Madrid: The growing interest in football within the rural areas of India is evident, and proof of this can be seen in the exponential growth of the number of participants in the project that the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, through the Rural Development Trust (RDT), and LaLiga, through its Women’s Football Department and its Foundation, have been developing for more than five years.
This alliance was established with the aim of promoting the practice of football among young people from the most disadvantaged communities in the district of Anantapur (India), as well as establishing mechanisms and systems for the promotion of individual and collective talent at the national level in India. Thanks to this joint initiative, around 2,000 boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 15 have the opportunity to practice the sport and receive training, through values such as discipline, effort, self-improvement and team spirit, which will enable them to deal with future challenges.
With the aim of carrying out an on-site evaluation of the project’s progress and strengthening cooperation with the project partners, Olga de la Fuente, Director of FUNDACIÓN LaLiga, and Pedro Malabia, Director of LaLiga’s Women’s Football Department, made an official trip to the Anantapur region, during which they completed a varied and inspiring programme of activities. They were also accompanied throughout by Luz María Sanz, Director General of the Vicente Ferrer Foundation.
The trip began with a meeting with Moncho Ferrer, Director of Programmes at the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, followed by a visit to the Bathalapalli Hospital, the centre for the development of education and sport, and the monument to Vicente Ferrer, the driving force behind the organisation, which has been based in this region of India for more than five decades.
During the second day, the Spanish delegation was able to spend time with the girls participating in the project’s Residential Academy, which was set up last season and through which 20 girls from rural communities in Anantapur have been selected to receive financial and educational scholarships for a year.
One of the main strategic events of the week was the meeting with the team from the Anantapur Sports Academy and the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, with whom an analysis and evaluation of the impact of the activities developed jointly over the last five years were carried out, with an objective that remains constant: continue to support the people of Anantapur.
The trip was another opportunity to witness some of the training sessions involving the youngsters of the participating clubs in the Anantapur rural league, as well as to enjoy the final phase of the Mixed Gender Cup, a tournament based on the promotion of gender equality through football.
In the second half of the trip, different training workshops were held with the coaches from the teams in the region, led by a technical trainer from the FUNDACIÓN LaLiga, as well as an experiential session and a sports clinic with Anair Lomba, a former professional player and LaLiga Ambassador.
Olga de la Fuente, Director of FUNDACIÓN LaLiga, stated that, “It is very gratifying to see through this project the consolidation of sport as one of the main tools for youth development and social integration in this region. We are very grateful to the Vicente Ferrer Foundation for allowing us to accompany them on this enriching journey.”
Pedro Malabia, Director of LaLiga’s Women’s Football Department, “We are pleasantly surprised by the number of girls benefiting from the project and the impact it has on their education. The Vicente Ferrer Foundation’s project plays a decisive role in the development of women in Anantapur and, through football, helps girls and boys in the region to discover the values of sport, providing them with tools for their sporting and personal development.”
Luz María Sanz, Director General of the Vicente Ferrer Foundation stressed that, “Sharing the results of our collaborative work has been very enriching and motivating for all of us, as it encourages and drives us to continue promoting values through sport that break down barriers and provide opportunities. From the Vicente Ferrer Foundation and all the team involved in this project, we are proud of the professional and human partnership that we have forged with LaLiga and the FUNDACIÓN LaLiga during these five years, and we hope that it will continue for many more.”