Recently, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime when I was selected as a Generation Amazing youth ambassador to attend the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
I was joined by other young community leaders from Qatar, India and the Philippines, all countries where Generation Amazing uses football for development projects to reach 1mn young people ahead of Qatar 2022.
At the start of the trip, we all met in Doha, and I was extremely excited to meet my fellow ambassadors and learn their stories. It was incredible to see how football brought us all together, in the same way it will unite the world in Qatar in 2022.
Before leaving for Russia, we participated in a football for development session at Aspire Academy, where we learned about the importance of communications, supporting each other and teamwork.
During the session, I got the opportunity to listen to the Generation Amazing ambassadors who went to Brazil 2014, and understand how they used football to bring their communities together. Sport has impacted their lives in a positive way.
Mariam al-Dafaa was joined by other young community leaders from Qatar, India and the Philippines.
My favourite part in Doha was when we got to show the other ambassadors about the history of football in Qatar at Al Bidda Tower, and explain to them all the preparations being done for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Words could not describe how I felt when we arrived in Russia and I realised I would be going to my first World Cup match. As a kid in Qatar, I would gather around the television with my cousins and we would watch the World Cup together. Now I was about to see a match in the stadium, and it was completely surreal to me.
I was so glad and thankful that I got this amazing opportunity, together with my fellow ambassadors who were always so kind to me.
Before attending our first game, we took part in a number of Generation Amazing workshops in Moscow, and I learned to always be positive, no matter what the circumstances.
Sport promotes social integration, encourages an active lifestyle for people of all ages, and serves as an important educational tool.
In Moscow we also attended the FIFA Foundation Festival, which is about using football to bring people together. There I met a young boy who only had one leg but still enjoyed playing football. He taught me how important it is to stay positive at all times and never give up on something which you love.
My favourite memory from the trip is when we went to Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow to watch France play against Denmark. It was an incredible atmosphere with fans from all over the world coming to the stadium and supporting the teams.
I also got to meet football legends like Qatar’s Ibrahim Khalfan and Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos during the successful Generation Amazing activations held in Moscow.
Now that I’m back in Doha, I can’t wait to pass on my experiences to others in the community, and help welcome the world to my country in 2022.
* This article has been sourced from sc.qa