#Article (Archive)

Gambian kids to benefit from UK Sports Charity

Feb 17, 2011, 11:18 AM | Article By: Alhagie Mbye, thePoint’s UK correspondent.

The founders of Afrikit has confirmed to the Point that the Organisation will continue sending its football shirts and other kits to the Gambia and are working closely with another charity called Football Gambia to that effect. Few days ago, Afrikit told Sky Sports News that they are collecting shirts including those of striker Fernando Torres who recently left Liverpool for Chelsea to various African countries including The Gambia.

Later in a communiqué to this correspondent, Andrew Trott, Co-founder of Afrikit confirmed that the Organisation ‘have superb links in and around Gambia and already done fantastic work out there using football as it’s key feature’. Andrew further stressed that ‘with the help of Football Gambia we want to help as many Gambian children as possible’.

Explaining the reason behind his involvement with Afrikit and Gambia, he stressed that personally football has been an ‘incredibly significant’ part of his life and has given him some of the key skills which make him the person he is today. Andrew also humbly outlined the importance of donating to Gambian kids adding that ‘being able to encourage the skills promoted in football by doing such a small thing as donating a football kit is absolutely fantastic’. He believes that this can ‘become a serious reality that we can touch thousands of lives all across-Gambia’. Andrew further told this correspondent to be in touch, work together in helping Gambian kids and to open contact with him for further information.

According to Afrikit, every year football clubs will introduce a new kit for the start of the new season and that ‘out of the 20 clubs that participate in the English Premier League, 18 of them have had a new home kit each season for the last 3 years’. Therefore Afrikit, said it want to give such football shirts and kits ‘new life by sending them to some of the poorest parts of Africa in order to spread the joy of football, and for them to feel the buzz that we do when we put a football shirt on’.

Afrikit also rightly believes that such assistance could ‘provide fun; galvanise communities and help educate’ adding that people can donate ‘regardless of age, size or quality including replica shirts, Intramural and Sunday League kits, and everything in-between’.

Another founding member, Ian Stapleton, speaking to this correspondent also appreciates the interest of the Point newspaper in the project. Expressing great passion about Gambia, Ian who recently returned from the country stressed that he was impressed with the love of football by Gambian kids. He added that the desire and big community involvement all over the country including places such as Sita Nunkou, Gunjur and Juffureh was unbelievably great.

Ian also has other big ambitions outside football including ‘creating bore-holes’ to help Gambian farmers. He said some work was done in Marakisa with the Art Academy by painting houses with paints from England adding that Afrikit also need to invest other projects such as barber’s workshop. He noted that such assistance will be extended to older people and not only kids. He said: ‘Football should be free for everyone… African players can learn from English players but English players can equally learn from African players’.

The Afrikit Charity run by about five students, based at the University of Sheffield have been collecting used football shirts and send them to the poorest rural communities in Africa. Countries that benefited from Afrikit include Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, South Africa and Mozambique.