Real Madrid star forward Cristiano Ronaldo is donating €100,000 to the physical rehabilitation programme of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Afghanistan. The Portuguese footballer was recently awarded the sum from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for having featured seven times – more than any other player – on the uefa.com user’s Team of the Year.
"The ICRC is delighted to receive, for the fifth consecutive year, this support for its physical rehabilitation activities in Afghanistan," said Caroline Welch-Ballentine, from the ICRC, who will be accepting the donation on behalf of the humanitarian organization. "That these activities – and more importantly, the need to help people who have lost their limbs – are viewed as a priority by UEFA and stars like Ronaldo continues to be greatly appreciated."
Ronaldo, who donated a similar amount to the ICRC in 2008, said: "For me it's a great honour to be able to help others, and it makes me extremely happy to do so."
UEFA’s partnership with the ICRC dates back to 1997, when European football’s governing body pledged its support for the ICRC’s anti-landmine campaign. This will be the fifth time that the ICRC will benefit from the cheque offered by UEFA in connection with the selection of the uefa.com users’ Team of the Year. Over the past few years, Barcelona stars Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernández and Carles Puyol have also donated their awards to the ICRC’s physical rehabilitation programme in Afghanistan.
Since 1988, the ICRC's limb-fitting and rehabilitation programme in the country has helped more than 90,000 mine victims and other disabled people. Apart from supporting their physical rehabilitation, the ICRC also helps disabled people play a vital role in the community by financing education, vocational training, employment and small-business activities.
Photo: Kabul, Afghanistan. Eighteen-year-old Shah Poor (right), lost the use of his legs in an accident when he was four, and limps heavily. According to rehabilitation programme head Alberto Cairo, Poor turns into a tiger when he plays basketball. Shah Poor was named “man of the match” for his role in Maimana’s victory.
The four-day wheelchair basketball championship took place under a cloudless summer sky on 15 June at the ICRC physical rehabilitation centre in Kabul. The ICRC organized the tournament in close cooperation with the Afghan Para-Olympic Committee, and patients, ICRC staff and the public all came to cheer the players on.
© ICRC / J. Barry