Dagfinn Enerly, another great Norwegian player, who had to hang up his soccer boots after an injury on the field, is also using his star status to help build schools for children in Africa. In his case, through the African Diambars project.
“Every child should be able to realize their dreams”
It was an emotional farewell. Solskjær played the last 20 minutes of the game against the Spanish team Espanyol, and was given a standing ovation. He will particularly be remembered for his winning goal for Manchester United in the Champions League final of 1999, for his virtuosity as striker and for his agreeable personality. He had already decided before the match that he would use part of the revenue to build ten schools in Africa.
“Every child should be able to realize their dreams. Going to school gives them this opportunity,” Solskjær wrote on UNICEF’s Norwegian website. He has been a UNICEF goodwill ambassador since 2001.
In May, Ole Gunnar Solskjær visited Angola, where only half the children go to school. He was given a warm welcome, and the children thoroughly enjoyed a game of football with him. Photo: UNICEF
Solskjær’s efforts are channelled through the Schools for Africa campaign – a joint initiative between UNICEF and the Nelson Mandela Foundation that is seeking to ensure schooling for four million children in southern Africa by the end of 2009.
Together with UNICEF, he has also started the “schooligan” campaign to encourage Norwegians to raise money for the Schools for Africa project. In this connection, school children all over Norway now take part in an annual sponsored walk to raise money for Schools for Africa.
“An honor to be a Diambars ambassador”
Dagfinn Enerly is another former soccer player who is now trying to improve the opportunities for children in Africa to go to school. He is Norway’s goodwill ambassador for Diambars, an African organization that offers children a combination of schooling and soccer training.
“There is great interest in the project. For example world stars such as Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o have agreed to contribute,” said Jimmy Adjovi-Boco, who launched the project together with the former French keeper Bernard Lama, Senegalese Saer Seck and the present world star Patrick Vieira.
At present, there is just one school in Senegal, but subsidiary schools are to be set up in every region of the country, and a department for girls will also be established in the main school in the near future. There are plans to introduce a similar system in other countries in Africa, including Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania. A school is also to be established in South Africa before the country holds the World Cup in 2010.
Enerly’s role is to raise money for the organization in Norway, and raise awareness of the project and how important the combination of soccer training and a good education is for children.
During the world’s largest soccer tournament, Norway Cup, he met players from the Diambars school and key persons in the organization. He is planning to travel to Africa to follow the progress of these schools in the near future.
“It is an honor to take part in such an exciting project, and to work with so many capable people,” he commented.
During this year’s Norway Cup, Dagfinn Enerly met some of the boys from Diambars. A memorable meeting for all concerned. Photo: Eivor Esaiassen