For the past 16 years, Red Deportes y Cooperacion (RDC) has harnessed our universal love of competition to inspire hope in children who have known hardship their whole lives. They also work to reintegrate immigrants and refugees who are often left without money, homes, or the support of family and friends. RDC operates in impoverished countries and underserved communities like Bauya, Sierra Leone and Lima, Peru, providing equipment and personnel to build communities through organized sports.
Red Deportes uses sport as a social tool to bring communities together. It educates children on bathroom hygiene and water sanitation as well as social issues like gender equality, disability acceptance, and LGBTQ rights. A recent project in Santa Ana, El Salvador reintegrated immigrants and other marginalized poor people through an organized sports league. RDC hopes to create a safe haven where kids can find self-confidence away from the conflict-ridden community, providing stability and purpose to otherwise uncertain lives.
Besides helping these people directly through fundraising, equipment, and education, RDC also seeks to erase apathy for plight of of immigrants and disadvantaged youths by connecting those with privilege to those without. Through pen-pal programs, and by funding trips for young footballers, RDC creates strong, personal bonds. RDC hopes that a shared passion for soccer can become a driving force for economic and social growth.
RDC is equally determined to fight social issues in developed countries. Tensions caused by intersquad rivalries like Barcelona and Real Madrid can tear communities apart, triggering racism and gang violence. RDC enjoys the support of soccer superstars including Barcelona’s Andrès Iniesta and Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas who emphasize the importance of sportsmanship, kindness, and tolerance. “You only have to look at what happened to Yaya Toure to realize the magnitude of the problem we face.” said Chelsea FC captain Paul Elliot, who works with Red Deportes y Cooperacion. “Zero tolerance. Sanctions. Education at the grassroots. Models. Leaders. That’s what we need.”
Red Deportes y Cooperacion continues to strive towards a more tolerant, educated, and peaceful world by encouraging a love for sport. For more information and a way to donate, click here. http://www.redeporte.org/eng/index_eng.php
Spanish here: http://www.redeporte.org/index.php
By Mike Weinstein