"I’m determined to give something back," says Saido
ALBION striker Saido Berahino today announced plans to launch a foundation in his name to help the vulnerable and disadvantaged.
The Saido Berahino Foundation will be launched at a Gala benefit in London next week with the immediate aim of raising funds for charitable work both at home and overseas.
It’s a proud moment for the young Barclays Premier League footballer and it was made even better as WaterAid also confirmed that Saido will become an official Ambassador for the charity.
His foundation will assist WaterAid in raising money to give vulnerable and disadvantaged people better access to clean water and sanitation.
Saido said: "This is a proud day for me and my family.
“Having grown up in Burundi, I know only too well the devastating impact the lack of access to clean water or sanitation can have on families. It is fundamental to everything and prevents people from lifting themselves out of poverty.
"I’m determined to give something back through the work of my foundation and WaterAid.”
Born in Burundi, Saido fled his native country during the Burundian Civil War at the age of 10. He arrived unable to speak English but his love for football enabled him to integrate quickly into British society.
Saido was signed by Albion at the age of 12 and his career elevated to new heights when he was called-up to the England Under-21 squad. In 2014 he was named England U21 Player of the Year.
To begin with, his foundation's main focus will be assisting WaterAid with various projects - work which Saido hopes will teach him how to do the same back in his native Burundi.
But beyond that, he wants the foundation to help with charitable work here in the UK – to which he has already made a start with long-term backing for a children's charity based in Coventry
And Head Coach Tony Pulis is delighted to see the striker getting involved in the charitable project.
“This is a wonderful initiative by Saido and I applaud him for it," Pulis said. "His story is an inspiring one and this shows what I have been saying for several months now about his attitude and his growing maturity.
“It’s not easy growing up in the glare of the public eye and we all know he has had his difficulties. But he’s been a great professional for me and I’ve got nothing but praise for him.”
Since 1981, WaterAid have reached over 21 million people with safe water, transforming lives forever and aim to ensure everyone, everywhere has clean water and sanitation by 2030.