Caring Mario backs pal's charity
- Sat 08 Jan 2011, 10:58AM
- Posted by Chris Bailey
Mario Balotelli has raised money for one of his favourite charities by starring in a new advert for Gazzetta dello Sport.
City supported Mario’s choice of charity by providing the Stadium and club facilities free of charge for the campaign shoot.
The Cuey Machar Secondary School Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by John Kon Kelei, a former child soldier in Sudan and a friend of Mario, is the beneficiary of the Italian international’s appearance in the advert.
Cuey Machar Secondary School Foundation, based both in The Netherlands and in the Sudan, was set up to raise funding for the construction of a secondary school in the Sudanese village of Cuey Machar, 11 km from the city of Bor.
Mario and John met in Milan in May 2010. Kon was there to take part, as a speaker, in a conference focused on the problem of children used as soldiers and war victims.
John Kon Kelei was kidnapped by the rebels of Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA) when only four years old and at the age of seven was forced into military training with many other children of the village.
“Kon has told me that he was forced by the rebels to use a rifle that was much heavier and bigger than himself, therefore he was not even able to hold it,” said Mario. “Then he managed to run away and to save himself, but many other children died.”
At the age of 10, Kon managed to leave his war-torn country with other refugees. They reached Rotterdam in 2000. Today he is 29 years old and holds a Masters Degree in International and European Law from Radboud University of Nijmegen.
Kon has started the building of a school in Sudan, thanks to the donations that his Foundation receives.