I vividly recall an encounter with a religious fundamentalist I met in Pakistan who told me that he loved the professional football club Real Madrid and wishes to meet and get a personal signature of the famous football player Cristiano Ronaldo. Having been to numerous places that have been destroyed mainly by political conflicts, I always wondered if there was a way to reduce such politically instigated impacts and push more for apolitical solutions that can be used to unite people, especially youth. This encounter provided the basis for my thoughts.
As someone who loves sports and technology, from a personal experience, I have seen the potential of both technology and sports as a unifying force of people in the world. Such experiences motivated me and a few other fellow sports fanatics to co-found Crowdsukan. As a crowdfunding platform in the region that primarily targets building sports facilities and organising sports activities in Malaysia and the South-East Asia region, the initiative’s aim is to give hope to those in despair mainly by providing them with sports facilities to spend their time, and to enable them to discover sports stars or celebrities who help bridge unity among people. In less than 6 months of establishment, to date, Crowdsukan has helped several small sports enterprises to raise funds and enhance or expand their facilities to play more sports and have access to public private initiatives.
At Crowdsukan, we view sports as an industry that can generate both economic growth and improve sustainability of lives in both urban and rural areas. However, this concept is yet to mature. Having closely seen how sports changed the lives of people living in poverty in Asia, and those from underdeveloped and developing countries, I firmly believe that sports can be therapeutic and a vehicle to push for peace towards a more inclusive society. Sports is an opportunity for unity and it does not discriminate and hence can help contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Through its work on sports development, Crowdsukan earned recognition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO) and I was appointed to the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Youth and Sport Task Force to represent Malaysia at the UNESCO Youth and Sport ‘Fun-shop’ in November 2017. While there, I was able to participate and interact with many other amazing youth across ASEAN and East Timor. The event enabled all participants to experience action-based learning, including obstacle courses, and interact with local youth who also participated in field trips and grassroots development programmes. In addition, my colleagues took the opportunity to share TEDx-style presentations using sports to achieve the SDGs. Some of the work included country specific innovative activities such as cycling through conflict zones across the Thai-Malaysian border with the aim to promote messages of peacebuilding, bridging the social differences of North and South Koreans, tackling human trafficking along the Vietnam-China border, creating hopes for street children in Indonesia through the Street Child World Cup, teaching yoga in Cambodia and the Philippines, using football to include troubled children in Vietnam, using sports to build community resilience of domestic workers in Singapore and promoting active sports participation among kids from disaster areas in the Philippines and East Timor.
As youth, my colleagues and I aim to achieve many more of our milestones in sports development to send a unifying message to communities and to attest to the fact that sport is an opportunity to build peace, and to provide inclusive, accessible, professionally rewarding and even life-changing opportunities to youth in our region and beyond.
About Yik Wai Chee
Yik Wai Chee (Rico) is an Ipoh native from Malaysia and a member of the UNESCO Asia- Pacific Youth and Sport Task Force. He pursued an LL. B law degree in Multimedia University, Malaysia, after his secondary school education. Rico spent several months during his undergraduate studies as an exchange student studying a Business promenade course to gain insight in Nordic tourism and business cultures in Turku University of Applied Sciences in Turku, Finland. He also took a gap year in between his undergraduate studies to work in China for 6 months and explored many places. Some of his travel stories are published on the global media. Rico is an avid traveler, and has actively contributed to increasing and promoting cross-cultural interactions using best practices. Growing up in Malaysia as an ethnic and religious minority, Rico is very sensitive towards cultural differences and constantly uses apolitical ways to engage with people of different faiths and backgrounds. Being a sport lover himself and a firm believer that technology significantly improves people’s lives, he co-founded Crowdsukan in 2017 to provide a platform to fundraise primarily for sports facilities in Malaysia. This involves actively connecting private sector partnerships and the public to contribute towards achieving a more inclusive and sustainable society, through the creation of sports facilities and activities. You can contact Rico at: firstname.lastname@example.org.