Football was Luka Modrić’s escape from the reality of grenades exploding around the refugee hotels where his family lived for years, after fleeing Croatian Serb rebels who killed his grandfather and other elderly civilians in their home in Zadar.
He led Croatia to its first World Cup Final in 2018 and won the Golden Ball award after scoring two goals in the tournament. France were crowned champions after winning 4-2 but for Modrić, 35, his country’s most-capped player, football is a beautiful opportunity to shine.
Sport creates safe and protective environments where a person can grow and discover his potential, as Modrić proves. It can help one heal after going through tough times and bring people together as teammates and friends. And as anyone who has cheered an underdog athlete on knows, it inspires others to believe that they too can go faster and higher.
With all these in focus, UNHCR is organising a #dreamball design contest in which the five best designs will be made into footballs stitched by refugees and host community members in Kenya, through Alive and Kicking, an ethical ball manufacturing company. These balls will be sold online to support sport activities for refugees.
The organisation is also hosting a Youth with Refugees art contest on the theme Together through Sport, which welcomes entries by anyone aged between 10 and 30, highlighting how sports can connect people and give them a sense of hope.
The best creations will be shared with UNHCR’s 10 million followers on social media and feature in a digital exhibition. Finalists will receive special prizes from the UN Refugee Agency. The deadline is June 25.
See here more details.
This article first appeared on June 14, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.