Sports

PFL starts distribution of 100,000 footballs under 'Football 4 Hope' initiative

Underprivileged children deserve to be given opportunities to earn their livelihood, says Farhan Ahmed Junejo

By  Murtaza Ali Shah   |  
June 12, 2024
An image of a football with the logo of the Pakistan Football League. — Author

LONDON/KARACHI: Pakistan Football League (PFL) has started distributing 100,000 international-quality footballs among young talented children in Pakistan under the initiative "Football 4 Hope", PFL's Chairman Farhan Ahmed Junejo said.

He said that in the last three days, more than 10,000 footballs have already been distributed in different cities. In Lyari, Karachi, more than 2,500 footballs have been distributed so far, he said.

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"We are giving footballs to young children and seeking smiles in return. We give you a ball, you give us a smile. One ball, one smile — Football for Hope."

The PFL will initiate a festival showcasing the social impact of football, honouring achievements of disadvantaged youth and fostering hope through the sport as Football for Hope is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative by PFL contributing to social development in Pakistan, Junejo said.

He added: "Football 4 Hope aims to mobilise all four provinces of Pakistan to foster national unity. It endeavours to offer a brighter future to children who have lost hope in football, preventing them from being engulfed by other societal challenges.

From impromptu games in slums to mountain-top matches, and street football across Pakistan, to school academies and stadium competitions, football instils confidence, and pride in the underdog, and promotes unity. It unites the nation in hope, regardless of where it's played."

"We will use innovative educational and health initiatives to introduce football to young children and youth. Our goals include promoting education, conflict resolution, gender equality, social integration, inclusion of children with disabilities, peace-building, youth leadership, teamwork, and life skills through Football for Hope," said Junejo.

Junejo, the chief architect behind the inauguration of PFL in Lahore on June 4, stated that more footballs would be distributed after the completion of the initial 100,000 footballs.

"The footballs used in the World Cup, each costing one dollar, are being distributed among all segments of Pakistani society for the first time under the initiative 'One Ball One Smile,' without any discrimination," he said.

Junejo said that Pakistan is a country of 250 million people where poor children deserve to be given hope and opportunities so to earn their livelihood and develop football skills.

He said: "Football is the driving force behind our social engagement. With its universal appeal and core values, it serves as a common ground for various social development activities, health promotion, social cohesion, and gender equality initiatives.

"This is why Football for Hope is strategically important for PFL. Football will integrate drug rehabilitation and HIV/AIDS awareness programs with health facilities and institutes, promoting a healthy sporting environment using modern sports science methodologies to tackle poor health as a major socio-economic challenge.

"A franchise network will provide football access for all, with facilities and academies aimed at nurturing young talent to compete in a competitive league. The program will collaborate closely with inter-city rivalry, ensuring accessible football opportunities for local communities. Football-based educational activities will integrate into school curricula to foster learning, development, and off-pitch educational opportunities for underprivileged students to acquire new skills."

The British Pakistani entrepreneur further highlighted innovative methods through educational and health institutes to introduce football to children and youth.

"Our goals include promoting education, conflict resolution, gender equality, social integration, inclusion, peace-building, youth leadership, teamwork, and life skills through Football for Hope.

From spontaneous games in slums to mountain-top matches, and street football across Pakistan, to school and academy development, and stadium competitions, football fosters confidence, pride in the underdog, and unity. It unites the nation in hope, regardless of its location," he said.


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