Media Library: Press Release

FC Barcelona Foundation, Reach Out To Asia and UNICEF launch ‘1 in 11’ campaign
10 January 2015

  • FC Barcelona Foundation, Reach Out To Asia and UNICEF launch ‘1 in 11’ campaign
  • International sports stars and artists line up behind education for every child

9 January 2015 – FC Barcelona Foundation, Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) and UNICEF today launched the ‘1 in 11’ campaign to extend educational opportunities to marginalized children in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal, with the goal of expanding to more countries.

Globally, one in 11 primary school-age children – or 58 million out of 650 million children – are out of school. The majority are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable: children living in areas affected by conflict; children in extreme poverty; children with disabilities; children from indigenous communities. In addition, in many schools, sports programming does not exist, even though studies have shown that including sports in school curricula can inspire children to attend and stay in school, lead to better physical health, and help to improve their grades.  

The ‘1 in 11’ campaign will raise funds through individual donations and a major art auction at Sotheby’s in London on Thursday 12th February, featuring donated works by renowned artists including Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Richard Serra and Shirin Neshat. Hirst and Murakami have created specially commissioned works of art featuring Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona player, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and President of the Lionel Messi Foundation. Murakami designed the campaign logo.  

Lending their voices, and their athletic ability, to ‘1 in 11’, Messi and international tennis champion and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Serena Williams launched the #1 in 11 campaign film and ‘Keep Ups’ challenge – challenging people to  keep a ball up in the air for at least eleven touches.

A special global premiere screening of the campaign film, featuring both Messi and Williams attempting their own ‘Keep Ups’ challenge, will take place at half time on the big screens at Camp Nou stadium during the FC Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid match on Sunday 11th January.

The funds raised by ‘1 in 11’ will focus initially on education programmes in three countries.  In Indonesia, the campaign will support schools in six districts to include children with disabilities.  In Nepal, UNICEF has worked with the government to identify 10 priority districts that will offer sports programming for children up to secondary school, particularly aimed at breaking down the societal barriers for children with disabilities and including them in school.  In Bangladesh, the campaign’s focus will be on reaching out-of-school children.

Through the ‘Keep Ups’ challenge, Messi and Williams are inviting their fans and followers to join, donate to the campaign and share their own ‘Keep Ups’ via social media and at  

Lionel Messi said:
“I’m supporting the 1 in 11 campaign because I believe every child has the right to fulfil their potential and realise their dreams. Education is fundamental to this, but millions of children across the world are out of school and not getting the start in life they are entitled to.


“I believe that through sport we can teach values of respect, teamwork and effort, and ultimately inspire children to attend and stay on in school, so they will receive the quality education which will equip them with the skills they need for life.”

Serena Williams said:
“In many countries we take it for granted that every child has the right to receive a quality education, but ‘1 in 11’ children around the world do not enjoy that right – and without it, may never reach their full potential,” said Williams.  “We need to kick start global progress and get that number down to zero, so every child has the chance to learn.”

Takashi Murakami said:
“I’m delighted to be able to support the ‘1 in 11’ campaign through donating my artwork to the auction and designing the global campaign logo. I know the money raised by the campaign is going to help some of the most marginalised and vulnerable children across the world.

“’1 in 11’ will inspire the world that integrating sport and play into education can be the catalyst to unlock a child’s potential”.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said:
“Every child has the right to learn, to play, and to grow – and the ‘1 in 11’ campaign will help more children do so. We are delighted to work together with FC Barcelona and ROTA to get more children into the classroom and improve the quality of learning they receive there.”

FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu said:
“It is a great honour for the FC Barcelona Foundation to be a part of the ‘1 in 11’ campaign together with UNICEF and ROTA. As it is well known, Barça is “more than a club” and this means we have a social responsibility that goes beyond sport. This social force is essential to understand what we are and what we represent. This partnership is a new step forward for our Foundation in the common goal of reducing the number of children that do not have access to basic education. Furthermore, sport will play an essential role in this work, a fact that makes us proud, as sport and education have always been part of our club’s identity.”

 ROTA Director Essa Al Mannai said:
“ROTA is extremely honoured to take part in the ‘1 in 11’ campaign with UNICEF and FC Barcelona Foundation.  This campaign will further ROTA’s vision of a world in which all young people have access to the education and training they need in order to realise their full potential and shape the development of their communities. ROTA is well recognised across Asia for providing technical support and funding for education in the most marginalised communities, particularly aimed at getting children back to school in a post crisis context.  We help to rebuild schools and strengthen teacher training, and we promote the use of sports as an enabler to achieving education access and quality as we have a strong belief in the power of sports.  Our programmes are always delivered in partnership with affected communities and likeminded organisations who share similar goals and have a common commitment.  Through ‘1 in 11’, we will be able to work with our partners towards achieving the highest level of impact in the lives of out of school children.”

Visit to support the campaign, see the Messi and Williams campaign film and take part in the #1in11 Keep Ups challenge.

Previous Press Releases

ROTA reveals regional celebrities, sponsors & auction items for bi-annual Gala Dinner to support education projects in Asia and the Middle East

Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, today (Wednesday) unveiled details of its highly anticipated 5th Gala Dinner and charity event. Funds From Items Donated By Angelina Jolie, Al Fardan Automobiles, Nasser bin Khaled Holding and Al Shaqab Will Help Support Access To Education For Thousands In The West Bank, Nepal, Lebanon And Tunisia.

05 November 2014
Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Chairperson of Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) Signs 2014 Youth Declaration on Empowerment Through Sports

Her Highness Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, the Chairperson of Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), has signed during a press conference the ‘Empower Declaration 2014.’ This declaration entitled ‘Sports for Youth Empowerment’ was launched by a dozen of ROTA young volunteers from Qatar and the Gulf region, including Generation Amazing Youth Ambassadors from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy. This declaration comes as part of ROTA’s 6th Annual Youth Conference (Empower) organized by ROTA on 27 - 29 March, 2014.

03 November 2014
Youth in Qatar will teach Arabic to low-income workers through ROTA’s new Adult Arabic Literacy Program

Following the success of its Adult English Literacy Program, Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) today announced its Adult Arabic Literacy Program (RAAL), in collaboration  with Academic Bridge and Awsaj Academy. The program, which is sponsored by Qatar Petroleum, aims to educate workers from diverse language and cultural backgrounds in the fundamental skills of modern standard Arabic, thus helping them to grow their skills outside of their daily duties and expand their professional opportunities. As one of ROTA’s flagship Youth Engagement programs, this humanitarian program also gives young people in Qatar a unique opportunity to grow their skills as community leaders and advocates.

13 October 2014
Syndicate content