Some years ago my missus was a marketer for Actionaid, the international anti-poverty agency. As part of the job she went on a trip to Malawi in Africa, then as it is now, one of the poorest countries in the world. I remember her describing the absolute poverty she had encountered, but also the wonderful spirit of the people. Back then Malawi was a little known country somewhere in the heart of darkness (until Madonna went and adopted a Malawian child that is). She still talks about that trip today and what she told me about it has stayed with me.
Which is why I just loved reading about The Great Football Giveaway – a project launched by one man and his wife to hand deliver thousands of footballs, pumps and spare valves to some of the world’s most disadvantaged children. They began by distributing 3,000 footballs and netballs to children, schools and orphanages in Malawi, a country where the average age is 16. As well as spreading a lot of fun and laughter, each football came with a message from its donor, and lots of positive side effects like drammatically helping increase school attendance levels. In 2007 they took another 3,000 to Angola, a war-ravaged country where playing football can serve as both a symbolic gesture of a return
to normality, and to encourage
children back into education. In June of this year, they are doing the same in Uganda. It costs just £10 to donate one
What an amazing idea. So simple. And not from a big corporate charity but from one man – Paul Clarke – who happened to love sport and gave up everything to giveaway footballs in Africa. So if you’ve got a spare five minutes, why not spend a tenner and spread the kind of joy captured by this charming little film:
Thanks to Adam for the link.