Wrapping up 2023 with some highlights of the ITTF Foundation!

What a thrilling year it has been! Our projects and activities were in full swing with no COVID restrictions, bringing a sense of normalcy and productivity. As we reflect on the past year, we take pride in overcoming challenges, including conflict resolutions in certain countries and territories, as well as navigating the uncertainties of a globally unstable financial landscape. With a staff restructuring, including new faces joining while bidding farewell to some, we consistently contributed to positive social change through the power of table tennis.  Anticipating the coming year, we are eager to continue thriving and manifesting our mission, focusing on the theme of Diversity and Inclusion in all our endeavors.

Dream Building:

Within the Dream Building Fund (DBF) landscape, the projects of 2019 marked the conclusion of support for five endeavors, with those in the finalizing phase redirecting their efforts toward wrap-up activities. Meanwhile, initiatives from the 2020 cycle are actively engaged in conducting, monitoring, and evaluating their activities on a regular basis. This dynamic period saw one project entering the wrap-up phase, while another had to be terminated due to non-compliance. Projects from the 2021 cycle initiated regular activities, marking their continued commitment.

Significant milestones were achieved during this year, including impactful project visits to Bhubaneswar and Uttarakhand, India. While embarking on our visit to Pro Sport Development's project in Bhubaneswar, dedicated to advancing UN SDG 5 – Gender Equality, we were thrilled to have Petra Sörling, President of ITTF and ITTF Foundation, join as well.

These visits involved not only conducting capacity-building sessions on table tennis for development but also included crucial stakeholder meetings.

Additionally, our participation in celebrating the International Day on Sport for Development and Peace served as a testament to our dedication to using sports as a catalyst for positive change.

In response to the expressed needs of project leaders, an online capacity-building session on fundraising and marketing was conducted. Furthermore, our commitment to inclusivity led us to launch the "Table Tennis for Development" Handbook in multiple languages, a project co-funded by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Global Sports Development for their unwavering support throughout this journey. As we look toward the future, the new DBF application cycle, aligning with the overarching theme of "Diversity & Inclusion" and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, beckons aspiring projects to submit their proposals from October to December. We are ecstatic to report that we received 176 applications for the next cycle, a whooping 31% more than the previous round.

Another initiative of the Dream Building programme is the Emergency Relief Fund. In 2023, we were able to provide support to the Tonga Table Tennis Association which was battling the aftermath of a devastating volcano eruption and subsequent Tsunami. This was made possible due to the contribution of Butterfly.


World Table Tennis Day 2023 emphasized sustainability, featuring a 24-hour live stream, 35 promoters, and 442 registered celebrations in 111 countries. This involvement showcased the strength of our TT4All community and our commitment to providing accessible

table tennis opportunities and creating sustainable solutions in communities across the globe.

Dedicated to putting our capacity-building framework into action and providing peer-to-peer support to advance Sport for All initiatives, we actively participated in the INTERACT + project for the period 2023-2025. This involvement included two physical meetings—one held in Dusseldorf, Germany, in conjunction with the TAFISA World Congress, and another in Linz, Austria, in December. During these gatherings, collaboration flourished among all INTERACT + partner organizations. TAFISA, in particular, delivered updates on project management, emphasizing the significance of the newly published INTERACT+ forum.

It brings us great joy to share the news that the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) has committed to support the World Table Tennis Day 2024. This commitment includes backing all associated actions and events, showcasing a shared dedication to the positive impact of table tennis for all, especially within the theme of “Diversity and Inclusion”.

TT4HEALTH - World Table Tennis For Health Festival

We marked the inaugural World Table Tennis for Health Festival in Crete, Greece, in November 2023, incorporating the third World Parkinson’s Championships, the inaugural World Alzheimer’s Championships, and the premiere edition of the Word Table Tennis for Health Congress. The Congress was inaugurated by a representative from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and was supported by Swaythling Club International (SCI).  Accomplished scientists and health experts enriched the event by sharing invaluable insights on the transformative potential of Table Tennis for Health. Despite encountering some organizational challenges, the resounding success of the festival underscored the collective commitment and enthusiasm of all involved. The Festival not only showcased the power of table tennis in fostering health and well-being but also marked a significant step forward in our ongoing mission to harness the sport for positive societal impact.

