Eighty hours. That is how long it took the Ecuadorians to travel down to Santiago by bus. The trip was more than worthwhile however for the representatives of the Ser Paz and A Ganar organisations involved, as well as for the guest delegation from South Africa which flew all the way across the Atlantic. 12 other groups from far-flung corners of South America as well as a guest organisation from Costa Rica also took part in the 'Football For Hope Festival South America 2008', and the event, held in the Chilean capital between 1 and 7 December, was a resounding success.
Over 200 youngsters both male and female and between the ages of 15 and 21 took part in the event, held in parallel with the final week of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Chile 2008. Exchanging experiences and intercultural dialogue were the main aims of this event which served as the central element of 'Football For Hope'. Art and culture workshops brought participants closer together, and the culmination of the festival was an exciting and unusual street football tournament.
Gente Viva/Chigol from Chile were perfect hosts, and they certainly had one thing in common with all the other delegations who took part in this colourful and spectacular festival: they all belong to organisations that see football as a tool for furthering social development.