- FIFA Foundation visits Guatemala following tragic aftermath of volcanic eruption
- FIFA Legend Salgado leads clinic for children
- Recovery Programme provides football equipment
As part of its stated mission, the FIFA Foundation visited Guatemala to work with communities hit hard by the tragic aftermath of a volcanic eruption earlier this month and to evaluate what further assistance can be provided – particularly for the children of the area. With over a hundred dead, thousands missing and several million affected by the eruption of the Volcano de Fuego less than 100km from the capital city, the Football Federation of Guatemala made a plea at mid-June’s FIFA Congress in Moscow, and representatives of the Foundation were in the country within the fortnight to assess needs on the ground.
FIFA Legend Michel Salgado was also there as a Foundation ambassador to help bring some enjoyment and hope to youth traumatised by loss of life and living standards. The former Spain and Real Madrid star led a clinic and played some games with the children, who responded bravely and incredibly with smiles.
It was a powerful reminder of the impact that football can have even in the face of terrible catastrophe.
“I am glad to have the chance to be able to give some small comfort to these children, who have been through so much, and to help the FIFA Foundation as it works to give aid to those impacted by such an awful event,” said Salgado.
FIFA Foundation Recovery Programme
One part of the FIFA Foundation’s mission is the FIFA Foundation Recovery Programme, and the efforts in Guatemala are an early example of these endeavours to support communities hit hard by natural disasters or other unforeseen events.
Football equipment will be provided to the Guatemalan communities as the government and NGOs work to stabilise the area before further funding through the Recovery Programme could become available to support the build-up of football infrastructure in the area.
“It was wonderful to watch the children respond to Michel, who was a great ambassador. But there is clearly much to do to help the area, and we will do everything we can to aid Guatemala and the football community in its recovery. The FIFA Foundation Recovery Programme might really be able to make a difference here.” said Foundation Project Manager Jasmin Frei.
“Our gratitude to FIFA, President Gianni Infantino and his FIFA Foundation – especially Jasmin Frei and Michel Salgado for their human side in being present during this tragedy in our country. Football has created moments of joy for many children who are in the shelters and gave them hope for their futures in society, " said Juan Carlos Rios, the Normalisation Committee Chairman of the Guatemalan Football Association. Another part of the FIFA Foundation, the Festival that supports Community Programmes around the world is ongoing in Moscow.