Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to amputee football players in Sierra Leone16 June 2010
amputees football team
The protracted civil war in Sierra Leone, which ended in 2002, left behind thousands of people intentionally disfigured by the terror tactic of physical mutilation. Now, nearly 10 years later, many of the surviving amputees greeted UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his stop in Sierra Leone as football players in honour of the on-going World Cup games. Following is the exchange between them:
SG: Dear friends, I'm very pleased to meet you today and I have enjoyed your football play. You are much better than World Cup soccer players.
SG: And I am also very much moved to see you trying to overcome your physical challenges. You are very courageous and I am just moved by your courage to overcome difficulties. Your country has gone through tragic war lasting many years. Now, the United Nations and the international community are here to help you build peace. I heard your appeal: "Ban Ki-moon, you bring peace!" I'm here to bring peace. I'm here to bring hope to you.
SG: ...with a better future. Now I'm announcing to you that the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission will provide you one hundred thousand dollars...
SG...for your support, for your training, for your education. This is modest considering your physical challenges for the very difficult circumstances you are living in. But I hope this even modest contribution will help you. I know that there are many people around the world who will support you with a generous contribution. As the Secretary-General, I will try to mobilize the international support for you, for your future. And you have a bright future. Sierra Leone is one of the most successful countries who have overcome this tragic conflict and are now building peace. The United Nations is trying to build peace in your country and bring in socio-economic development and hope for you. God bless you and all the best to you. Thank you very much.
Narrator: The following day, the Secretary-General met with the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma and said he had been quite encouraged by the courage, fortitude and resilience of the football players. Sierra Leone, he said is one of the world's most successful examples of post-conflict recovery, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.