Asturias and Ghana, a little closer

The life of the Real Oviedo player , Richard Boateng ( Accra , 1992) should have been marked only by the hours he spent playing ball with his brothers. However, in a Ghana full of difficulties, the fact that his mother was blind influenced as much or more than his passion for soccer in the lives of the four little ones. «It was not easy for her or for us to get ahead. In Spain a disabled person is a person above their functional diversity. In Africa they are not treated like that, it is very hard to have a disability: they marginalize you. My mother was taken away from her by her family and she took care of us without anyone’s help, “says the footballer.

After getting out of that situation, in which “neither family nor friends nor society” make anything easier, the African player promised himself that he would do everything in his power so that no one would go through it. And so, in 2011, Hold My Hands was born, a foundation with which he is now launching a new project: the construction of a building in which families with members who suffer from a disability can live and train.

Boateng is clear that every small gesture, especially in Africa, serves to change something. On this occasion, the Ghanaian also has the collaboration of Asturies for Africa, an Asturian NGO with which he has been involved since he arrived in Oviedo.

The project will have an initial phase in which land will be purchased, a temporary reception center will be set up and people with disabilities will be trained to promote their autonomy. At the beginning of 2019, not only will the ball roll again for the African, but the foundations will also be laid to erect the first building in which the first five foster families will reside temporarily.

A roof and decent living conditions are the first step of ‘Hold My Hands’, but the idea is to go further, as explained by Óscar Sáinz, president of Asturies for Africa. «They will be trained professionally, it is about empowering themselves with an appropriate activity. Then a house will be rented to them, outside the center, to encourage their incorporation into commercial activity, “says Sáinz.

In later phases, the objective will be to build two more buildings and for the complex to accommodate twelve families at a time. “We know how hard it is not to have those possibilities and now that we can, we want to return what we have learned”, says Boateng himself, excited about the project. The Carbayón player, who will put shirts on sale at the beginning of the year to add to the cause, acknowledges that launching such a personal project right now is no coincidence.

«Since I arrived I saw how supportive the people in Asturias were, the involvement they have transmitted to me for helping those who need it. When I signed for Oviedo, I didn’t think I was going to find a place to carry this out so soon, nor that I was going to have this support,” the player comments excitedly.

With this new step, ‘Boa’ and his family build bridges between Oviedo and Ghana, at the same time that Asturies for Africa signs its first agreement outside of The Gambia.

“Each gesture, no matter how small, can be great and special for the lives of many people, especially in Africa”, concludes the Real Oviedo footballer with a smile.

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