Before I write about the amazing Alex Song, let me back up a step. In this blog, we often write about things that matter to swimmers: like what marine wildlife we might encounter in the sea or what goggles we should use during a swim like Gibraltar. Now– how does this pertain to a super soccer star from Barça, you might ask?
Here it is: we’d love to have our swim from Europe to Africa bring awareness to the differences of educational opportunity in a distance so short that we can swim it. This is why we’re trying to raise $100,000 for Worldreader- who’s got an innovative solution for democratizing education in the developing world.
And you know what’s awesome? When you find someone like Alex Song who couldn’t agree more. We recently got to meet him at Camp Nou and share our story with this FC Barcelona player who grew up in Cameroon with his 27 brothers and sisters. Alex immediately understood the enormous value Worldreader is bringing into sub- Saharan Africa. When I first showed him photos of children showing their Kindles he said, “You see how happy they are? It’s because now they can get information and an education.” He loved the amount of African literature available in our program.
He told Emily and me about his youth there, and how he worries about opportunities in Cameroon, and in Africa as a whole. We spoke about how sports is one way for a tiny few to break out, but truly the only way for everyone to change their situation is via education. He kept repeating: “Keep doing what you’re doing with this swim for Worldreader– it is a beautiful thing.” Alex is a hero in Africa and around the world, and soon we hope to share some exciting news about his involvement in Worldreader — so stay tuned!
PS- Huge thanks to Rebecca Worple for her incredible photography skills (she also took the photos of Rafa and Swim4Good) and to Nadja Borovac, my amazing colleague at Worldreader.