Alex Foto has done a lot of work with World Vision.
The Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School grad has led six 30-hour famines. She’s been a brand ambassador for the advocacy organization and is currently holding a position on its national leadership team. The 18-year-old has participated in two of the group’s open space retreats and even sponsors a child who she met when she went to the Dominican Republic for World Vision.
This time around she’ll be kicking around a soccer ball and some ideas for the development group.
Foto, along with 14 other Canadians, will be heading to Brazil for the World Vision Cup from May 10 to 17 where they will work with ambassadors from other countries to develop a letter bringing awareness to social issues in Brazil. The letter will be sent to FIFA — the international governing body of soccer — roughly a month before the actual World Cup kicks off in South America’s fifth-largest country.
“It’s definitely different then any trip I’ve ever done before,” Foto said, one of 90 World Vision ambassadors in all of Canada.
Youth between the ages of 15 and 19 will be coming from Somalia, Ghana, Mongolia, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Bosnia, Dominican Republic, Korea, Australia and Germany to take part in the World Vision Cup.
When the youth ambassadors aren’t talking about issues, they’ll be outside participating in a soccer tournament.
Foto thinks the Canadians can bring something to the World Vision Cup discussions despite dealing with some of the social problems on a much lesser scale than other countries attending.
The first-year University of Waterloo student, majoring in international development, noted she can add an academic approach to the dialogue, while learning things from ambassadors, some who are former sponsor children, speaking about first-hand experiences.
“Rather than us going and just kind of seeing development issues as a third party, we’re going to be talking to kids who these things are happening, in their communities,” Foto said. “We (Canadians) have the more academic background about these issues, so we do have that to offer, but I don’t think it compares to first-hand experiences that some of these kids are going to be offering us.”
She also has a feeling she’ll be learning something on the soccer field.
“We’ll definitely be shown how to be play soccer from the kids coming from different countries,” Foto said, admitting she’s never been much of a soccer player. “They’re coming from countries where soccer is their national sport and it’s a big thing to them. I think it’ll be a big learning experience as far as soccer goes.”
When asked what will be a success coming out of the World Vision Cup, thoughts of scoring goals and winning games doesn’t even cross Foto’s mind.
Instead she has a different type of goal to achieve in mind.
This year’s World Cup motto is, “All in one rhythm.” Foto is hoping for something similar at the World Vision Cup.
“We’re coming from different walks of life, different countries and there’s obviously going to be language barriers between some of us,” Foto said. “I’m really hoping that we can all just take a step back and learn from each other, be open to what every one is saying and what everyone has experienced, and just really have that connection between all of us.”