When I met my now-husband, Sanni, in Cambodia in February 2010, I was introduced to the insidious side of professional football (soccer) and the experience of most young, impressionable, and desperate African footballers.
It is so easy to take advantage of these young, naive players. The dream to play elite football fuels them to make decisions that rest on the trust of the those who turn out to be untrustworthy. They are left stranded in foreign countries with no money, no contacts, a short-term, soon-to-expire visa and no hope of going home when their families have often pooled the remainder of their money to fund the scammed journey and the pressure to take care of them is overwhelmingly guilt-ridden.
Prior to meeting me, this had been Sanni’s journey. When he met me, he had already over-stayed his visa, all because the local national club took his passport in lieu of arranging his visa, only to not return it, not provide the visa and then blackmail him to play for less than US$25/mth.
You can read more about our journey here: An African’s Queen
Life in Phnom Penh showed me the other side of the not-for-profit industry too. The ugly, tainted, government-greedy, Lexus-driving side. The knowledge that people’s hard-earned donated money was being so grossly misused made me feel like the NFP industry was a lost cause. Upon returning to Australia at the end of 2010, this jaded representation of charity persisted. For a long time, I gave up giving money.
Gradually, as I researched different charities and their public financials, I came to learn about the new economic model of profit-for-purpose in which you are a profit-geared business that uses that profit towards something greater than making owners rich and pleasing shareholders.
It’s on this business ethos my own business is built.
What is the Pays-to-Give Program?
The Pays-to-Give program is a pledge that I have made publicly made to give 2% of every invoice paid in full to establish a business and football academy in Lagos, Nigeria (my husband’s home city) to support young African footballers to learn about business and their industry.
In this academy that they will learn how to manage their careers, how to manage their money and how to build their own businesses so they can put their own income to a purpose that will survive the length of their careers.
It is a business that takes the skills, qualification and experience of both my husband and I to make a significant difference to the lives of many Africans and their families without a charitable hand in sight.
If you would like to be involved in the establishment of this academy or any of Sanni’s and my business ventures in Nigeria (of which there are a few environmentally sustainable businesses), please contact me.