Sunderland fans bring football joy to African kids

June 30, 2005 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News
A group of five young Sunderland AFC supporters have launched a new charity providing new and good condition used football shirts to youth teams in Africa. Give4Strips (http://www.give4strips.org.uk) promotes team spirit, and good will amongst children in developing countries as well as giving them something to be proud of.

The idea began on an internet message forum, and has grown rapidly, with the support of local businesses helping in the form of donations, advertising, and collection bins in premises where supporters can drop off any shirts they wish to donate.

What began as a modest aim to provide a hundred Sunderland strips to children in Tanzania next month is exploding as local schools, fans and Sunderland AFC itself get on board

Andrew Calder, the lifelong Sunderland fan behind the idea, says "This is a really worthwhile cause and is something Ive been passionate about since visiting Tanzania three years ago. On that occasion, I delivered a number of Sunderland shirts to a local youth football team, who had never previously owned a strip. I was bowled over by the huge positive impact it had on that football mad community. Weve set up this campaign to benefit a number of teams and communities as well as promoting the profile of English football and in particular Sunderland AFC".

As Andrew says In only a few weeks we have raised enough to order a significant consignment of strips for distribution this July; we have our own fully functioning website and have established firm links with communities in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi and Cameroon. At this rate who knows where it might all lead!

The charity recently purchased its 100th brand new Sunderland shirt and along with postal shirt donations has collected enough shirts to kit out 8 junior teams for a football tournament organised for the 16th of July in Dar es Salam, the capital of Tanzania, which will be attended by representatives from the Tanzanian Ministry for Sport as well as the Minister for youth football in Tanzania.

Give4Strips has also teamed up with local schools including Sunderland High School who are about to take a party of pupils to Malawi to donate clothes to developing regions and will now distribute a consignment of children's Sunderland strips to a local school during their visit. Sunderland AFC midfielder Carl Robinson will attend a special assembly at the school this Friday morning to support the Give4Strips project.

We are currently looking for more pledges of support which will allow us take enough full kits for the tournament in July and then hopefully to reach more remote areas in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Malawi. We are also looking for further sponsorship from local businesses and are gratefully receiving both new and slightly used SAFC strips from the 2004/05 season.

If you would like to contribute to Give4Strips, please log on to the website, which can be found at http://www.give4strips.org.uk. Alternatively, you can send a cheque / postal order, payable to Give4Strips to Give4Strips, 2 St Vincent St. Sunderland, SR2 8EU.

The campaign wishes to stress that both new and good condition second hand shirts will be gratefully received. At the moment, shirts can be dropped of at Sunderland Wall (Climbing Centre) on Pallion Quay, and at the A Love Supreme offices, on Stadium Way, opposite the Sunderland Stadium of Light or sent to 2 St Vincent Street, Hendon, Sunderland.

Contact Andrew Calder : 0191 5144591

Give4Strips