World Cup 2014: 'When I get the chance to help other people, I will do it straight away.'
Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.
By Bianca Brown
Friday, June 20: Switzerland v. France; Honduras v. Ecuador
In Ecuador, major initiatives have been launched in an effort to address poverty in the country. According to recent data, 27.3 percent of Ecuadorians live below the poverty line. Support from players, such as Antonio Valencia, and external programs to end poverty have been reported in recent news.
Valencia sent a "thank you" card and a signed shirt to reward the efforts of students who raised funds for the most poverty-stricken communities in Ecuador. Valencia himself experienced poverty as a child and recalls several instances where he had to help his parents perform small jobs, such as collecting bottles, to help support his family. He told the students, “The fundraising events that you have done so far have raised an amazing amount of money, which I am very grateful for. There are many children living in poverty in Ecuador, and I know the funds will be vital for the community, and also very much appreciated.”
France has a relatively small (7.9) percentage of the population living in poverty. It has been able to stop the spread of poverty and hunger by encouraging its citizens to take advantage of the educational and food assistance available.
The poverty-reduction goals that France has enacted are focused on, among other things, strengthening the institutional environment around food security. Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery, two French players who are avid supporters of organizations that work to end hunger, have been vocal about their dedication to this cause.
“Where I come from, people are very poor, and I would have been poor as well now, if it weren't for football," Ribery said. "I would probably be unemployed as well, like so many other people in the area.” Evra—a UNICEF Ambassador—says that, “as a father, I know how important it is to see my children eating food. When I think of other children who don’t have these things, I feel really sad. That’s why, when I get the chance to help other people, I will do it straight away.”
Photo: Antonio Valencia. (wikimedia)
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