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URF partner Ivan Nonka: “Everything is possible, you just need to believe and act confidently”

In the summer of 2023, the Ukraine Reconstruction Fund launched the project “World Athletes for Children of Ukraine”. Its main goal is to improve the conditions of education and training for young athletes, as well as to organize and conduct sports competitions. The foundation has attracted partners from several countries. One of our good friends and assistants in Ukraine is Ivan Nonka, the head of the NONKA football school (Zaporizhzhia). This interview is an introduction to the mission of the philanthropist and his team.

– How did you come up with the idea of creating the NONKA football school, and what goals do you set for this project?

– The creation of a football school is a dream that has been realized since childhood to play football professionally. Back in 1998, my brother and I dreamed of becoming famous football players and even organized a village team.

But, unfortunately, the harsh realities of the 90s did not allow our dreams to become reality…

The NONKA Football School is a social project that confidently proves that, no matter what – time, revolutions, defaults, wars – with perseverance, resilience and endurance, everything is possible, you just need to believe and act confidently!


– You have chosen the path of a patron of sports, particularly football. What is your main motivation?

– I had to start somewhere… To realize a new business, a dream and experience of playing in a “backyard team” are not enough. So I decided to try myself in this “role”. 2.5 years have passed since the first trial lesson…

And now we can clearly see on the example of the NONKA football school that all the efforts of our administration to take young people off the streets and open the doors to professional sports, teach them teamwork, and raise their social and cultural spirit were worth all the effort and money invested.

The NONKA Football School is just the beginning! This is the first step towards contributing to helping our society to raise the next generations of Ukrainians in a proper, motivated and healthy way.

– As far as we know, the football school is not your only project.

– Yes, it is. We do many different things to educate young people to love their country. Our main business is to revive and popularize ancient traditions, in particular through Cossack football and sports.

We are also creating a museum of our region, where we will present various crafts, such as Cossack affairs, everyday life, pottery, blacksmithing, and agriculture. The museum will have videos and things for people to join and participate in various activities.

We are developing programs to help children who are near the frontline. We understand how important it is to maintain their stability and emotional well-being, so we provide them with the necessary attention and resources.

– You work closely with young people. What aspects of this work do you consider key?

– Undoubtedly, every aspect is important in working with young people.

First, it contributes to the physical development of young people. Secondly, we focus on tempering the character, forming the will and consciousness of a Ukrainian citizen.

Another interesting area is teaching young people communication and friendship, which is very important in today’s gadget-saturated world.

But the most important thing for me is that this work allows young people to go out into real life and apply the skills they have learned.

– We hope that your students will be able to represent Ukraine as a sporting and developed country with dignity. How realistic is this and what is needed for this?

– Of course, this is a huge task, but we are committed to it and believe in its achievement. For our athletes to be effective, it is very important for us to have stability in several areas.

Consistency in training, consistency in the development of strategies and tactics, in improving psychological stability and mental readiness, adequate financial support, expanding social contacts, creating a network of partnerships, participation of our athletes in various events and experience exchange programs – all these areas are important and aimed at ensuring that our team develops effectively and dynamically.

Der Beitrag URF partner Ivan Nonka: “Everything is possible, you just need to believe and act confidently” erschien zuerst auf ukrainereconstructionfund.

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