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Craig Bellamy Foundation

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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Often we are told about how football is more than just a game. But in the case of Craig Bellamy that indeed became the bright shining truth after a trip to visit war ravaged Sierra Leone a few years ago, where he came face to face with tragedy so vast he could not turn his back on it or look away. This brief trip became the inspiration for the Craig Bellamy Foundation, which has become the biggest sports investment for the country in nearly 30 years and its first ever youth academy. Sierra Leone itself is a very small country on the west coast of Africa. Known in the Western World more for its blood diamonds and devastating civil war, it is one of the poorest counties in the world .. and in the aftermath of a brutal civil war between 1991 and 2002 which left the country devastated. After 10 years of peace, life expectancy in Sierra Leone is 48 years (18 below the global average) and the likelihood of a woman dying in childbirth is greater than anywhere on the planet. In 2000, UNICEF estimated that nearly 72 percent of children between ages 5 and 14 in Sierra Leone were working, with 48 percent performing unpaid work for someone other than a household member. Considerably less than half of the population are literate, with adults averaging less than 3 years of school each. Despite government efforts since the war, with less than 45 percent of children currently attending school, this is unlikely to change. The vast majority go to primary school, as it is now compulsory and free, while access to secondary school remains very limited as fees are out of reach for most families.

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