Mexico City - The Universidad Estatal del Valle de Ecatepec has been working with Inter Campus since 2013, welcoming the children of the municipality with the same name (El Ecatepec, one of the largest in Latin America) on their university pitches while also actively working with Inter Campus in a research project focused on the children, their families and coaches.
A unique project, just like all of those run by Inter Campus, which allowed a series of exchange meetings to take place, starting with Mattei Alin, a Romanian Inter Campus coach in VâV'lcea, who got the chance to meet all the coaches of Inter Campus Mexico and all the children from a different project centre to his own on one of our annual missions.
“The first stop was at the university, where the first thing that struck me was the similarities between the Mexican and Romanian people: both joyful, friendly, lively, optimistic, warm and welcoming. An extremely interesting aspect of the joint research project between Inter Campus and UNEVE is the healthy diet program for children who often suffer from serious obesity problems. The lifestyle promoted by Inter Campus through football, exercise, dynamic games and a healthy diet actually helps the children in the project. It was an educational journey both from the point of view of discovering a new world and a new world of Inter Campus, one that has enriched me both as a human and a professional, helping me to meet friendly and extraordinarily welcoming people from whom I can always learn. Thank you to all my Inter Campus friends!”
Every year the University organises an international academic event called “Verano de Investigacion”, where sensitive issues such as communication between communities, peace and the values of sport are discussed in depth. Inter Campus regularly takes an active part in this event through its delegation, also involving guests, coaches and educators from abroad, just like Emanuele Terracini: “Participating in an international academic event and talking about sport and peace in a country new to me was all very constructive. I didn’t really know about the social problems in Mexico, and discovering them together with the children of Inter Campus UNEVE on the pitch and then together with the coaches and university teachers at the international conference on Peace and Sport was a unique experience,” said Emanuele, a coach for the Israel and Palestine project.
“Using football as a means of education, one that appeals to the different needs of children, whether it’s ethnic integration as in Israel and Palestine, or as a means of prevention of social problems as in Mexico, is more or less the same thing and the results are similar, i.e. union, happiness, breaking down barriers, building relationships. It’s a powerful instrument of union and peace that even in university lecture halls is worth discussing. Bearing my small testimony, I felt like an ambassador of peace through sport, and discussing it on round tables with people from around the world was an enriching experience. I won’t forget this trip to Mexico in a hurry, the smiles of the children, the cheerfulness of the coaches, their ability to adapt to situations and risk; an experience that I will take back with me to the fields of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, a bridge of peace and passion with football as a common denominator. Thank you Inter Campus!”
From Mexico to the Middle East... that’s coach Tamara Rodriguez’s story in the exchange project, as she spoke of her experience in Israel and Palestine as a discovery of a new world of cultures and beliefs, at the same time reaffirming the values that Inter Campus spreads, creating as inclusive an environment as possible for the children involved, where the number one priority is to feel good and have fun. “And the children were happy on the pitch! Then, talking with the coaches, I learned about dramatic family situations very similar to those experienced by the children in Ecatepec, such as absent fathers, the precarious economic situation, and the resulting difficulties in managing the children's emotions, a picture made even more complex by the perennial ethnic-political-religious conflict. This experience has strengthened my love for the Inter Campus project even further, that through the game of football teaches children the importance of mutual respect and values, spreading hope and love that children then gradually start to circulate themselves both on and off the pitch. I believe that Inter Campus’ noblest goal can be summed up in Oscar Wilde's words: “The best way to make children good is to make them happy.”