UEFA Foundation brings hope to Champions League final in earthquake-hit Türkiye.
The UEFA Foundation for Children and Turkish NGO Bonyan Organization create a memorable experience for more than 40 children at the UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul.
More than 40 children sampled the unforgettable magic of the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday thanks to the UEFA Foundation and Turkish NGO, Bonyan Organization.
All of them are part of communities affected by February’s devastating earthquakes which hit south-east Türkiye and Syria and were able to enjoy much-needed respite from the on-going recovery situation by taking in Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Inter at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.
The children are affiliated to the Bonyan Organization, an independent, non-governmental, and non-profit organisation dedicated to building human capacity and rehabilitating war-torn communities across the Middle East. Thanks to the invaluable support of the UEFA Foundation for Children, these young individuals were granted an extraordinary opportunity to witness the thrilling action first-hand. Some were even fortunate enough to accompany the players into the stadium before the game as match escorts.
Mohammed, player mascot
"I was really happy to watch the match and meet Haaland! I got very excited because Manchester City won."
The excitement began on Friday when an incredible surprise awaited them with the opportunity to take in the teams’ final training sessions at the stadium. Players from both Inter and City took the time to personally greet their young fans, leaving them astounded yet brimming with happiness. Notable heroes Hakan Çalhanoğlu and İlkay Gündoğan spent time talking to the children and signing autographs before the kids had their last surprise of the day as they came face to face with the Champions League trophy.
Marwa, player mascot
"It was a great feeling when I interacted with the referees and got very close to the trophy, holding the ball that Manchester City and Inter played with.
It was a dream of mine and I didn't expect to have such an opportunity. It was a sweet and special feeling, especially when I attended the team's celebrations."
Since 2015, the UEFA Foundation for Children has been committed to making a positive impact on the lives of young people through the beautiful game. Its unwavering support for the Bonyan Organization and their active involvement in the Champions League final showcased its dedication to using football as a powerful force for good.
The Foundation supports Bonyan Organization’s “Goal-4-all” project with a funding of €200,000. The project's primary objective is to promote peaceful coexistence among children from diverse communities, including refugees and host communities, using sports as a tool for integration. Through this initiative, Turkish and Syrian children gain regular access to sports facilities, while special emphasis is placed on creating opportunities for the integration of girls and children with special needs.
Tarek Alfaraj, programme manager at Bonyan Organization
"We express our sincere gratitude to FedEx Express and UEFA Foundation for Children for their invaluable partnership in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria. Together, we have provided essential aid, raised awareness, and showcased the crucial work of Bonyan Organization. This collaboration strengthens our resolve to serve communities in need. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to social responsibility and making a positive impact on people's lives."
Special Earthquake fund
Supported by UEFA and its partners, the UEFA Foundation for Children is calling for donations to provide significant support for the people affected by the earthquakes, particularly children.
The funds will be distributed to various partners active in communities affected by the earthquakes. These partners not only provide mental health support to children through initiatives linked to football, but also aid in the rehabilitation and integration of children seriously injured by the earthquakes.