top of page
  • Writer's pictureChris Thomas

Leo Messi & Expo 2020 Dubai

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

Registered in January 2017, Football for Humanity is a non-profit non-government organisation dedicated to using sport and the power of play to inspire, empower and transform the lives of children affected by extreme poverty, natural disasters, and armed conflict.

Our initiatives include building football infrastructure such as our unique small-sided, five-a-side enclosed spaces, establishing football development and educational programs, conducting one-off football trainings and events, donating old and new football equipment, assisting talented but underprivileged youth to seek scholarships, and other charitable initiatives that may be implemented by its partners who are themselves NGOs engaged in social development programs locally and nationally.

We recently launched the "Play for Goals" movement, which is an expanded community development program with the 5-a-side pitch being the central component. Other components to these types of projects are the building of libraries and clean water systems that address the educational, health, and well-being needs of the community and its children. For this project, FFH has partnered with Library Renewal Partnerships and Waves for Water in bringing these facilities to marginalised communities all over the Philippines, starting with Zonta Village in Barangay Tibungco, Davao City, which was implemented in partnership with local sports and peace organisations, namely Maharlika Sports Development Institute, Davao South Regional FA and the Mindanao Peace Council.

Towards end of 2018, the foundation was awarded a donation of “unpoppable” soccer balls by One World Play, the creator of the unpoppable balls which were a “solution for kids living in harsh conditions where standard soccer balls don’t last long.” One World Play, with its sponsors, has distributed over 2 million balls impacting over 60 million youth whose lives are empowered and enriched by play. This initial donation is currently being distributed via individuals and organisations who lead football development programs for Filipino youth.

A few weeks after receiving the initial donation, Lisa Tarver, the founder and chief impact officer of One World Play Project informed founder Chris Thomas that Expo 2020 Dubai was set to donate 2,020 durable balls to Football for Humanity. The balls represent Expo 2020’s aim to facilitate collaboration and the strengthening of ties within communities, while spreading happiness.

The initiative is part of a campaign that includes a video starring Expo 2020 global ambassador Lionel Messi, sharing the message that the world is better when we act together.

In his role with Expo 2020 Dubai, Messi said: “A football team can only succeed by working together, and the same is true of humanity. When people from different nations, cultures and backgrounds come together we can better address global challenges and create a brighter future for generations to come.” Expo 2020 Dubai is giving 2,020 durable footballs to children in Jordan and Kenya, as well as the Philippines, totaling 6,060 balls.

“These are the very same values we promote in Football for Humanity, where our credo is Bringing nations together. It’s very inspiring and motivating to be part of a movement that cuts across countries, regardless of race or creed, to promote that dream of unity,” added Chris Thomas who has often been quoted on his belief in the “power of play” to bring about social change.

“Football for Humanity is very fortunate, and thankful to be able to be the channel which will be able to bring the joy, and the power of football, to thousands of Filipino youth. These donations, these projects are a testament to the goodness of the human spirit, and that we are very proud to be associated with individuals and organisations, here and abroad, who build, who uplift, who reach out to inspire and motivate in the midst of difficulty and suffering. Football does bring hope, “ concluded Belle Tiongco, co-founder of FFH.

With Sport and Play as the transformational catalyst, the "Play for Goals" movement is open to developing new partnerships that are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Get in touch today and find out how we may be able to collaborate towards a more peaceful and progressive future for all, especially for the children!

170 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page