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27.08.2011

Luís Figo in an interview given to Revista Notícias de Sábado

What is it that touches you the most about solidarity work?

LF: What touches me the most is being able to see that our work truly contributes, and within our possibilities, for the improvement in the quality of life for those who, because of their health or their socioeconomic conditions, cannot fully enjoy their right to citizenship. The LFF is a private institution, nonprofit, that has successfully developed a work that is solidary and thorough, and that is its mission. It was by thinking of the premises of solidarity, equality, opportunity and contributing to the improvement in the quality of life of these children and youngsters in need that, in March of 2003, I decided to go forth with this project, which, fortunately, keeps growing, and has developped work that is consistent and reliable in the field of social responsibility.


Is there any story that has moved you in a special way?

LF: When you are dealing with delicate situations, which is, in fact, something we do on a daily basis at LFF, it is tough to single out a particular moment; regardless, I can indeed mention something that happened at one of our gatherings last Christmas. Around that time, we got a request that said something about "the life long dream of a young girl", which was to meet me! That young girl, who suffered from a rare condition, cannot, at the age of 17, read or write. We invited her to come to our LFF Christmas Circus show, and the moment we met was quite emotional; the smile, nervousness, tears of joy and emotion, and the happiness she showed gave me a special and tremendous sense of satisfaction, because you could tell that such a "small gesture" gave her so much happiness. It was quite memorable!


Because of the image soccer players have throughout the world, do they have an extra responsibility in terms of civic duty?

LF: It is indeed true that football is a worldwide mobilizing tool for masses, and that the figure of a professional athlete is seen quite often as an example for many young people. In my particular case, coming up with the idea for this Foundation was putting that sense of social responsibility and citizenship into practice.


Do you believe you are making a difference in the initiatives you promote and organize?

LF: The LFF develops its work in four areas of action, which are Health, Education, Sports and Social Action, and, through its own projects or in collaboration with other entities, its objective is to contribute to the creation of opportunities and to the improvement of the quality of life of those in need. I do believe that, yes, we have indeed been doing something good. There is always more that can be done, obviously, but our work has certainly helped plenty of children and youngsters improving the quality of their lives, and it has definitely contributed to them being able to access certain opportunities and experiences that, without our help, would not have been possible.


The LFL is already known outside of Portugal... Is that something that makes you proud?

LF: Our international projection has been achieved in these last few years through the All-Star's game, which is a football and solidarity game organized by LFF, and took place in Romania in 2008, Switzerland in 2009, Angola in 2010, and which took place in Viena in the 17th. With these games, we were able to help different institutions and causes, like UNICEF, Laureus, Ronald McDonald Association, IPSS - Movimento ao Serviço da Vida, building the House of Colors (Casa das Cores), which is a foster home for children in need. The revenue from last year's edition went to Swatch's new project, A Home For The World, which is the first temporary shelter Center for young refugees in Portugal. The funds from this year's game will go to our several projects.
These games, which are always associated with social causes, are our biggest "engine" for raising funds to develop and execute our several projects and initiatives that are part of our four fields of work.

I will also mention another project, taking place beyond our borders, in Mozambique, in a partnership with the "Um Pequeno Gesto" Association, and refers to the "sponsoring" we have given to those three orphaned children, to whom we have provided a "roof", by building them a new home, thus allowing them to have all the basic hygiene, comfort and health conditions that allow you to live a life worth living. We have also provided them with food, through the delivery of supplies, education, and some clothing.


What people tell you when they get in touch with your Foundation?

LF: For the journey that our Foundation has been going through, it is with pride that I can say that the feedback we've been getting has been quite positive. People thank our involvement and our cooperation, and to know that, as best as we possibly can, our work and our goals have been made possible, is very gratifying. A smile, a thank you, a child's drawing, those are the rewards that help us keep "growing" and believing in our mission.



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