“Football has the unique power to change the world”
Look around the narrow pathways of Ambedkar Nagar community in Mumbai and you will see Manchester United shirts at every turn. For thousands of children in one of India’s most impoverished communities, these players are role models of success; proof that we can always strive to be the best we can! At the OSCAR Foundation, we believe in role models. We believe in feeling inspired. We believe in people who challenge the status quo and who say that things should and can be different! Juan Mata, Global Ambassador for streetfootballworld, is one such role model, and he is on a mission to change the world through football! In June, Juan took time out of his summer break to spend two days with us in Mumbai visiting our OSCAR programmes.
He participated in a football and life skills session and helped to support an education class. To end his visit, Juan even showcased his skills in our Football3 Festival, much to the delight of 120 young players! Despite a busy schedule and pre-Monsoon heat, nothing was too much trouble for Juan and his partner Evelina. Their positivity was inspirational — always smiling and wanting to experience everything to the full. We couldn’t have asked more of them in terms of their empathy, patience and connection throughout.
Speaking about his time with the OSCAR Foundation, Juan said: “The 2 days spent with OSCAR, seeing what you do for your community, has been an experience I will never forget. You are helping so many children; they are learning a lot and becoming better people. The warm welcome we got from them was priceless. It is my first time to India but I don’t think it’s going to be my last because I have really enjoyed it!”
To continue the relationship with OSCAR, Juan has invited the 15 OSCAR boys selected for the Schools Tour to Manchester this October for a “behind the scenes” visit to Man Utd. Today, Juan helped to launch the new global initiative Common Goal which aims to convince players to donate 1% of their salary to Football For Good charities such as the OSCAR Foundation. The core belief of Common Goal is that football has a unique power to change the world. At the OSCAR Foundation, football underpins all of the work we do. Football IS changing the lives of children in underprivileged communities across India every day; empowering vulnerable young girls and boys to lead others and inspire change.
Thank you to Juan for shining the brightest of lights onto the issues that matter. An amazing player and an amazing person