Young players practice their football skills in Baoji. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Qiao Erhao, a member of the football team of his primary school, left a football with some of his friends so they could have fun together after school.
"But they lost the ball the other day, and they have no more fun," said the sixth-grade student from Baoji City in northwest China's Shaanxi province.
Their dream of football and beyond was ignited by a charity program jointly funded by Hangzhou-based car maker Geely and Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games organizing committee. 15 schools from Baoji City received sport equipment donations, and the young players received professional coaching.
Liu Cheng, former China's Series A League player and ambassador of the Hangzhou Asian Games charity program, joined the warm-up session before the final game between Baoji youth football league on Thursday. The young players were also shown around the Geely Baoji site after the game.
Liu Cheng instructs young players. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
For Liu, playing football was not about going pro; instead, it helps teach a young child to focus and work with others, which has a lifelong benefit in all fields of work.
Baoji, where Geely's most automated production plant is located, is one of the company’s targeted poverty alleviation areas. With more than 2,000 staff, the plant has become a driving force in providing vocational education and job settlement.
Geely started the targeted poverty alleviation program in March 2016 amid a national campaign, and has invested more than 370 million yuan in programs in more than 20 cities across 10 provinces. More than 14,000 families have documents registered in Geely's data files, and more than 10,000 from the registered families received financial support to finish their education. More than 4,000 have since landed a job with the help of Geely.
Official partner of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, Geely will offer scientific, smart and green elements to the Games and work with partnered charity events.
Geely donates sports equipment to local schools. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]