2003 : Roger Federer for Africa

Aug 7, 2023, 5:05:44 PM

Roger Federer helps African children

There is no better place on Earth for Roger Federer than those where no one knows him. As he was visiting a school in Africa one day, a teacher asked him about tennis because he did not know what it was. So, he drew a court and a racket with a piece of chalk on the black board. “Oh! You play ping-pong!” Close enough. Federer was there for his foundation –the Roger Federer Foundation, established in 2003. His aim was to help poor children in six southern African countries and in Switzerland. Back then, he had just won Wimbledon, the first of his 20 Grand Slam titles. Aged only 22, he wanted to “give back a part of the happiness he felt to humanity.” This came from his mother Lynette, who was born next to Johannesburg, and was inspired by Bill and Melinda Gates’ philanthropic actions and contacts. The Roger Federer Foundation has invested €68M on 9,300 schools and kindergartens and has helped 2.4 million kids since it was created. Federer’s motto has always been: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” It is why he has always helped the others; in 2010, he faced Rafael Nadal in front of 10,500 people in the first-ever Match for Africa –a charity match played at the Hallenstadion in Zurich which raised €2.8M. It was a major event for Federer, whose dream was to  “become as famous for [his] foundation as for tennis.” In 2021, he hosted an auction in collaboration with Christie’s; the public could purchase the rackets he used when he won Wimbledon in 2007 and the French Open in 2009, as well as his 2005 Wimbledon shoes. It raised a total of €3.3M. He also raised $182,000 to help the victims of the September 2019 and January 2020 fires in Australia, hosted a dozen events of this type, and went to Namibia, Zambia, and Botswana for humanitarian projects. Hence Roger Federer being appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund.