Australian national team player Awer Mabil has won the FIFPRO Merit Award for his charity “Barefoot to Boots” charity which works in one of Africa’s largest refugee camps.
Every year, FIFPRO recognizes the selfless charity work of players through this award.
Mabil, a striker for Denmark’s FC Midtjylland, was born in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya in 1995, one year after his parents fled from Sudan.
In 2006, his family moved to Australia but in 2014 he and his brother returned to the camp, which is currently home to more than 185,000 refugees.
They saw that all children played football barefoot and decided to establish a charity to provide these kids with boots.
Mabil wants to encourage refugees to chase their dreams. “I want to make them realize that their dreams can come true,” Mabil told FIFPRO.
“FIFPRO has handed out a total of $300,000 to Merit Award winners over the last 11 years.”
Mabil’s “Barefoot to Boots” has developed into an organization which supplies children with boots and jerseys, as well as supporting education and healthcare.
“Awer is doing a tremendous job in trying to bring hope to unfortunate people from many African countries,” Tony Higgins, spokesman of the FIFPRO Merit Award jury, said. “Living in a refugee camp is extremely difficult so a simple thing such as playing football can bring much needed happiness.”