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Rafa Nadal Foundation opens help centre for deprived children in Valencia
By thinkSPAIN Team Mon, Nov 4, 2019
TO CELEBRATE his return to the ATP world number one slot, Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal plans to open a shelter for 'vulnerable' children in Valencia.
Kids from dysfunctional backgrounds, orphans, unaccompanied migrant children, or youngsters whose families cannot afford to feed them will be taken in and given schooling, including remedial educational help, sports facilities and tuition, and plenty of chance to play – all of which is aimed at helping their future integration into society and aid them in mixing with other children, and to learn about responsibility, effort and equality, among other crucial values.
It has taken three months to renovate the council-owned building in the Natzaret neighbourhood of Spain's third-largest city – one of its districts with the highest level of 'social exclusion' in children and adults – for it to be handed over to the Rafa Nadal Foundation to run as a centre for 40 kids.
Renovations have been sponsored by Marcapital, and the shelter is expected to take in its first children by the middle of November.
It will not be a residential centre, but will offer day facilities including meals, hands-on play, and child counselling.
This is the Rafa Nadal Foundation's second centre of its type, aimed at giving residents in a district a second opportunity at life, especially the youth.
The previous one was set up in Palma de Mallorca in 2014 and, after five years of attending to 450 children, is testimony to the success such shelters can achieve.
“Now, the time has come to take a step forward and transfer that experience to Valencia, where we have detected a clear need in a specific neighbourhood,” says María Francisca ('Mery') Perelló, head of strategy and institutional relations – and Rafa Nadal's wife of 17 days.
Mery, who married the tennis star on October 19 in a high-security ceremony at the Sa Fortalesa estate near their birth town of Manacor, Mallorca, works with her new mother-in-law Ana María Parera, who set up the foundation jointly with her son in 2008.
The foundation works largely with deprived children and young people in Spain, but also in India, where a sports academy for boys and girls in an impoverished rural area is among its star projects.
Talent promotion is one of the foundation's pillars, and the others focus on education and integration 'so all children can realise their maximum potential in life, wherever they come from', and helping kids with disabilities.
The above photograph, taken by the Rafa Nadal Foundation, shows the newly-renovated centre.
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