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12.02.2009 17:17

Exciting day for Bathalapalli

Marc Parramon (enviat especial)

This Thursday there was much media expectation surrounding the inauguration of the first XICS centre in Asia, specifically in Bathalapalli (India). More than 300 people were there for the opening.

At four in the afternoon (local time) the FC Barcelona president opened the new XICS centre by unveiling a plaque written in three languages: Catalan, Telugu (the language in the region) and English. Shortly after unveiling the plaque, president Joan Laporta and the general director of the Foundation, Marta Segú, broke open a coconut, a traditional act in the region at to mark the end of a project and bring about good luck.

This symbolic gesture was followed by a football match, for which the Barça president took the honorary kick off.

Collaboration with Fundación Vicente Ferrer

india_www.fcbarcelona.cat_x4x.jpg“It is an honour to get this project started”, said Joan Laporta. Indeed, after two years of work and close collaboration with the Fundación Vicente Ferrer, today was the culmination of a project that has brought much excitement. “This project is being run to promote the social inclusion of the Dalits and we want to encourage the people in this area to make the most of this chance.”

The Barça president also thanked the Fundación Vicente Ferrer for its collaboration with this project. “I have to highlight the work done by the Fundación Vicente Ferrer because not only are they intelligent, but generous too to have agreed to participate in this XICS project”.

In fact, before the inauguration, the Barça entourage went to visit one of this charity organisation’s offices in the same district, the Bukkaraya Samudram centre, which holds workshops for the handicapped and also Kaluakari workshops.

Coincident project

india_www.fcbarcelona.cat_x3x.jpgThis NGO believes that the XICS centres have a lot in keeping with their own ideas. “Here at the Fundación Vicente Ferrer, we believe that sport is important for promoting development. The XICS fit in well with our philosophy because they provide access to education and leisure through sport”, said the subdirector of programmes at the FVF (Fundación Vicente Ferrer), Moncho Ferrer.

Ferrer elaborated further, explaining how today is an especially exciting day for the children of Bathalapalli. “It is the first the children in this town have ever touched a computer” he said.

Visit to the district

india_www.fcbarcelona.cat.jpgAfter the inauguration and along with Jordi Folgado, the general director of the Fundación Vicente Ferrer in Spain and Moncho Ferrer, subdirector of programmes for the same organisation, the group went to visit one of the classrooms at this new XICS centre. They watched as classes were given on computing, maths and English. Local and regional authorities, such as the Governor for the District of Anantapur and the councillor for sports in the region, joined the Barça representatives.
Exciting day for Bathalapalli
Major media presence
The inauguration has attracted plenty of both local and international media interest. Such television channels as CNN-IBN, ESPN and SDTV and the newspapers ‘Dhindu’, ‘Indian Times’ and ‘El Periódico de Catalunya’ attended the inauguration.
According to the CNN-IBN correspondent, Abhrir V.P, Barça’s action is something extraordinary. “It is fascinating that in times of crisis a club like Barça will invest money in vulnerable children in India. It is highly significant that Barça has chosen a town like Bathalapalli rather than the big cities of Calcutta or Bombay”.
Tonight in India, the Barça reps will be welcomed by the Ferrer family themselves.

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