On June 9, 2023, the much anticipated “Soccer for Dreamers” inaugural fundraising gala and launch event took place at the picturesque Canoe Brook Golf & Country Club in New Jersey, marking a key milestone for the organization formed by three brilliant Ghanaian brothers. The event saw a wonderful gathering of corporate leaders, professionals, and prominent visitors, including Berkeley College President Dr. Diane Recinos, who joined together to support the organization’s objective.
The night’s honoree was the late soccer player Edson Arantes do Nascimento, affectionately known as Pelé, and his daughter, Kely Nascimento, respectfully accepted the award on his behalf. In her passionate award speech, she expressed gratitude to the Soccer for Dreamers organization and emphasized Pele’s foundation’s constant commitment to preserve this great icon’s incredible legacy.
Carla Harris, Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley and one of the most powerful women in business, enthralled the audience with her meaningful comments, highlighting the transforming power of making a difference in the lives of others. In her address, she emphasized eloquently, “It is what you do for others that elevates your life from success to significance.”
The charity “Soccer for Dreamers” arose from the enthusiasm and personal experiences of three Ghanaian brothers, Baruch, Jed, and Kayden Akwaboah, who have committed their lives to the game. During the event, they reflected on their trip and told their inspiring story. Soccer has been a big part of their life since they were kids, and they’ve played in places like Singapore, England, Sweden, Thailand, Vietnam, Ghana, and America.
During their travels, they experienced firsthand the talent and potential of players all around the world who, owing to financial constraints, were unable to pursue their aspirations. This knowledge motivated the brothers to act and pool their resources. They solicited donations of soccer cleats, shin guards, apparel, and drawstring bags from friends, family, local clubs, and retailers to help young players in Ghana.
The brothers emphasized the late Christian Atsu’s tale of overcoming tremendous poverty and adversity to become a professional soccer player for prestigious teams such as Chelsea and Newcastle, as well as the Ghana National Team. His story highlighted that all it takes is one individual to believe in these young athletes in order for them to have the chance to play at a high level. This conviction drove their drive to make a difference.
Last year, the charity gave nine enormous boxes of soccer equipment, making a difference in the lives of over 200 children. They created a soccer exhibition competition to promote friendship and cooperation while providing equipment to ten local teams. In collaboration with the Ghana Football Association, they trained girl’s teams about period hygiene and delivered 100 menstrual cups, emphasizing their affordability and sustainability. In addition, they demonstrated the importance of dental hygiene to the athletes. These efforts resulted in a $4,000 fundraising total, leaving an indelible mark on the lives of young players in Ghana.
Encouraged by the favorable response from both youngsters and the media, the founders of “Soccer for Dreamers” were eager to broaden their objective this year. Their firsthand experiences playing alongside the boys in Ghana demonstrated these young athletes’ extraordinary talent and tenacity. The chance to see their potential personally highlighted the necessity of providing them with a professional environment in which to thrive.
The inaugural “Soccer for Dreamers” fundraiser gala and launch event was a huge success, raising both awareness and finances for the organization’s humanitarian cause. The event, which raised more than $50,000, brought together powerful individuals who are passionate about making a difference and creating opportunities for aspiring players.
Sylvia Akwaboah, President of the charity and mother of the three Ghanaian brothers, conveyed her heartfelt appreciation to the attendees. She unveiled the game-changing Ubuntu Academy, which strives to provide African kids with the tools and skills they need to dream big and succeed. Sylvia underlined the academy’s objective to break the cycle of poverty, encouraging guests to contribute generously to make these dreams a reality for future leaders.