From fishing nets to soccer goals: Sandals Resorts Foundation partners with AFC Ajax to empower Caribbean youth

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The “Future Goals” program connects sport and sustainability in Curaçao and beyond

WILLEMSTAD – Continuing to strengthen the transformative connection between tourism and the empowerment of its local Caribbean communities, Sandals Resorts International’s philanthropic arm, Sandals Foundation, has partnered with AFC Ajax Team Netherlands to launch Future Goals – a program that turns ocean fishing nets and recycled plastic waste into soccer goals for children. Expanding opportunities for locals through the power of youth sports, especially the beloved game known locally as soccer, the historic partnership kicks off in primary schools on the Dutch island of Curacao, where the launch Program official was celebrated today at MGR Niewindt College as students received the first set of Future Goals.

“Future Goals brilliantly encapsulates Sandals‘ unwavering commitment to empowering our Caribbean islands through our philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation, and our fundamental pillars of education, environment and community,” said said Heidi Clarke, executive director of the Sandals Foundation. “Wrapping around the destination was part of the master plan as we rolled out plans for Sandals Royal Curacao – a new island for Sandals and a new opportunity to expand our impact – and this unique partnership with Ajax is a sign of our promise. to future generations.

From the ocean, for the future

Fishing nets lost at sea, also known as ghost nets, account for nearly half of the world’s ‘plastic soup’ – a term for the accumulation of litter, including plastic, that ends up in the world. ‘ocean. To help alleviate this global concern, Sandals Foundation and AFC Ajax have enlisted local Curaçaon plastics recycling company Limpi, whose creative approach to plastic waste recycling and product development now includes Future Goals colorful goal posts, which are almost entirely made of peach. nets collected at sea and recycled plastic waste.

Plans to equip four dozen elementary schools on the island of Curacao with nearly 100 future goals and more than 600 soccer balls supplied by Adidas, are complemented by a unique training program with coaches from AFC Ajax at the bar. Coaches will mentor ‘future coaches’ recruited by Curacao’s local life skills program Favela Street on a robust eight-week program for kids that will focus as much on technique as it does on mindset to foster the next generation. Overall plans for the Future Goals program include an island-wide tournament with all primary schools participating, as well as expansion to other Caribbean islands, with the program to be adapted based on the unique scope of each destination.

“Ajax is on a mission to impact the future of football globally, starting with the youngsters, our next generation,” said AFC Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar. “Together with Sandals Resorts and the Sandals Foundation, we look forward to facilitating impactful soccer programs for children in Curacao and the rest of the Caribbean, realizing the opportunities of tomorrow through the fun of today.”

An island approach to tourism

Since its inception in 1981, Sandals Resorts has taken an unprecedented approach to supporting the communities where it operates. Through its philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation, the all-inclusive luxury resort company began its work on Curacao – Sandals Resorts’ seventh and newest Caribbean island – long before Sandals Royal Curacao opened. . This includes supporting local artisans, such as Limpi, who have been provided with equipment by the Sandals Foundation to increase their production levels.

Future Goals is one of many ongoing projects on the island of Curacao for the Sandals Foundation. Forest the Netherlands to make the magic of the island’s natural resources more accessible to visitors and locals.

“Achieving the first set of future goals before the resort opens and being on track for a number of other initiatives is a symbol of our commitment to the destination and the strong and enduring link between tourism and development. community,” said Kevin Clarke, general manager of Sandals Royal Curaçao. “It is our responsibility not only to ensure that we share this beautiful part of the world with our guests, but that we protect and preserve it for the locals who make everyone who visits it feel at home.”

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