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Michael Lahoud and Kei Kamara are the recipients of the 2015 FIFPro Merit Award. The two Major League Soccer players earned this special recognition and a cheque of $25,000 for their involvement in the project Schools for Salone, which builds schools in Sierra Leone.

Lahoud and Kamara are both players on the national team of Sierra Leone, a West-African country that in the past decades has been plagued by civil war and even recent an Ebola crisis. The average life expectance is only 57.8 years ...

Lahoud escaped from Sierra Leone when he was six years old. He travelled alone, after his family had bought him airplane tickets. Kamara left Sierra Leone when he was 16 with his family and through a refugee programme. Both are playing in the American MLS. Lahoud (29) is a midfielder for Philadelphia Union. Kamara (31) is a striker for Columbus Crew.

In 2010, they started their charity work for Schools for Salone. This ultimately led to them funding the realization of their own school near Freetown: the Kei Kamara and Michael Lahoud Education for All Primary School. On 7 September 2015, classes started as five teachers welcomed over 50 students. They expect to have more than 100 students in relative near term. The school is based in an area with little to no urban planning, where people settled after fleeing the bloodshed of the civil war. This new primary school has helped make it easier for small children, since they do not need to walk so far to a different school. The school is having a tremendous impact on the community.

“At a time when many people – especially here in Europe – are discussing how to treat refugees, the story of Kei and especially Michael puts that whole discussion in a totally different perspective. We as FIFPro, as representatives of all professional footballers worldwide, can only applaud the efforts made by these two men. We hope that they will continue their exemplary work with Schools for Salone and help improve the future prospects of many young children in their native country.”

 

Michael Lahoud talking about the Schools for Salone project

 

Kei Kamara on winning the Merit Award

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