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May 19th, Willemstad - Children in Curaçao are celebrating new goals, as AFC Ajax and Sandals Resorts International (SRI), together with its philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation, launch an island-wide program that creatively turns fishing nets sourced from the ocean and plastic waste into colorful football goals. Through the new Future Goals program, primary schools across the Dutch Caribbean island are set to receive new football equipment, accompanied by a sports program designed by the professional football team. With a common objective of empowering children through the game of football and providing the resources to play, the program marks the beginning of a collaboration between AFC Ajax and SRI, which is opening a new resort on the island.
Future Goals is a movement to encourage children in Curaçao to play and enjoy football with sustainably produced resources. Starting with the proper equipment – goals and balls – the program will be further developed based on the needs of each respective island, with the ultimate goal to scale the program throughout the Caribbean. In Curaçao, Ajax and Sandals Resorts will work to outfit all primary schools across the island with Future Goals, complemented by a curriculum designed by AFC Ajax coaches. The eight-week program will focus on the power of football as a vehicle to equip children with life skills, while growing their awareness of the importance of taking care of their communities, precious islands and their natural resources. Future Coaches, local youth trained by Ajax coaches, will organize and teach the program, with the curriculum culminating in an islandwide football tournament where all participating schools compete.
Ensuring the Future Goals program fulfills its commitment to the island’s locals and workforce, the program taps into Curaçao based plastic recycling company, Limpi, which is in charge of manufacturing the goals from fishing nets sourced from the ocean and plastic waste. Additionally, the local youth trained by Ajax coaches, the Future Coaches, are recruited from the island by Favela Street, a foundation that aims to turn youngsters into role models by the game of football, and through a special education curriculum.
Edwin van der Sar, CEO AFC Ajax: “Ajax is on a mission to impact the future of football on a global level. This starts with the youth – our next generation. That is why we do everything in our power to inspire future generations. Together with Sandals Resorts we are eager to facilitate impactful football programs for children in Curaçao and the rest of the Caribbean. Starting here at MGR. Niewindt College in Curaçao.”
Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation: ‘’Future Goals brilliantly encapsulates Sandals’ unwavering commitment to empower our islands in the Caribbean through our philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation, and our core pillars of education, environment and community. Enveloping ourselves in the destination was part of the blueprint as we rolled out the plans for Sandals Royal Curaçao – a new island for Sandals and a new opportunity to expand our impact — and this one-of-a-kind partnership with Ajax is a sign of our promise to generations to come.”
The first Future Goals recipient, Jeanne Hellburg, Head Principal at primary school MGR. Niewindt College, said: “You truly see and feel what football does for the kids; you give them a ball and a goal, and nothing else matters anymore. Future Goals is a real gift to us and the children.”
To donate, visit the Sandals Foundation page: sandalsfoundation.org/donation