Sunday, 29 November 2015

A dream project, please let's make it happen......

Please donate by clicking here - your help will go a long way

Ever since making the decision to permanently move abroad seven years ago, I've had a dream of helping others accomplish what I was blessed with shortly after turning nineteen; An opportunity to visit and play cricket in England, the place it's believed to have been practised more than 450 years ago. Leaving the shores of Africa in 2008 wasn't easy, nor was it back in 1996. Although some similarities exist - a new adventure and both on the back of cricket - there were two big differences; Not knowing if we'll ever return and leaving everything behind. It's a sacrifice nobody understands unless you've experienced it yourself.

Many days I ask myself whether or not is was the right thing to do, how life would have been had we not made that decision? Not many days go by without me carrying a heavy load of guilt on my back for making a selfish decision - a decision that I thought would offer us a better opportunity, better career, better education for our children and a safer environment. At the time I didn't think about what I took away from others - grandchildren away from their family, children away from their parents, family and friends and the opportunity that the cricket academy I started seven years prior provided to children from all backgrounds. It's sometimes a bitter pill to swallow.

Things may not have turned out the way I'd hoped and although I may never quite understand why, I will always believe things happen for a reason, albeit not always easy to accept, it can often steer you on a different route with unexpected and perhaps better outcomes. Who'd have thought I'd be in full-time education at the age of thirty nine? Who'd have thought I'd be standing pitch side in front of 32,000 singing fans during kick off at an English Football match and that I'd have fallen in love with Wheelchair Basketball, being a Team Liaison for Italy? Who knows the reason we get knocked off our path sometimes, the important thing is to get up and make the best of what we're able to while we can.

It's for that reason I've decided to focus on the dream I mentioned right at the beginning. Being involved in the Academy back in South Africa not only gave me lifelong memories but it provided something to the community which we could all share, enjoy and benefit from. Sport development has improved vastly over the past decade and many young people from all corners of South Africa are given an opportunity to compete on the world stage nowadays. Cricket has also transformed into a very wealthy sport and can be very financially rewarding for those who make it onto provincial level, especially in the IPL. Kids from all backgrounds, no matter how poor, therefore have an opportunity to set themselves up for life through doing something they love.

The project I'm looking to start however, is aimed at those who probably won't make it that far. It's aimed at young people who just aren't quite good enough to represent their country or even province but who have a passion and love for the game like no other, like what I had when all I wanted to do was come to England and play cricket every day. Although I had the passion, the biggest problem standing in the way of relishing my dream was being able to fund it. I was very lucky though - the help I received from the community and years of savings made it possible. Not everyone is that blessed..... I want to help make that possible for some and offer them something they will never forget.

I'm hoping to raise enough money to be able to offer two cricketers a six week visit to England next year, during which they'll receive coaching, play matches, a visit to Lord's and enjoy some British culture. This might well be the only ever time they get such a chance - who knows, it might even jump-start their career in the sport. Although I'm planning a number of fundraising events, this will not be possible without generous support from businesses and individuals. I must therefore ask if you'd please be so kind to support this campaign by clicking on the link to help make someone accomplish a dream and by making even a tiny donation. 

No matter how small, your contribution will go a long way towards making this dream a reality. The biggest challenge is getting every single person reading this to donate something. Too often we think, "Nah, I can't be bothered", "my tiny contribution won't help" or even worse, "I'll do it another time" - then we don't. Please, act now. What is one less £3 spent on something this month or even week? 

By donating something and sharing this with your friends via email, Facebook, Twitter or whichever way you can, could eventually help offer these guys the best six weeks of their lives.

Let's make this possible, together, please. Your help will be gratefully appreciated, thank you.

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