Turkey sends young Afghan Messi fan a ‘peace ball’

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Turkey has sent a “Peace Ball” gift pack to Afghan boy Murtaza Ahmadi, after a photo of him wearing a replica shirt of Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi made from a plastic bag went viral.

The campaign by Fırat University’s Prof. Sebahattin Devecioğlu, coordinator of the “Peace Ball Project,” reportedly delighted five-year-old Ahmadi, whose photos sparked a social media campaign, even catching the attention of Messi himself, who met the young boy and sent him a signed shirt. Ahmadi, living in the eastern Afghan province of Gazni, received his surprise present from the “Peace Ball Project” through a teacher serving within the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency.

Devecioğlu called on others to take part in the campaign, adding, “The present was aimed at encouraging Ahmadi to play football and participate in sports.”

Project to promote ‘peace and fraternity’

“The main aim of the ‘Peace Ball Project’ is to emphasize that sports are a common value for all humanity, regardless of race, religion and language. Thus, it seeks to promote peace, friendship and fraternity,” Devecioğlu said.

The project also recalled the status of the child as recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Article 31 on leisure, play and culture states: Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities.

Article 32 on child labor states: The government should protect children from work that is dangerous or might harm their health or their education. While the convention protects children from harmful and exploitative work, there is nothing in it that prohibits parents from expecting their children to help out at home in ways that are safe and appropriate to their age. If children help out in a family farm or business, the tasks they do [must] be safe and suited to their level of development and comply with national labor laws.

Children’s work should not jeopardize any of their other rights, including the right to education, or the right to relaxation and play.

March/04/2016

KABUL – Doğan News Agency

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com.