Mastercard and UEFA Foundation for Children join forces to give the joy of football back to children in the earthquake zoneJune 9, 2023 | Istanbul, Turkey
Mastercard and the UEFA Foundation for Children join forces to launch the "Pitches of Hope" project, an initiative to provide hope for earthquake-affected children and youth.
The project will create safe football pitches for the children affected by the natural disaster, to improve their mental and physical well-being and to strengthen their peer-to-peer bonds.
Mastercard, official sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, and the UEFA Foundation for Children join forces for a new project called “Pitches of Hope.”
The aim of the project is to support children affected by the earthquakes in line with Mastercard’s corporate social responsibility work. Mastercard will be supporting the international non-governmental organization Save the Children Türkiye, which will build and rehabilitate football fields in the most earthquake-affected regions, including Nurdağı (Gaziantep), Antakya (Hatay) and Adıyaman.
Adhering to the UEFA Foundation for Children standards, the football fields will be built and rehabilitated starting from the beginning of June, and the pitches will be completed and open to the children by the end of December. The project will be executed by Save the Children Türkiye. Mastercard, in cooperation with the UEFA Foundation for Children, will support Save the Children Türkiye to build and rehabilitate the pitches and run the program with the aim of instilling new hope in children and youth in earthquake-affected areas, by harnessing the healing power of sport.
Designing football-based activities for children's rehabilitation
Launched today at a joint event, with the attendance of UEFA Ambassador Marco Materazzi, Mastercard and UEFA Equal Game Ambassadors Barış Telli, Fatih Terim and Selçuk Inan, the Pitches of Hope project will create safe spaces for earthquake-affected children to play, improve their mental and physical wellbeing and strengthen their peer-to-peer bonds.
As part of the project, experts in child psychology and trauma designed a series of football-based games, which will be implemented under the coordination of Save the Children Türkiye to facilitate the children's recovery process. Each game is meticulously designed to encourage teamwork, enhance resilience, bolster mental well-being, and, above all, allow children to embrace the carefree essence of childhood once more. It is believed that expressions of joy, celebratory high-fives, and shared laughter serve as crucial initial strides on the path to healing.
"From the beginning, Mastercard supported the activities to heal the wounds of the earthquake-affected regions," said Yasemin Develioğlu, vice president, Marketing & Communications of Mastercard Eastern Europe. "Initially, we provided financial assistance for humanitarian aid to the region through various non-governmental organizations and we matched employee donations to the cause globally. Today, we are delighted to announce our commitment to a new joint project, Pitches of Hope, with the UEFA Foundation for Children.
“For the past 29 years, Mastercard has been a proud sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, a highly anticipated competition among football fans globally," she continued. "To crown our longstanding partnership and pass on hope to our children in the earthquake zone, we have joined forces to give them a chance to be kids again, by giving access to safe guarded football fields. Through the Pitches of Hope project, we aim to eliminate the lingering effects of earthquakes and strive to establish a fresh wellspring of joy and optimism in the lives of children.”
“The Pitches for Hope project is a great way to engage the children affected by the earthquake in sport, to promote health and well-being in a fun way, and to help them to overcome their trauma," said Urs Kluser, general secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children. “Thanks to the valuable support of Mastercard, more children will have access to a safe place to play to reconnect with their childhood and hope for a better future.”
“More than four months after the first earthquakes hit, children are still trying to piece their lives back together and adapt to their new realities," said Oben Coban, government relations, safety and security director for Save the Children Türkiye. "As a result, children’s mental well-being is pushed to the limits, unable to move past the distressing experiences they’ve been through. In these conditions, children need crucial support to avoid long-term repercussions on their health, well-being and development for months or even years to come.
"We know that the ability to play with friends and loved ones allows children to take a break from their new realities – which is why we are looking forward to support the national earthquake response in partnership with Mastercard on Pitches of Hope. The pitches will provide children with the safe spaces for fun, play and community they need at such a challenging time.”
The launch event also included a friendly match where children from the earthquake zone had the opportunity to play football with UEFA ambassadors. Following the launch event, the children will have the chance to tour Istanbul along with their families. On the 10th of June, the kids will enter the pitch with finalist teams and be player mascots at the UEFA Champions League Final and enjoy being Mastercard’s guests at the stadium, watching the final alongside their families.
Mastercard invites everyone who wishes to support the cause to the Tap-to-donate terminals in the official UEFA Champions League areas around Istanbul.
About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)
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