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‘The shirt that narrates the most tales’, FC Barcelona’s worldwide initiative to promote awareness of human rights abuses

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, FC Barcelona and its Foundation have initiated a global campaign during the holiday season as a demonstration of the institution’s societal dedication, particularly through the activities of the Foundation. This campaign underscores the institution’s societal and charitable approach and expounds on the reason why Barça is “Més que un Club”.

The motto of the campaign is “The shirt that narrates the most tales”, a poignant tale involving an FC Barcelona shirt, the very same one that numerous migrants wear after leaving their homes in pursuit of a better life due to reasons such as war, persecution, or poverty. The shirt symbolizes the stories of millions of individuals who strive each day to lead a respectable life.

Many of these individuals have to trek across vast expanses of desert, risk crossing the sea in precarious vessels, and many arrive in Spain, Italy, and Greece wearing the Barça shirt. Others don’t even make it. Consequently, in Senegal and other West African countries, the expression “Barça or Barzakh” exists i.e. “Barça or death”. The shirt represents a future, a new life, the realization of the European dream. A dream that unfortunately remains unattained for many, as upon reaching their destination, they end up residing in refugee camps, detention centers, or are left marginalized without documentation or rights in the host country.

We use “the shirt that narrates the most tales” as the fundamental component of the campaign to condemn the ongoing human rights violations occurring globally, which constitutes a collective challenge as we are still far from rectifying them even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 75 years ago.

This campaign emphasizes the Barça Foundation’s initiatives and FC Barcelona’s societal dedication to advocate for human rights and aid individuals enduring extremely vulnerable circumstances in society, particularly children and young people.

Content of the campaign

With the objective of showcasing the work of the FC Barcelona Foundation and their global programs and activities, the “shirt that narrates the most tales” campaign commenced on January 4. The campaign will recount the story of the millions of individuals seeking a brighter future and the significant number who have done so while wearing a Barça shirt. A collective story embodied by Mamadou Día, a Senegalese man who departed his country on a boat and arrived in Europe’s coastal regions in 2006. He is now an author and activist, and has established an institution called Hahatay in Senegal in collaboration with the Barça Foundation.

The campaign commenced with the unveiling of a silhouette of a Barça shirt inside a methacrylate case at Barcelona’s Plaça de la Universitat. The structure will be on display on January 4 and 5, and a QR code can be scanned to access the campaign video and a link to the Foundation’s website to learn about their work.

The video aims to depict the collective experience of migrants, refugees, and displaced persons, featuring a 3D character navigating through different settings encountered during the quest for a better life. This video has also been exhibited on screens in New York and Tokyo, at iconic locations such as Times Square and the Shinjuku district respectively. The objective is to extend the global reach and promote awareness of FC Barcelona’s dedication to solidarity.

Projection of the campaign video at Times Square in New York

Subsequent events will feature the participation of the FC Barcelona president, players, activists, and influencers, who will spread the message via the Club’s platforms and their personal networks.

The campaign “The shirt that narrates the most tales” will climax on January 8 with a major event at the port of Barcelona which will be attended by the president of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, and the general director of the Foundation, Dr. Marta Segú. This event will also feature a special appearance by Mamadou Dia, who will serve as the focal point of the campaign.

On the same day, the structure containing the symbolic silhouette of the Barça shirt will be placed on the sea to symbolize the perilous journey undertaken by numerous migrants worldwide. Furthermore, the structure will include various panels recounting Mamadou Dia’s story, along with the stories of different young individuals who arrived in Catalonia and are participating in FC Barcelona Foundation inclusivity programs.

The Foundation and the global human rights cause

Although it was established nearly 30 years ago, it was in 2003 when the FC Barcelona Foundation took on the role of exercising FC Barcelona’s societal commitment and giving substance to the “Més que un Club” slogan through their social projects. They strive to enhance the lives of vulnerable children and young people by implementing projects in three main areas – Education and Protection, Emotional Wellbeing and Health, and Community Action – employing a comprehensive approach to utilize sport as a tool for societal transformation and to inculcate values.

The commitment to the cause of migrants, refugees, and displaced persons globally has been substantial for years, as this segment undergoes the most challenging circumstances. A global partnership with UNICEF was established in 2006, with the pledge to support children in various countries worldwide. Work has been carried out in refugee camps in Greece since 2017, providing shelter to children and families who had to flee their home countries. The 2022 global partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has positioned Barça as a distinguished elite sports club in the realm of the cause of refugees and displaced persons. Local programs have been underway throughout Catalonia since 2006 to benefit vulnerable children and young people, as well as those facing societal risks. Initiatives have also been implemented to safeguard children and adolescents from any form of violence during their upbringing since 2017, both in educational institutions and in the realm of sports.

FC Barcelona and the Foundation devised the Childhood Protection System to prevent, promptly identify, and assist any child or adolescent who might encounter/encountered any form of violence.

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