We are also proud that the festival furthered our endeavor to push the TT Legacy programme. Our partnership with Parkinsons ZA during the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals in Durban 2023, meant that ITTF along with the Foundation sponsored 2 participants to compete in World Parkinson’s Championships in Crete, Greece. It was the first time that the event had participants from the African continent!

The connection between different ITTF group events does not just end there, two individuals at the festival were then selected to represent the ITTF Foundation at the 2024 World Masters in Rome.

The championships of the festival received more than 5000 live views overall, which got us even more excited!

TEAM Restructuring:

In recognizing the transitions within our team, we extend our sincere appreciation to departing members who have played pivotal roles in our journey. A heartfelt thank you goes to Wiebke Scheffler, whose dedication as the Head of Operations and a key team member in establishing the foundation has been truly invaluable. Similarly, our gratitude extends to Saurabh Mishra, who served as the Head of Programmes, contributing significantly to the success of our initiatives. Romina Concha Sepulveda, who was managing Social Media handles, and our Intern Nico Morandini, supporting the WTT4HF, also deserve special mention for their dedication and hard work.

On the flip side of these farewells, we are delighted to welcome new faces into the Foundation. A warm embrace to Vita Dani, our new Governing Board member from India, whose expertise and fresh perspectives will undoubtedly enrich our endeavors. Furthermore, we note the transition of Dr. Alaa Meshref from the Governing Board to the Board of Trustees, a move aligned with his position as ITTF Executive Vice President of Finance. Our core Foundation team was also boosted with the inclusion of a new Operations manager, Lina Kühlein and Fundraising and Marketing Manager, Khushal Palicha.

Our deep appreciation extends to our ambassadors whose unwavering commitment has been instrumental in disseminating our message globally. Besides Ryu Seungmin, who has been our ambassador from day 1, Galia Dvorak was recognized at the Foundation Cup, in the context of the European Table Tennis Championships in Malmö. We express our gratitude to the Swedish Table Tennis Association for giving us the platform to create awareness about the Foundation at the ETTC.

Some other exciting things that happened:

Securing the Sports Business Award Silver stands for the outstanding efforts and accomplishments of our team. This recognition not only validates our commitment to excellence but makes us proud and motivates us to continue pushing boundaries and setting new benchmarks in our field.

Along with key partnerships of GSD, GIZ we continued to be supported by organizations like SCI, signed a cooperation with Double Happiness (DHS) and strengthened our Emergency Relief Fund with the help of Butterfly.

ITTF Foundation was an integral part of the ITTF Summit 2023 held in August in Bangkok. We were able to spread awareness about our work in the space of TT4Health and take part in discussions regarding the broader ITTF Group’s Strategic Plan.

Furthermore, our journey reached a milestone during our “Staff Focus Week” taking place in December in our office in Leipzig, where the entire team gathered together. We came together to reflect on 2023, plan for 2024 and to bond together. The collaborative energy and shared enthusiasm during this week have undoubtedly laid the foundation for even greater achievements on the horizon. As we celebrate these accomplishments, we look forward to the continued growth and success that lie ahead for our dynamic team.

Lastly, We remain committed members of the SportandDev Steering Board, steadfast in our belief in the profound social impact that transcends all sports, in addition to our cherished pursuit of table tennis. SportandDev stands out as the premier platform, uniting a majority of key stakeholders in the realm of sport for development on a global scale.

What’s next:

Looking ahead, the upcoming year promises excitement, highlighted by the celebration of World Table Tennis Day 2024, with the celebration in Leipzig as the epicenter. An occasion that also commemorates the Foundation's remarkable 5-year journey. A new cycle of Dream Building Fund (DBF) projects will commence, emphasizing on fostering Diversity and Inclusion.

The World Table Tennis For Health festival will return, bigger and with more involvement from grassroots organisations that work to improve the lives of people affected with neurological diseases. We hope to encourage more research and get more funding for this purpose to further the impact of what our sport can do to impact lives!

United in our mission to transform lives through the universal language of table tennis, we are feeling energized and ready to take on new challenges and explore fresh opportunities. We look forward to nurturing and expanding our collaborations with valued partners as well as the exciting prospects that lie ahead in forging partnerships.

Another fantastic year awaits for us to be working together to change lives through table tennis. We want to thank our donors, partners, table tennis fans, ITTF group and everyone who believes in the Foundation’s mission to make lives better through the sport.

To join our cause, support the foundation, donate here or write to us at info@foundation.ittf.com with your thoughts.

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