It's two years since we launched our global partnership with Chelsea FC. This season, thanks to everyone at Chelsea FC, not only have we been able to raise vital funds to help children into football and out of poverty, we've also taken important steps to challenge and breakdown gender stereotypes.
There's much to celebrate as we look back at our highlights from a winning 2016/17 season.
International Women's Day
Manager Antonio Conte led the support for the charity on International Women's Day, alongside Chelsea Ladies captain Katie Chapman and her team.
Katie shared: "It is great for the club and our squad to stand together with Plan International on International Women’s Day. It’s important for us as women in elite sport to recognise the challenges girls and women are facing around the world, and show our support for them."
An Audience with Chelsea Ladies
Chelsea hosted an ‘Audience with Chelsea Ladies’ event in May, in partnership with Plan International, which saw new signings Ramona Bachmann, Erin Cuthbert, Crystal Dunn and Maren Mjelde, along with Chelsea Ladies Manager Emma Hayes MBE, taking to the stage at Stamford Bridge.
The team discussed the barriers they faced as women playing football and the advice they would pass on to the next generation.
Match Day Appeal
We had our very own match dedicated to Plan International, when Crystal Palace visited Stamford Bridge in April.
The players proudly warmed up in our t-shirts and the club donated £1 from every ticket sold for this game.
The players' also signed match shirts, which were auctioned to raise further funds to support our football-themed Champions of Change programme in Colombia.
Goals for Girls
Towards the end of the season, Plan International took over Stamford Bridge and hosted a number of events to raise awareness and funds.
Together with the Chelsea Foundation coaches, we led an interactive ‘Goals for Girls’ workshop for 180 girls aged 10 to 13 at Stamford Bridge, which looked at the barriers to girls taking part in sport both in the UK and globally.
Chelsea Ladies captain, Katie Chapman lent her support for the day and said: "organising these big events makes a real difference. We have to show that there should always be equality, whatever the circumstances, whether it’s in football, sport or everyday life.”
Champions of Change Cup
Trip to Colombia
The end of the season was marked with a special trip to our project in Colombia, Champions of Change, where we are using football to help boys and girls overcome the violence and discrimination they face.
During our visit, Chelsea Foundation coaches led football sessions and tournaments across two communities and we were joined by Chelsea Ladies' and England star Claire Rafferty who shared:
"I could see how Champions of Change is helping the next generation and how football helped to facilitate this change. It was a privilege to play a small role in helping with this fantastic project."