Real Madrid's Director of Institutional Relations, Emilio Butragueño, and the Director General of the Real Madrid Foundation, Julio González Ronco, received a Salesian delegation from Ciudad Real Madrid, comprising the Director of Misiones Salesianas, Fr Luis Manuel Moral, the Superior of PLE, Fr Tadeusz Jarecki, and the President and Vice President of UKS Salos Ełk, Fr Marcin Koncewicz and Wojciech Szabranki respectively.
The new collaboration agreement between the Real Madrid Foundation and Misiones Salesianas with Don Bosco UKS Salos Ełk in the north-east of Poland, will start a new socio-sports school for more than one hundred children at risk, including refugee children and teenagers from Ukraine.
The first socio-sports school created under the agreement between Misiones Salesianas and the Real Madrid Foundation began operating in June 2010 to serve young people in the favelas in Brazil. Since then they have joined the Dominican Republic, Cape Verde, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo Brazzaville, Egypt, Cameroon, Portugal and now Poland. They are all centres where youngsters grow and mature between sports practice and learning values.
The Misiones Salesianas socio-sports schools and the Real Madrid Foundation put into practice the Don Bosco Preventive System and the motto “Ellos juegan, nosotros educamos” (They play, we educate), to promote social integration and solidarity, team spirit, respect and inclusion through sport, study and learning good hygiene, health and food habits.
At the formal signing ceremony for the agreement, Father Moral stressed: “We are convinced that sport has a special importance in the educational development of children.” For his part, Fr Jarecki expressed his gratitude for this project, “because we will provide Ukrainian young people with the opportunity to integrate with their peers and a safe environment for their development, physical activity and fun.”
Salesian Marcin Koncewicz, president of Don Bosco Ełk, which will host the new socio-sports school, commented that “today in Poland we are celebrating Children's Day and we have given them the best gift with this project.” Finally, Real Madrid's Director of Institutional Relations, Emilio Butragueño, praised the work of the Salesian missionaries, “whose Don Bosco Preventive System fits in perfectly with our work approach”, as well as the commitment “to keep youngsters away from harmful habits, with the hope that sport can help them transform them into healthy habits.”
The former Real Madrid player concluded by assuring “the success of this Don Bosco Ełk socio-sports school in Poland, because it will improve young people's future.”
The Real Madrid Foundation's Training Department has already provided the first on-site training in Poland for 14 coaches and socio-educational activity leaders, according to "Foundation for a Real Education: values and sport" approach.
The beneficiaries of the project will be able to practice learning to play football and basketball and learn values in modern sports facilities built in 2019.
Children and teenagers participating in the project will also receive lessons in school reinforcement, medical visits, nutritional support, healthy eating conferences, drug prevention, psychological support and legal advice for refugees.