UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin witnessed firsthand how sport is helping to improve the lives of vulnerable, young people when he visited one of Uganda’s largest slum communities this week.
During his stay in the capital Kampala, Mr Čeferin travelled to the Acholi Quarters district, home to some 20,000 residents, where the Sports for Resilience and Empowerment Project (SREP) is building sports facilities, training coaches and creating social and economic opportunities for 2,500 children and 850 caregivers.
The project is run by non-governmental organisation, the Aliguma Foundation, which receives funding support from the UEFA Foundation for Children.
Power of football
“Football is maybe the most powerful thing in the world,” said Čeferin, clearly moved by the warmth of his welcome and his conversations with local schoolchildren and community leaders.
“It’s not only about elite competitions. but it can also be a force for good,” added the UEFA President, after watching an exhibition football match played on a makeshift football pitch in Acholi. “We should use it to do good and working with the Aliguma Foundation is one way we do it.”
Ritah Aliguma, Founder and CEO of the Aliguma Foundation, said, “This wasn’t just an ordinary visit. It was a game-changer. UEFA President walking through one of the largest slum communities in Kampala gave hope to so many destitute people. We can dream again knowing that all things are possible.”
Both Mr Čeferin’s visit and his words of support underline UEFA’s commitment to using football’s popularity and influence as a force for good. Since its establishment in 2015, the UEFA Foundation has supported over 400 projects worldwide, donated equipment and provided grants – all with the goal of assisting the world’s poorest, most vulnerable children or crisis-stricken regions.
UEFA’s President was travelling to the African continent for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, en route to attending the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Aliguma Foundation and the SREP project
Founded by Ritah Aliguma in 2017, the Aliguma Foundation aims to use football to improve the lives of young people in slum communities. The initiative empowers beneficiaries to build better lives for themselves and their families by facilitating access to education, essential health care and football training for children.