ROGER Federer, who is arguably the best male tennis player the world has ever seen, met President Hage Geingob at State House during a courtesy call where the multiple grand slam winner informed the Head of State of the special educational programme he supports in Namibia through his foundation.
The tennis maestro took time off between the Australian Open and the next world tennis tournament to visit Namibia where he supports an early childhood education programme through the Roger Federer Foundation before flying out to Cape Town in South Africa where he will play a charity match against arch rival Rafael Nadal over the weekend.
Federer told international media institutions that he is sufficiently healed from an injury he sustained at the recent Australian Open to play in the Match For Africa against Nadal which is aimed at generating more funds for the Roger Federer Foundation.
Three young Namibian tennis players had the unique opportunity to rub shoulders, not only with the president of the country, but also with the tennis champion who had some inspiring words for them. The 11-year-old Ayanda Basson, a Namibian junior masters tennis champion herself as well as Dian en Sarel Janse van Rensburg were delighted to have the opportunity to be inspired by their sporting hero.
Before the formal meeting took place Dr. Geingob welcomed Federer to Namibia and informed him that he always admired the talent of sports star.
“The work of Roger Federer and his Foundation in Early Childhood Development in Namibia is highly commendable. Thank you Roger Federer for your outstanding philanthropy and for visiting Namibia. You are an exemplary champion,” dr. Geingob said.
Dr. Geingob said that education is the greatest equalizer and that the work the sport star is doing through his foundation will go a long way in achieving Namibia’s education goals.
Federer informed Dr. Geingob that he plans on travelling extensively through Namibia with his family when he comes back for his next visit. He said this visit was to experience firsthand how early childhood education is practiced at various schools by his foundation’s proxy in Namibia the Church Alliance for Orphans (CAFO).
“I came here to see for myself how young children are educated. I listened to the teachers, the parents and our local team on the ground to ascertain if we are on the right track,” Federer said.
The sport star through the Roger Federer Foundation and in association with CAFO has been active in Namibia to strengthen the quality of early childhood education in vulnerable communities.
The main goal of the School Readiness Initiative, which started in January 2018 and will be running until the end of 2025, is to secure a good start in primary education for vulnerable children aged between three and eight.
The programme is co-sponsored by the Swiss Botnar Foundation and is aimed at increasing children’s participation in organized learning at least one year before their transition to primary school.
“It is our responsibility to achieve a point where children can be educated to a high standard even though their teachers has to use available resources economically and modestly,” said Federer.
In Southern Africa the foundation is conducting similar programmes in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The foundation also supports a similar programme in Switzerland.
The Roger Federer Foundation has since the start of the programme at 7 000 primary school and preschools in southern Africa spent more than half a billion Namibian Dollars (U$52 million) for its education initiatives.