World Cup 2014: Cahill and Sanchez Give Back
Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.
By Bianca Brown
Monday, June 23: Australia v. Spain; Netherlands v. Chile
The outcomes of the World Cup games have been exciting and shocking, so far. Today, as the Netherlands and Chile face off, followed by Australia and Spain, the world will be watching players Tim Cahill (Australia) and Alexis Sánchez (Chile). Both are making moves to help their countries end hunger and poverty.
Australia is home to more than 36 million people, but approximately 12.8 percent of its population lives in poverty. Australia’s government is working with local groups to integrate principles of sustainable development that it hopes will reduce, and eventually eliminate, poverty and hunger.
Chile is also making advances toward a hunger-free nation by working to end the poverty that 14 percent of its population experiences. The country is working to provide a minimum income for poorer families, in addition to expanding provisions for public health, housing, and education opportunities for impoverished citizens. Many supporters of these efforts believe that by improving the current state of public education, inequality between the sexes, and providing more adequate means of developing the public welfare, it is possible to eradicate hunger and poverty.
For Cahill and Sánchez, football is more than a game; it offers a way for them to give back to their communities and provide opportunities similar to those they received. Cahill has partnered with UNICEF to give professional-quality footballs to children in poor communities who do not have access to sporting gear. This generous feat was inspired by Cahill’s birthday wish to bring footballs to children around the world who could not afford them.
“I’ve been playing football for as long as I can remember. and it has been the catalyst for huge change in my life,” Cahill said in an interview. “[It] injects joy and laughter into even the most remote corners of the world, from schools to refugee camps.”
Sánchez has also said that the sport changed his life. He has said that if it weren't for football, he's still be washing cars and pushing carts—both things he did to earn money as a kid. Last year, Sánchez announced plans to give back to the community in which he grew up. While he participates in charity matches and gives Christmas gifts to children in his hometown of Tocopilla, he wanted to do more. He has met with government officials in Tocopilla to talk about how he can use his money and fame to support municipal projects to help children living in poverty.
Bianca Brown is an intern in Bread for the World's communications department and a senior at Georgia's Wesleyan College.
Photo: Alexis Sánchez, in a 2006 match. (Wikimedia Commons)
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