Felix Auger-Aliassime’s humanitarian visit to Togo
He preferred the humid heat of Togo, a West African coastal country bordering Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso, over the fine sandy beaches of the Seychelles. After a tough end to the season that saw him win three titles in a row (Florence, Antwerp and Basel) and lift the Davis Cup in Malaga, Felix Auger-Aliassime would have fully deserved the joy of being idle under the coconut tree. But a greater and nobler mission awaited him in the northern Kara region of the country where his father Sam was born.
Since the first game of 2020, the FAA has donated $5 per point earned in the official competition to benefit Togolese children. Its partner BNP Paribas completes this donation by multiplying this amount by 3 (€15 per point). At the end of this third season, a total of 16,486 points earned €329,720, and it’s time to get out there to see the world’s 6th player’s humanitarian project come to fruition. “He is in great shapehe rejoiced by phone in early December, between two visits to the villages. I saw beautiful things, the renovation of school classrooms, we provided the elementary schools I attended with all the necessary equipment, school supplies, and sports equipment. It sounds silly, but these are balls, shoes, soccer goal nets, etc…”
“It was important for me to get to know not only the little ones in primary school, but also the older children who, thanks to the project, are now carpenters, seamstresses, welders or supervising workshops for other people’s students.”
In total, 2,740 direct and 17,600 indirect financial aid was provided to ten villages. Ten sports fields were repaired, many schools were renovated, 80 teachers were trained and provided with equipment, hundreds of children received food, clothing, medical or psychological assistance. “It was important for me to meet not only the little ones studying in primary school, but also the adults we support, aged 17-20, who dropped out of school and are currently studying thanks to the project. supervised in the workshops of carpenters, tailors, welders or othersdetails Canada. They accompany them in their favorite activities and are often young people who have experienced family difficulties, losses, separations or other difficulties. We create a good framework for young people who sometimes leave the country, who are a little lost, to try to succeed in their professions, to become independent when they get a diploma. I am very proud to see that everything I have invested with BNP Paribas has really paid off. »
Number of points scored by Felix Auger-Aliassime on the circuit this year. His total of 16,486 over the past three years is up 1,700 from the previous two seasons, a sign of his progress with his first four titles in 2022.
Born in Montreal after his father moved to Canada in the mid-1990s, Felix Auger-Aliassime only discovered the country where his roots grew in 2013. This visit was only the second of his young life (at the age of 22). ) to lands. from their ancestors. “We are in Gara district, but we have visited several surrounding villagesdescribed. It’s not like home, there are so many different villages, each of them has its own characteristics, I don’t remember the names, but we went to this region with the caregivers. (NGO supporting the project in the field) who are there When I started the project, I had the idea of going to Togo, we told ourselves that wherever there is a need, we should go to a place where there is an opportunity to do something good, we should bring change. Also, let’s not go there because my father is there or because we have family. We really went to the area where participation is important. »
Dances and physical exercises interrupted the Canadian’s trips from village to village to sports fields. (DR)
Nine years after its first stop in Togo, the FAA has been able to measure everything that needs to be done so that its efforts in the courts can liberate part of the population of this country of 8.5 million people, which belongs to the category of least developed countries (LDC). “From what I’ve seen and the discussions I’ve had with my father, who grew up here, things are moving forward, but not at the level we’d like, of course, it’s regrettable. There are still many things that have not changed. This, like everywhere else, was neglected, with certain infrastructures put in place over time, such as the tennis courts he played at hotels in Kara or his home in Sokode. We think it’s a shame, there’s a bit of a problem here, it’s not developing as it should. »
He was greeted like Santa Claus before the hour
Coming into contact with children who had greeted him a bit like Santa an hour ago, the eventual Davis Cup winner was plunged into a world so far removed from the one he frequents on the ATP circuit that he will surely grow out of. . “Yes, they told them who I wassaid they know I’m a tennis player, they’ve had some help because of what I’ve done, BNP Paribas or Care, they know the three main pillars of the project, but after that they’re mostly children in primary schools. their things, in their own world. Recognition or anything like that, it’s not important. They are still far from being interested in all this and knowing what is going on because they live in another reality here. Of course, they can follow my example and aspire to do great things themselves, but the main thing for me is to see them in good conditions, in a healthy and safe environment. »
“A very rewarding trip” that the FAA received lots of “love and warmth”. (DR)
From this return to family sources “A nice and useful trip”The best indoor player of 2022 (four titles all under one roof) will remember the full welcome “love and warmth” It wasn’t going to be easy physically, but it gave him the biggest benefit for the head. “In spite of everything, I manage to relaxhe secured between the two transfers. It’s the emotional side that’s hard during training or tournaments, the stress of having to perform day in and day out and not having it for a few weeks gives you a chance to regenerate. Then it’s true, the calendar is busy, it’s long days, we spend a lot of time in the sun, outside with the children, we drive a lot from village to village, so I rest a little between trips. from school to school. Now when I get back to Europe I will take a few days to really rest before I resume training. »
In the land of his fathers, Felix Auger-Aliassime immersed himself in the daily life of the Togolese.