News stories - road to 2022


Samuel Eto’o visits Education Above All foundation-supported school in Malaysia

In the presence of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) Ambassador Samuel Eto'o has taken part in his first official engagement since joining the road to 2022, as he visited a school for refugee children in Malaysia.

The former Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Inter Milan star was recently unveiled as an SC Ambassador and travelled to Kuala Lumpur to witness first-hand the work the Education Above All foundation is carrying out.

Founded in 2012 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza, Education Above All foundation aims to build a global movement that contributes to human, social and economic development through providing access to a quality education for all. With a particular focus on those affected by poverty, conflict and natural disaster, the foundation champions the needs of children, young people and women to empower them and help them progress.

“It is clear from what I have seen here in Malaysia that quality primary education can truly change the course of a child's life,” said Her Highness Sheikha Moza, “Equipping refugees with knowledge and skills means they can be assets to their host countries and later support the rebuilding of their home countries. I'm proud of the work being done here and thankful to Malaysia and its people for helping these children access a better future.”

“With over four million refugee children currently out of school worldwide, there is so much more to do,” Her Highness Sheikha Moza continued. “I urge more partners to come forward – we all need to be playing our part to get more children into classrooms - which is where they belong.”

To showcase the work of the foundation, Her Highness arranged a visit to Sahabat Support Centre School in Kuala Lumpur – one of those supported by the foundation – and Eto'o joined the event to take part in their annual sports day.

At which the three-time UEFA Champions League winner took part in a series of activities with the 300 children in attendance, including taking part in small-sided games, sitting down for a special question and answer session, and posing for photographs with every child.

At the event, Eto'o commented: “It is a very unique moment for the children and myself. But a special thanks to the one who is making all of this possible, Her Highness. Thanks to Qatar 2022 for giving me

the opportunity of enjoying this time with the children. I hope that all of us together will be able to give them more smiles.

“I'm not sure how important my participation is, but what I do know is that when I see the faces of the kids today, we managed to bring them some smiles. And that is the most important thing for me today, to see them happy.”

In April 2018, Her Highness Sheikha Moza announced that her foundation had reached its initial objective of providing 10 million previously out of school children with quality education.

Sahabat Support Centre School is one of those to have benefitted from her foundation's support, and has helped provide education for refugees from various countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Syria and Yemen – among many others.

It is a subject close to the heart of Eto'o, who through his own charitable orgainsation – The Samuel Eto'o Foundation – has helped thousands of children and young people across Africa have access to world-class sporting and education facilities.

Through a number of its own legacy initiatives, the SC also reaches out to underprivileged children and young people. Its flagship CSR programme, Generation Amazing, is currently working with disadvantaged communities in India, Jordan, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan and Syria – and has reached 250,000 beneficiaries since its inception in 2010.

Positive work, Eto'o says, he would like to continue to combine as all three entities look to affect positive change through the power of football.

“The most important thing to me is to continue what I have already started more than ten years ago,” he added. “I hope that through these children we are able to help create a better world within my capabilities.

“I hope that we will be able to keep working together for many years, God willing. I wanted to also to congratulate Her Highness for giving 10 million children the opportunity to go back to school.”

Read about the Education Above All foundation.