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8 July — Curaçao

World Oceans Day: Art Challenge


The 2023-2024 Future Goals academic year wrapped up with elementary students from fourteen schools around the island competing in an immersive plastic Art Challenge, with a grand prize recognition of having their work appear on billboards across Curaçao.

On May 23, 180 students gathered at the Maritiem Museum Curacao to present their creative plastic art projects made from PET bottles, caps, and packing materials. Students explained their masterpieces to a panel of judges from Sandals Resorts, Sandals Foundation, the Ajax Coaching Academy (ACA), and local company Limpi Recycling – who together founded and operate the popular program that repurposes plastic waste and fishing nets lost at sea into colorful football goals for school children.

Each team had just 60 seconds to impress the judges with their work, competing for the big prize: representing their schools on 14 personalized billboards to be unveiled on World Oceans Day celebrated each year on June 8th. With the billboards, the Future Goals organization hopes to inspire more people to take care of Curaçao and its natural resources.

“The Ajax Coaching Academy helped to develop a program based on our core value: teaching kids how to win. Today showed the result of two years of shaping young champions who understand how our actions affect the planet. Their art is full of hope towards a positive future,” said Roy Lagendijk - Football expert ACA. “We focused on their creativity, use of materials, and the stories behind their artwork. We're really proud to see all the beautiful work and stories out here today.’’

The Future Goals program, in partnership with Limpi Recycling, is a one-of-a-kind initiative that builds on youngsters’ love of the game of football while teaching life skills and empowering participants to take care of their environment by making soccer goals from fishing nets and plastic waste. Since its start in 2022, students from 23 primary schools - 63 classes in total - have taken part in an 8-week curriculum of classroom and field lessons taught by local Future Coaches trained by the Ajax Coaching Academy.

“The Future Goals Art Challenge was designed to spark creativity, storytelling, and innovation in students, while also inspiring the community to follow their example,” said Patrice Gilpin, Public Relations Manager at Sandals Foundation.

To date, 1,750 kg of plastic and 190 m² fishing nets have been pulled from the ocean and repurposed into 46 football goals and counting. Additionally, 40 classes totaling 880 children have received lessons on the importance of ocean conservation in alignment with the Future Goals program.

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Do you have a question about Future Goals? Want to get involved? Or are you representing a primary school and want to enroll? We would like to hear from you!