Victor the philanthropist

CFM midfielder’s Foundation is battling the Covid-19 virus in Kenya’s slums

When the Covid-19 virus struck in the beginning of last year, the world scrambled to protect itself; borders closed, major events were cancelled, and everything changed. For those living in some of the world’s poorest areas, life became even harder than before.

CF Montréal midfielder Victor Wanyama is no stranger to these conditions. The Kenyan is from Busia, a small town in Kenya, where poverty has affected a lot of people through the years until this day.

The Victor Wanyama Foundation has been working in Busia and other slums around Kenya for years, undertaking different initiatives. Now, their focus has shifted to countering the effects of the pandemic since the outbreak.

“When it all began, we started to educate people living in the slums about Covid-19,” said Victor Wanyama, currently working with the Foundation in Kenya. “At the same time, we were providing masks, foodstuffs, hand sanitizer and soap, which we continue to do. We try to empower women in the slums as well, because a lot of them lost their job due to Covid-19. We’re doing everything we can to get them involved, by making masks and more.”

After initially teaming up with UN Habitat for the project, the two entities joined forces again last week, signing a Memorandum of Understanding and pledging to help vulnerable children and youth living in informal settlements to access better urban services. The two organizations will also promote affordable housing for the poor, provide skills development, and, of course, support communities’ recovery from COVID-19.

UN Habitat also revealed Victor Wanyama as its official Goodwill Ambassador in the same week.

The Victor Wanyama Academy

Back in his hometown of Busia, a busy Victor Wanyama is undertaking another ambitious project: the Victor Wanyama Academy. For him, it was a way to combine two very important passions in his life: philanthropy and soccer.

“Busia is where I come from. It’s an area with a lot of talented players but no facilities,” said Wanyama. “It’s very painful to see a big town like Busia not have any facilities. Kids with talent don’t have the opportunity to develop it, so my goal was to give the community something. We decided to build an Academy.”

Wanyama hopes to see the Academy up and running near the end of the year, with construction having just started a few weeks ago. Until then, UN Habitat’s new ambassador has plenty of projects with the Victor Wanyama Foundation in the works.

“I started the Victor Wanyama Foundation a long time ago, pretty much when I started professional football. It was a little difficult at first because I was on my own, but I now have a team of people that can do the things that I cannot do while I’m away,” explained Wanyama.

“I come from a very poor area and I know how it feels. I have friends living in the slums. I know how it feels to live there. Some people lack so much. We are human, and if we can help one another, we can make the world a better place. It’s important to think of others and not just of ourselves.”