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15. June 2005

Football Rwanda 1

f.l.t.r.: Ambassador Gasana, Minister Liese Prokop, State Secretary Karl Schweitzer and Edit Schlaffer with the soccer outfits

Soccer Rwanda 2

f.l.t.r.: Ambassador Gasana, Minister Prokop, State Secretary Schweitzer and Edit Schlaffer at the event in the Home Ministry in Vienna

Rwanda "Kicking for Reconciliation!"

Presentation of the Project in the Home Ministry in Vienna, June 13th 2005

A Girls Football Project in Rwanda
Self-confidence, competence, trauma healing through sport

On June 13th the project “Kicking for Reconciliation” was presented together with Home Minister Liese Prokop, State Secretary Karl Schweitzer and the Ambassador for the democratic Republic of Rwanda, Eugene-Richard Gasana in the Home Ministry Vienna.

The “Austrian Sport” organised sponsors for the outfits of the 160 girls which were given over within the scope of this event symbolically to the Ambassador.

Edit Schlaffer Chairperson Women without Borders:

Dear Minister, dear Ambassador, dear State Secretary, der Journalists and attendees,

in the name of  Women without Borders I want to thank you for supporting us realizing this important project which indeed is small, but very emblamatic. The Rwandan female youth will train football together, Hutus and Tutsis. 10 girls football teams will start to train, they are kicking for reconciliation.
You all know how dramatic the past in Rwanda was. "Never again" is the slogan of the young people in Rwanda and that is what is linking up Austria and Rwanda. We say never again hate and prosecution; that’s our joint vision for a modern civil society. The future of Rwanda is in competent female hands. Democracy all over the world implies the participation and inclusion of women. Austria made a big step forward in that respect, but Rwanda is even ahead: 50% of the parliamentarians are women. That’s a wonderful message to the world.

We hope that the Rwandese and the Austrian youth will come together trough the powerful tool of sport, which cuts across borders and prejudices. We hope that these young girls will train their future leadership skills on the football fields and exercise their skills in the parliament, in the local corporate world contributing to a democratic Rwanda. The participation fo pomen in politics and development is the biggest guarantor for democracy and peace. And through football the rwandese girls have the possibility to train what is essential for civil society: Team spirit, rules of the game, accepting defeats, giving others a chance and above all solidarity.

Women without Borders will invite Rwandese girls for a “Leadership for Peace” Camp to build bridges to the Austrian youth and to kick for friendship and understanding.

Our special thanks to the Bundeskanzleramt and the "Austrian Sport", and in particular to Robert Pelousek, who made the sponsoring of  professional outfits for 160 girls possible.

Home Minister Liese Prokop:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you that it was possible to realize this event in the Oktogon of the Home ministry in that short time.
I have two roles today: on the one hand as the home minister I’m happy that such projects exist. Particularly in this year, 2005, the year of remembrance, we are also responsible for Austria’s memorial places. Never again is also for us a very important slogan. And we have to struggle for this on all levels, not only in Austria, but in general we have to struggle for democracy and we have to be aware that such things never happen again.
On the other hand I´m also a sports official of a huge Austrian umbrella association and it was a pleasure for us helping in realizing this project, to support and develop this great Women without Borders project.

I want to thank you for this, I think that´s a really exemplary initiative, because Rwanda went through a traumatic time during the genocide; in a very short time hundred thousands of people lost their life and especially women suffered from that happenings.
There are already 50% women in the parliament in Rwanda - they show that they are able to reach big goals. Congratulations to you Mister Ambassador.
I believe that sport is a really good tool to boost international understanding, self awareness and self consciousness and democratic understanding.
And I´m really happy that in the capital Kigali both groups, Tutsis as well as Hutus, will be trained and play together, that they go this way together. Then we will soon have Rwandese teams participating in world championships and the Austrians will have to bestir themselves to be able to keep up with them. I´m convinced that through such systematical work for reconciliation everybody will be inspired.

I wish you all the best, I wish you that this project will work very well and add to consolidation of the situation in Rwanda.

Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana:

Thank you very much dear Minister, dear State Secretary.
It’s an honour and a pleasure to be here today. I´m really moved and I feel very honoured what you are doing for my country, especially for our mothers, for our sisters, for our women and our grandmas.

I think sport has no borders, like the slogan of Women without Borders: Sport doesn’t know borders, doesn´t know banners, and sport has no prejudices. There is only one goal – the goal to win, but to win together.

I prepared a speech, but I prefer speaking heartfelt. I want to thank you for everything you are doing, for all your good thoughts, for realizing such a project and making happy our people - that´s the future of Rwanda. It´s true that Rwanda went through a bad time, everybody knows it, but we are on a good way.
How Goethe said when he described the meeting of people as breathing in and breathing out. I give you something and I´ll get back something from you. I hope that especially because of such happenings and projects that what we went through will not happen again. The same happened in Europe 50 or 60 years ago, that´s possible in every part of the world. Nobody is spared out of such things. It also could happen again here, nobody knows, that´s why you always have to be watchful. And that´s why I also hope that you will send your children to Rwanda one day; but also Austrian adults should come to Rwanda, to Kigali, to interact with the people there and to find out how we could anticipate such happenings the next time, in the whole world.

I’m happy because of all the love and support through the Bundeskanzleramt, you and all the sponsors. Thank you very much!
And special thanks you very much Women without Borders.

Click here to read more about the project "Kicking for Reconciliation".


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