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Laureus Summit interview series: Utopia, Mexico

Copyrights: Laureus Sport for Good Foundation

Laureus Summit interview series: Utopia, Mexico

"I would like to see sport for development take a leading role in world discussions." -Jesús Villalobos, General Director of Utopia

sportanddev.org recently attended the Laureus Summit in Paris, where more than 130 organisations from all corners of the globe – all funded by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation – gathered to share best practice and discuss the future of sport for development. We spoke to five projects about what they do, and what they gained from the Summit.

sportanddev.org: Tell us about your project

Jesús Villalobos: Utopia works with children and teenagers in Chimalhuacán, Mexico. We use combat sports like karate and provide education sessions for children who live in this very violent neighbourhood, where there is a high rate of poverty. We currently support 97 children, and work with the only school in the community. Our funding comes from Laureus and the World Children’s Fund, and some companies in Mexico. We did have government funding in 2014 but it ended. The Government opened up a fund, and asked organisations to apply. It lasts for a year or two and then you have to apply again, and we didn’t get it again.

What is the benefit of attending the Summit?

It’s very good because I get to meet people from all over the world, many of them using the same type of projects that we use. It’s good to know if we are doing the right things, and look down the path to see where we are going and what might happen in the future. You can talk to other organisations who have been where we are now, and learn from their experiences.

What would you like to see happen in the sport for development sector over the next five years?

I would like to see sport for development take a leading role in world discussions, for example at the United Nations. It’s always on the second stage, I wish it could be the main character and take a primary role. When governments try to solve poverty or hunger, or any social issue like this, they can’t see that sport is transversal and could help to solve many things. They only see the short term, and don’t see sport as a tool for change in the long term. I would like that to change.

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Simon Lansley

Published

Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 10:16

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