After four years of planning and building the Kimisagara Football fo Hope Centre was officially opened on October 2, 2012 a ribbon-cutting and plaque-unveiling ceremony led by the Rwandan Minister of Sports and Culture, Mitali Protais. This was followed by traditional dancing and the first football match to be played on the centre’s new pitch. Several speeches were made by VIP guests, including the Rwandan Minister of Sports & Culture Mitali Protais, German Ambassador Peter Fahrenholtz, the Mayor of Nyarugenge District Mukasonga Solange, FIFA CSR Programme Manager Cornelia Genoni, and streetfootballworld Head of Network Operations Christophe Mailliet. Hundreds of school kids from the community turned out to provide an enthusiastic backdrop, not only to the sport and cultural activities, but
also to cheer the different speakers attending.

“The 2010 World Cup may long be over but its legacy keeps on growing,” FIFA’s CSR Programme Manager Cornelia Genoni told the large crowd. “Hosting the first World Cup in Africa was far more than just hosting a football tournament. FIFA made a
commitment that we would leave a tangible social legacy for the whole of Africa, not only the host nation. With the opening of this centre, it marks another step to fulfilling FIFA’s promise of putting football to work for promotion of youth and social projects.”

Several streetfootballworld network members were invited as special guests, and everyone was impressed by the new centre. The ceremony concluded with performances from different musicians from the area, thrilling the large groups of local children who had come out to join in the festivities.

The Kimisagara Football for Hope Centre is hosted by Esperance, one of the first organisations to be selected as a potential centre host in 2007. Esperance seeks to bridge Rwanda’s ethnic divides through its education and social programmes. It uses Football Amahoro, a unique methodology that fosters understanding and reconciliation through football. The opening of the Football for Hope Centre means further development of both the organisation and its community.

“The centre provides us with the amazing opportunity to have our own space to implement our programmes and serve the community,” said Centre Manager Victor Sewabana. “There is a saying in the community that the centre is the hub of peace. Esperance is known for Football Amahoro and now the centre will be known for this, as well.”

The centre opening in Kigali is a significant step towards streetfootballworld and FIFA’s shared goal of addressing social challenges in 20 communities across Africa. Football for Hope Centres have already opened in South Africa, Mali, Kenya, Namibia, Lesotho, and Ghana, and the remaining centres are currently in construction and development. As FIFA CSR Programme Manager Cornelia
Genoni stated, “The 2010 World Cup may long be over, but its legacy
keeps on growing.”

“Each centre has the same concept of using football to promote hope and opportunity for the young generation, but each is also unique,” Genoni added. “FIFA is committed to giving of its expertise and resources on behalf of social challenges across the globe.” Rwanda Football Association (FERWAFA) president Celestin Ntagungira concluded by thanking FIFA for their efforts: “This is a centre that produces future leaders for our country, both on and off the pitch.”