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Kicking Goals: Gogol Mebrahtu and Alusine Fofanah

Fofanah (above) and Gogol with Ric, both boys wearing our great new tshirts

Pics: Gil Hinsbey/Ric Jay
Here at The Kick Project, we see it as part of our brief to inspire, to show how sport for peace and development can really make a positive difference. While we feel it's important to do our work and to get results, it's also of value to encourage others to do the same, and to help others understand the passion we feel for what we do.

As part of this process, we are keen to let our supporters know just how valuable a tool sport, especially football, can be in healing individuals, communities and whole nations.

These stories give us all real-life confirmation that sport for peace and development really does work.

And, acting as agents for change in this way is one of our motivations to maintain our commitment to what we do.

To fulfill this aim, we will be rolling out a series of short videos of noted athletes, from the world of football and from other sports, for whom sport has provided a means to them get through desperate times.

Thanks to the assistance of the Western Sydney Wanderers A-League club (formerAustralian national champions and Asian champions), our first two videos are on two excellent young men, and players at WSW, Gogol Mebrahtu and Alusine Fofanah

Twenty-five year old Gogol "Golly" was born in Sudan and spent some of his childhood in Eritrea, from whence his family had initially fled fearing their lives. Even as the war waned, living conditions were intolerable, and, fleeing some of the worst outbreaks of violence against civilians seen in recent history, Golly and his family ended up in Brisbane as refugees in 1999. Here his footballing talents were quickly spotted. He has a compelling story to tell about how football has been a life buoy in a sea of turmoil.

Alusine Fofanah is from the civil war-torn nation of Sierra Leone.  Now aged 18, he and his family were forced to flee the conflict in their country when Fofanah was still very young. As refugees, they eventually made it to Australia. But, Fofanah still had to spend years away from his parents, spending three years as a boy living with his grandmother in Sydney before being re-united with his mother and father. As a 14 year-old, Fofanah had a hugely successful trial period with Manchester City, but was unable to agree on terms due to visa restrictions. His journey from refugee camp to star footballer is pure gold.

Ric Jay, former top ABC TV journalist and great mate of The Kick Project kindly agreed to shoot some copy and have a chat to both Golol and Fofanah on our behalf during training this week in Sydney.

Thanks to both Gogol and Fofanah and the WSW and to Ric. We will be hard at work putting these two short videos together in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, there's a few more shots of the boys from the shoot at our facebook page.


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