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Posted On: 14 February 2015 02:30 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:14 pm

15 million QAR raised in London auction by ‘1 in 11’ campaign

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On 12th February 2015, a major fundraising auction held at Sotheby’s London saw 15 million QAR raised to help some of the most marginalised and vulnerable children across the world in support of ‘1 in 11’, a worldwide campaign launched earlier this year by FC Barcelona Foundation, Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) and UNICEF to extend educational opportunities to children in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal, with the goal of expanding to more countries.

Essa Al Mannai, Executive Director of ROTA, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) attended the event in central London alongside representatives from FC Barcelona Foundation and UNICEF. High profile Qatari figures including H.E. Mr. Yousef Ali Al-Khater, Ambassador to the Court of St. James and Qatar Museums represantitivesalso attended.

The auction featured works from 18 renowned artists, including Qatari artist Yousef Ahmad, whose untitled painting alone raised 125,000 QAR. Other artists that contributed their time, talent and works in support of the campaign included Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Richard Serra and Luc Tuymans, as well as Middle Eastern artists Etel Adnan, Shirin Neshat, eL Seed and Wael Shawky, all of whom have collaborated with Qatar Museums, the body responsible for developing, promoting and sustaining Qatar’s cultural sector, with a focus on art, creativity and heritage, in the past and present. The Public Art department at Qatar Museums has worked closely with Sotheby’s to make the auction a reality.

ROTA Executive Director, Essa Al Mannai said:

“We are overjoyed with the amount of money raised at the auction for the ‘1 in 11’ campaign, which has raised much needed funds to help to ensure children reach their full potential. Currently, 1 in 11 children across the world are out of school and not getting the start in life they are entitled to, and the money raised through this campaign will enable the ‘1 in 11’ partnership to work towards achieving the highest level of impact in the lives of children who are currently out of school.

He added:

“ROTA is well recognised across Asia for providing technical support and funding for education in the most marginalised communities. This campaign has furthered ROTA’s vision of creating a world in which all young people have access to the education and training they need in order to realise their full potential. We are incredibly grateful to the generosity of the bidders and artists this year and thank them immensely for their support. The auction will be just the start of a wide fundraising drive and we hope to raise more funds through public donations, to enable us to continue to address these educational gaps and give every child a life that they deserve .”

Several works in the auction were specially commissioned for the sale, including two paintings by Hirst and Murakami depicting Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona player, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and President of the Lionel Messi Foundation. Alongside the artworks, the auction also offered bidders the chance to purchase two unique experiences with FC Barcelona.

Takashi Murakami, who designed the ‘1 in 11’ campaign logo, and designed and donated Flower Ball to the sale – a bespoke football signed by Lionel Messi and the artist said:

“I’m delighted to be able to support the ‘1 in 11’ campaign through donating my artwork to the auction and designing the global campaign logo. I know the money raised by the campaign is going to help some of the most marginalised and vulnerable children across the world. ’1 in 11’ will inspire the world that integrating sport and play into education can be the catalyst to unlock a child’s potential.”

The ‘1 in 11’ campaign was launched as globally one in eleven primary school-age children – or 58 million out of 650 million children – are out of school. The majority are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable: children living in areas affected by conflict; children in extreme poverty; children with disabilities; children from indigenous communities. In many schools, programmes that support play and sports do not exist, even though studies have shown that including these elements in school curricula can inspire children to attend and stay in school, lead to better physical health, and help to improve their grades."

Lending their voices, and their athletic ability to ‘1 in 11’, Lionel Messi and international tennis champion and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Serena Williams launched the #1in11 campaign film and ‘Keep Ups’ challenge last month – challenging people to keep a ball up in the air for at least eleven touches.

Through the ‘Keep Ups’ challenge, Messi and Williams are inviting their fans and followers to join, donate to the campaign and share their own ‘Keep Ups’ via social media and at

The funds raised through ‘1 in 11’ will reach some of the most marginalised and vulnerable children, commencing in three countries - Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal – where both ROTA and UNICEF have the respective expertise and capacity to implement education programmes. In Indonesia, the campaign will support schools in six districts to include children with disabilities. In Nepal, UNICEF has worked with the government to identify 10 priority districts that will offer sports programming for children up to secondary school, particularly aimed at breaking down the societal barriers for children with disabilities and including them in school. In Bangladesh, the campaign’s focus will be on reaching out-of-school children.

Visit to support the campaign, see the Messi and Williams campaign film and take part in the #1in11 Keep Ups challenge.