Yesterday, Cristiano Ronaldo took to his wildly popular social media pages to launch a campaign in solidarity with Syrian children.
He posted the above picture with his son Cristiano Junior, in support of a child named Ayman, with the hopes of putting a name and a face to the over 5 million child refugees in need of food, clothing, care, and protection as a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Cristiano has been a Save the Children global artist ambassador since 2012, a year after the war began. “With a young son of his own, Cristiano Ronaldo understands how vulnerable children are at that age,” explained Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of the nonprofit organization. “With Ronaldo’s help, we can keep the focus on the children of the Syrian war, many of whom have known nothing but war their entire life. After five years of this conflict, we don’t want the world to forget the children – they shouldn’t have to pay the price for the world’s inaction.”
Ayman’s story is featured on the nonprofit’s website. Born at a military hospital in 2011 when the war broke out, “newborn Ayman was roused relentlessly by the terrifying noises all around him,” according to his mother. “He couldn’t sleep because of the air strikes and noises,” she said. He couldn’t speak either, most likely due to the overwhelming silence of his besieged home city, where only sirens rang out in the streets.
Ayman’s family eventually fled to neighboring Jordan, where they joined tens of thousands of families at the Za’atari refugee camp. With the help of the nonprofit, he enrolled in kindergarten and began to show signs of progress in his communication. Fútbol continues to play a major role in this transformation; when Ayman is not in school, he spends his free time playing with his brothers or watching Captain Majid, his favorite cartoon show about – you guessed it – a boy who plays the beautiful game.
Ayman’s dream: “playing on a real grass football pitch.” Cristiano hopes to help make dreams a reality for Ayman and others. The profound impact of fútbol and its ability to lift us up never cease to amaze us.