Kenyan international footballer, Johanna Omolo has won the prestigious Fifpro Merit Award. The award comes with a cash prize of Sh2.5 million.
The award is in recognition of his community development work in Dandora through his foundation.
Dandora is an eastern suburb in Nairobi, Kenya. It is part of the Embakasi division. Surrounding neighbourhoods called estates include Kariobangi, Baba Dogo, Gitare Marigo and Korogocho. Dandora was established in 1977through assistance from World Bank.
It has been pretty much abandoned since then and received very little attention from the government.
Johanna Omolo grew up in Dandora. Although he is now an international football star based in Belgium, he has continued to help kids and youths back home in Dandora through his foundation.
Since 2017, the Johanna Omolo Foundation has been supporting kids in Dandora through education scholarships, mentorship and entrepreneurship programmes.
The foundation also providing sanitary pads to teenage girls among many other initiatives meant to uplift the livelihoods of the youth of the informal settlement considered one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Nairobi.
“Delighted to announce that Johanna Omolo Foundation has been named as the 2019 Merit award winner. I take this opportunity to thank the entire Johanna Omolo Foundation team for their zeal and resilience to changing the lives of the less fortunate kids in Dandora,” Johanna tweeted.
“I would like to thank FIFPRO for the award – it means a lot not only to me but to the people of Dandora who will gain massively. Many kids’ lives are going to change courtesy of this, and I can only be thankful,” the former Dandora Youth and JMJ Academy player added in a separate interview.
Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (Kefwa) officials Jerry Santo and James Situma received the award on behalf of Omolo in Sydney where they are attending FIFPRO’s Annual General Assembly.
Omolo is also a member of Common Goal, a charitable organisation that draws willing professional footballers and coaches to donate 1 per cent of their wages to non-governmental organisations working in football.
The 30-year old midfielder has been playing professionally in Belgium for a decade now. It currently turns out for first division side Cercle Brugge, a team co-owned by French giants Monaco.
Australian international Awer Mabil won the award last year for his philanthropy work with his Barefoot to Boots Foundation that started as a means of providing kids with football boots at Kakuma Refugee Camp, where the 24-year old striker was born.
It has since expanded and offers education and healthcare support to thousands of kids at the camp.
Source: Daily Nation
Header Image Credit: TAP Magazine