Geneva, Switzerland / Silver Spring, MD—The Brazilian soccer player Neymar Jr. became the new International Ambassador of the award-winning international NGO Handicap International today during an event at Geneva’s Place des Nations. Through this partnership, Neymar is lending his huge fame to a good cause: empowering the most vulnerable people in the world, people with disabilities living in poor countries, victims of conflicts and natural disasters.
The first action of Neymar Jr. as an ambassador of Handicap International was to send a message of support to people with disabilities across the world. At about 3:30 pm in Geneva, he went on the top of the 39-foot Broken Chair monument and called for more inclusion of people with disabilities in society. Symbolically, this message took the shape of a soccer ball with the logo of Handicap International on it. He then kicked the ball down the line of flags that lead to the Palace of Nations. The event was followed by a press conference hosted by the United Nations Office in Geneva.
Broken Chair is the work of the Swiss artist Daniel Berset, erected 20 years ago by Handicap International in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva to call for a ban on antipersonnel landmines.
More broadly speaking, Neymar Jr. chose to engage with Handicap International and to promote all of the charity’s work alongside persons with disabilities in 56 countries.
The star and Handicap International initially met in 2016 to discuss access to prostheses for amputee children, a subject that’s particularly close to Neymar Jr.’s heart, and a cause he has already supported. He wanted to support similar actions on a global scale, and got to know Handicap International’s prosthetic and orthotic programs.
In October 2016, Neymar Jr. showed his support to Haitians impacted by the devastating Hurricane Matthew by urging his followers on social media to support our work in the hard-hit nation.
In future, Neymar hopes to travel to the field to see Handicap International’s projects in person, but this has not yet been possible due to his busy schedule.
Neymar is Handicap International’s first International Ambassador. In North America, Handicap International benefits from the committed support of two Goodwill Ambassadors: American pilot, motivational speaker and RightFooted star Jessica Cox, and Canadian Dark Matter actor Anthony Lemke.
About Handicap International
Handicap International is an independent international aid organization. It has been working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster for 35 years. Working alongside persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, our action and testimony are focused on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions, and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Handicap International has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. Offices in Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States work constantly to mobilize resources, jointly manage projects and to increase the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. Handicap International is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997; and the winner of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2011. Handicap International takes action and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task.