On the Road to South Africa
Earlier this year, former professional footballer Bjorn Heidenstrom set out by bicycle from his native Norway on a roundabout route for South Africa, which he plans to reach in time for the June World Cup football finals in South Africa. Heidenstrom, who arrived on the African continent earlier this year, has been raising awareness about refugees as well as collecting signed football shirts from professional and amateur clubs in the countries along his route. These will be used to make the world's largest football shirt, which will be displayed in South Africa during the World Cup.
Heidenstrom is not the only humanitarian travelling through Africa. The Spanish-based initiative, Play4Africa, has embarked on a long road trip to raise awareness about the key problems facing millions of young Africans, including those displaced by war and persecution, and to reinforce their "right to play."
A Play4Africa convoy left Almeria in southern Spain on March 7 and is scheduled to reach Cape Town on the opening day of the World Cup in June. The convoy will be stopping at dozens of towns en route, handing out footballs, boots and humanitarian aid to needy people. The beneficiaries willl also include thousands of young refugee sport lovers in countries such as Sudan, Rwanda and Kenya.
UNHCR is providing support and logistical help to both these worthy causes. We will be providing updates of their progress in the run-up to the greatest sports show on earth.