Philanthropist of the month - a more charitable outlook on the World Cup

14 June 2010 | By Cause4 staff

This month the eyes of the world lie upon the very southern tip of Africa , upon a country whose history is fraught with woe and where millions of its people contend with the degradation of poverty and ill-health on a scale that defies belief.

As the World Cup kicks off millions of eyes will be upon players whose vast wealth and hero-status sits uncomfortably alongside the reality of lives lived very differently. Of course, we all have our own personal footballing heroes whose fortunes we will follow closely over the next few weeks. But Cause4's World Cup hero might not even get on the park.

Didier Drogba is currently battling with injury that could well sideline him, though we desperately hope that he will recover in time to line up for the Ivory Coast and play his part. He deserves his chance to take centre stage, not so much for his bullish and aggressive nature on the pitch - nor for his propensity to tumble unaided and acrobatically to the floor inside the penalty box - but for other much more important reasons.

One of Time magazine’s Top 100 most influential people , Drogba is recognised not so much for his prolific goalscoring ability but instead for his charitable work. He is a substantial philanthropist , a leading light for the people of Africa and a shining example to his footballing peers . Through his charitable foundation , Didier Drogba has supported innumerable good causes in Africa . Recently his endorsement-fee from one famous soft drinks company - estimated at £3 million - was given to finance a new hospital in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast.

So as events in South Africa unfold over the next few weeks, spare a thought for two sets of people - those all too easily forgotten people in South Africa unable to benefit from the riches that a major tournament can bring, but also for those players like Didier Drogba who have not forgotten from where they came and whose generosity behind the scenes is perhaps even more significant than their performance on the field of play. We celebrate Didier Drogba as our philanthropist of the month. May many others be similarly minded.

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