14 September 2016

It may have been two months since Festival 16 drew to a close, but its uplifting stories continue to unfold. 


Pedro Machado and João Luzia each represented Associação CAIS during the event, travelling to Lyon from their native Portugal. Founded in 1994, CAIS uses football to support and protect young people who have been marginalised from active participation in Portuguese society.


In their own words, Pedro and João retell their festival experiences here and explain what participation meant to them:


Pedro Machado

Before going on this adventure, when I was told that I was one of the youngsters in CAIS delegation, I felt really happy and my first concern was the football games and winning them. After the first day in Lyon I realised that it wasn’t important, and the only thing I had to do was having fun and have a blast there. For me, it was one of the best decisions of my life. 


The festival was a really unique experience, I met fantastic people where the cultural and ethnic differences didn’t count, where we all were just one without prejudice, without wars, where the respect for each other was the most important thing. All these combine with happiness, resulted in unforgettable moments, more than I could ask.  


The week was surreal, just the participants of the festival know what I mean with surreal. The activities that the organisers prepared for us, our own cultural gift to the others delegations, everything was great.  


In the end, this experience makes me see the future from another perspective, and just for this fact, it shows the importance of these moments for me. I think everyone should live this kind of experience once in a lifetime, to see that not everything is war and people with completely different ideologies can be together and laugh without any problem, because in the end and despite all differences we are all equal, we are human beings. 


I want to thank to the organisations, streetfootballworld, SDLV, CAIS, all my friends in the Portuguese delegation and especially to all the other delegations that made this a once in a lifetime experience!


I still miss everyone, we laughed, we played together, we cried in the end… I hope we can be all together in the future again. 



João Luzia

When I received the news that I was in the CAIS delegation I felt really enthusiastic because I will have the opportunity to see again friends that I met in other CAIS activities and I will have the chance of meeting new people, new cultures and languages. I felt really proud to represent Portugal, too.


Before going to Lyon we had our internship with a lot of good moments, and in those days my biggest concern was the communication in Lyon, because my English is not so good and I don’t speak French. When I arrived in Lyon I understood that I would be able to communicate with all the other delegations, and it started when I met my room mates, Brazilian and Italian, those guys become my friends.


With that burst of confidence I met a lot of new people form different countries and cultures, because during the festival, all the moments that where organised were perfect to be in contact with other people and get to know each other, even when we didn't speak the same language.


One of the moments that I will never forget was the cultural presentations. It was really funny to see and to show some important traditions from Portugal. The second moment that I will never forget was the final where I played with friends, against friends, with a lot of friends watching us, it was a unique moment.


At least I want to thank everyone that turned this trip into an amazing, incredible and unique opportunity in life. In the end, it’s not about winning but the friends we made. And they are still missed, unique people. 

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