and enthusiastically accepted to support Inter Campus to bring its activities back to New York, in a school in Queens, which is located in the most culturally and ethnically diverse urban area in the world, believing that the New York project will also be able to contribute to the growth of many little ones to become adults.”