Sheqayli Ascenсion and Jaydon Nicolaas are representing Aruba at the Gazprom International Children’s Social Program Football for Friendship 2020. This year the project is held online on November 27 – December 10. Despite the fact it moved digital, Football for Friendship kept its traditional events such as experts’ forum, Friendship Camp and Press Center for children and even the World Championship where usually boys and girls were playing in mixed teams that became a World Championship as the organizers created a football simulator to play the game online.
“Football for Friendship is a wonderful program,” Sheqayli said. “And it is really important that the organizers were able to keep it and move it into the online format despite all the circumstances. This project supports, inspires and motivates children all over the world! But I believe we still miss that human touch where we can mingle and chit chat in person. The person to person connection is very important.”
Sheqayli, 14-year-old, became a F4F Award expert. She was a part of the jury during the International Football for Friendship Forum. The jury consisted either of the adults who are working in the football sphere for many years or of several F4F Young Ambassadors of the program, so Sheqayli was among them as she participated in Football for Friendship in 2018.
This season all the forum participants were sharing their projects and initiatives connected with football that were launched during the global lockdown. The winner of the F4F International Award will be announced during the Grand Final which will be broadcast live on YouTube on December 9, 1 pm. Sheqayli will be the one to participate in the Grand Final show too. By now there is a short list of the projects and who are the main candidates on receiving the award.
“It was a wonderful experience for me. As for me one of the most interesting projects was ‘Show us your hobbies’ by Zenit Gazprom academy where they shared their hobbies through a short video, I really liked that they not only helped them with football but also their own hobbies and so they could get to know more about each other, and it was nice seeing how all of them had different interests,” the Aruban shares.
Despite her experience Sheqayli was among the first to join the Good News Editorial Office when the pandemic started. Young journalists of the program shared some positive news from their countries and regions to support people all around the world. As a part of the Good News she did an interview with the Aruban footballer Ronald Gomez.
Another Aruban youngster is Jaydon Nicolaas. He is only 12 but he is quite passionate about TV reporting and sports. He became a Young Journalist of Football for Friendship this season and is making different reports for the program in collaboration with the Aruban Football Association (AVB). He didn’t miss a chance to speak to Sheqayli during the season and conducted the interview with her.
About the programme:
The International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship is implemented by Gazprom since 2013. Over the previous seven seasons, the programme has united over 6 000 participants from 211 countries and regions and over 5 000 000 supporters.
Young Players and Young Journalists are the participants of the programme – boys and girls aged 12 including children with disabilities. Young Players represent different countries and cultures united in the mixed teams. They show that nationality, gender, and physical abilities aren’t a barrier to becoming a team. Young Journalists cover the events of the programme in the International Children’s Press Center. All participants become Young Ambassadors of the programme and continue to share their Football for Friendship experience and promote universal human values: friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honor.