Every year, hundreds of aspiring young footballers in Ghana and throughout West Africa are duped by men posing as football “coaches” who promise them untold riches in European football. These young boys, whose families are left penniless after scraping together the fees demanded of them, come to Europe in the belief they will be playing for top flight clubs only to find themselves selling handbags on the street – and with no chance of return now their families have been left destitute.
Unlike the unlicensed academies, Right to Dream - a non-profit making, fully residential school and a registered Charity and NGO in Ghana, the UK the US and Sierra Leone - really do make a difference.
Alongside world class coaching at their elite sports academy, Right to Dream deliver a specialised programme of education, personal development and leadership skills to some of the brightest but underprivileged young football prospects in Ghana. The unique Right to Dream philosophy promotes excellence, ethics and self sustainability and offers an unparalleled opportunity for children to improve not only their own lives but also recognise their responsibility to do the same for their communities back home.
In 2008, Tom Palmer visited the Academy as he researched his soon to be published book, Offside, the story of a young Ghanaian boy harbouring dreams of playing in the Premiership. Inspired by the efforts of its founder, Tom Vernon, and the remarkable children he found there, Palmer decided to find a way to fill the Academy’s library with much needed books.
In May this year, Tom, David and Patrick will embark on a sponsored 250 miles cycle ride from Sheffield to London in an effort to raise £2,500. The start and finish are highly symbolic. Sheffield was the place where the first African played professional football: Arthur Wharton of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1872. London is home to Michael Essien, Ghana’s current football superstar.
Through Tom’s extensive contacts in school, libraries, publishing and the media, he hopes to raise the profile of his cause and attract enough sponsorship to acquire some 1000s of books for the library.
Please support Tom’s efforts by donating through this JustGiving site.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
So please dig deep and donate now.