14 June 2006

South Africa: SA Benefits From World Cup's Fundraising Project

Vulnerable South African children are to benefit from a charity project between world football governing body FIFA and SOS Children's Villages, currently underway at the world cup.

Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has invited football fans around the world to donate funds to the "6 villages for 2006" campaign, to ease the plight of the world's abandoned and neglected children.

The campaign started collecting funds in 2003 for the building and maintenance of six children's villages, one each, in South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Ukraine and Vietnam.

Every donation made since the project was launched and every donation received until the final whistle of the last 2006 world cup match on 9 July, will serve to give 800 orphaned or abandoned children a new family home at the six new children's villages.

These villages are the official charity of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

According to the official SOS children's village website, the donations will also be used to fund the maintenance of the villages for five years and fund additional projects. These projects are estimated to benefit about 5000 children and 1000 families in the communities at large.

They include, financially supporting various sports activities of children and youths in the organisation's care.

At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, "6 villages for 2006 " will be promoted through field boards at the stadiums, adverts, information stands and by children who will wear t-shirts with the campaign logo and accompany players onto the pitch at half time.

The final match in Leipzig is expected by the partners to provide an excellent platform for the charity, which has set itself a target of collecting 18 million euro.

During the final match a two-minute film about the project, containing a request for donations is to be shown, said FIFA. Scenes from the building of the first SOS Children's Village in Ukraine will be featured, along with footage from Mexico and South Africa.

FIFA's partnership with SOS goes back 11 years and encourages further co-operation between national football associations and national associations of SOS Children's Villages, which are active in 132 countries.

"Our goal as FIFA and SOS Children's Villages is to draw the attention of worldwide football audiences to the plight of the world's abandoned and neglected children and we hope to strengthen the right of children to grow up in a caring family environment," they said.

In this regard, more than 100 football stars offer their services to act as official ambassadors for the "FIFA for SOS Children's Villages" partnership in their various countries.

In South Africa, former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe is an ambassador.

Interested persons wishing to donate may do so online by logging in at:www.soschildrensvillages.org <http://www.soschildrensvillages.org/> and to receive receipts for tax purposes, they may send e-mails at info@sos-childrensvillages.org stating their country of origin before making a donation.

The partnership between FIFA and SOS Children's Villages was initiated in 1995 by then FIFA President João Havelange, and has since benefited hundreds of children worldwide

The current FIFA President Joseph Blatter described it as "one of the clearest signals of social responsibility in the world of football", adding that "this partnership is one of the most pleasing aspects of FIFA's work."

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