Every child has dreams, but not all have the opportunity to pursue them – I want to change that!
Chelsea defender Antonio Rüdiger, has, in partnership with BigShoe, funded life-changing surgeries for eleven children with club feet in Lunsar, Sierra Leone. He also sent each child a Chelsea jersey with his name on the back. The Chelsea defender has been directly involved in charity activities in Sierra Leone, his ”second home”.
The defender’s mother, Lily, is originally from Sierra Leone but fled the West African country in 1991 during the rebel war. His mother gave birth to him in Germany after fleeing the civil war. Rudiger has been paying tribute to his African roots and has expressed his delight that he was able to give back to the country he called his second home.
Through football, I have been given the opportunity to help others and make the lives of these children and their families better. Seeing the children smiling in the photos also makes me happy. I am very connected to my second home. We have more projects planned. My first visit to Sierra Leone five years ago taught me above all that everything that we supposedly call a ‘problem’ here in Europe is not really a problem at all
The defender grew up in the new Neukolln area of Berlin where started his footballing career. Since then, he has become one of the best defenders in the world winning the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup with Chelsea.
This s not the first the 29-year-old Chelsea and German defender has given back to his second home. In January last year, he bought 60,000 facemasks for market traders in Sierra Leone and also donated the sum of $100,000 to the country’s Free Quality Education initiative.
BigShoe stands for a worldwide growing network of football and sports fans, helping poor children with, among other things, life-changing medical operations. Other notable footballers to be part of the project are German duo Mesut Özil and Philipp Lahm and France’s World Cup winner Paul Pogba.