de La Cruz sets the example

I’m always up for mocking athletes for their stupidity and excess, but fair’s fair: you should read the story linked to below about Ecuador international and Reading defender Ulises de la Cruz, who is a one man economic development authority for his home village in Ecuador:

Jobila Jorga lives in a two-room shack with her extended family of 12. She says Ulises “is the only one who cares”. “The government has done nothing to help us, we have been ignored by the authorities. “He has provided a fresh water supply, it prevents disease spreading. We used to get fungus on our skin because of the dirty water.”

The 32-year-old defender explains: “The 2002 World Cup, when Ecuador qualified for the first time, financed the 18km of water pipes and a treatment system.

“The 2006 World Cup in Germany, when we reached the second round, was important because the success means I can finance a new sports and community centre, now under construction.”

His priority for the 200 families is education. He has provided hundreds of books, a new roof and a playground. Each day, 100 primary school children receive breakfast and lunch at school, courtesy of the Ulises De la Cruz Foundation.

Health, too, is a big concern. Cramped living conditions means disease spreads easily. He has built a medical centre and has been sending money to pay for a doctor, a dentist and a nurse at the clinic.

Dr Camillo Burbuano says Ulises has been doing “what the government should be doing”.

Obviously it’s simplistic to say that footballers should all act in the same way to solve problems, not least because one shouldn’t let local or national governments off the hook, but well done for de la Cruz nonetheless, especially for the emphasis on education and setting up people to be able to look after themselves in future years.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Ecuadorean footballer rebuilds village


One Response

  1. Nice – hadn’t caught this – thanks for shining the light on it.

    There needs to be more coverage of shit like this and less on what restaurant Posh & Becks went to last night, both in soccer, sport in general, and society at large.

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