Philanthropist and Development Queen of Agona Asafo, Menaye Donkor, last week hosted Italian football legend, Christian Vieri and tennis star, Mara Santangelo at the Menaye School of Hope in Agona Asafo.
Christian Vieri famously played for the Italian national side as well as many top clubs including Lazio, Juventus, Athlético Madrid and Inter Milan, and together with former professional tennis player and winner of the 2007 Doubles at the French Open, Mara Santangelo, made their first ever visit to Ghana last week. Earlier in May, the sports stars were among the hundreds of high profile guests to attend Menaye’s ‘Together For Hope’ charity gala in Milan, and since the event, the pair have personally committed to supporting the Menaye School of Hope and contributing to the lives of the children in the small rural village of Agona Asafo.
On Thursday, Christian and Mara accompanied Menaye to her home town where they visited the Chiefs of Asafo to pay respects before heading to meet the excited children at the Menaye School of Hope and share a once in a lifetime opportunity with them. These children, who without the support from the Menaye Charity Organisation, would not be able to afford to go to school, saw their wildest dreams come true as they met the sports legends and were treated to an entire day full of awe inspiring displays of talent and special coaching sessions with the tennis ace and football hero.
During his visit, Christian Vieri said:
“I was touched by Menaye’s effort at bringing hope to the less privileged in the country, hence my visit. I am really excited to be associated with this charity project and looking forward to meeting the kids of the School of Hope. Education as you are aware is very important, and I hope to encourage them to take it seriously after my visit.”
Menaye Donkor praised the two icons highly for availing themselves to support her and thanked them for their priceless gift to the children:
‘I am so grateful to Christian and Mara for their kind and generous support this week as I feel it has truly made an impact on the kids lives and I hope that this chance has inspired them to pursue their dreams despite their humble beginnings. To see them smiling, laughing and having fun together in such a care free way as they play sports was such a beautiful thing to witness. The kids will remember this day forever as it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for them. I just hope that this day will help them to know that they are cared for and loved, and that their goals and ambitions, no matter how big, are achievable if they work hard enough. I want to thank everyone who has made this day possible especially Christian and Mara.’
Earlier in the week, upon their arrival in Ghana on Wednesday, the visitors settled into La Villa Boutique Hotel which kindly accommodated the pair for the duration of their stay. The boutique hotel also hosted a special cocktail party and dinner to welcome the visitors, with Laura Carpini, the Italian Ambassador in Ghana, attending as the guest of honour. During the remainder of the trip, Christian and Mara were guided on visit to the national treasures of Ghana, from Elmina Castle to Kakum National Park and White Sands Beach.
Menaye is the founder of the Menaye Charity Organisation and took over the running of the Menaye School of Hope in 2004, which has so far educated over 500 children who would otherwise not have had access to an education. Through the Menaye Charity Organisation, Menaye is solely responsible for the funding of the school and on 9th May 2013 she threw a VIP charity gala in Milan to raise money for the cause. The event raised funds for five main objectives at the Menaye School of Hope, one of these objectives was to provide more extracurricular activities at the school such as sports.
The Menaye Charity Organisation also wishes to thank local Ghanaian businesses who made the trip possible with their hospitality including the La Villa Boutique Hotel who accommodated the pair for the duration of their stay. With help and support from them, the Menaye Charity Organisation are able to ensure the maximum funds go to the right place and truly make a difference.