SANTIAGO, Chile– Considered one of the best defenders in soccer history, the legendary Spain-born Moroccan player Achraf Hakimi is famous for being the first Moroccan player to win the Champions League. is one of the most iconic figures on the Moroccan team in the FIFA World Cup. The 24-year-old full-back started his professional career early with Real Madrid’s youth setup program. He gradually rose to one of the highly acclaimed FIFA Men’s World 11 with an aggressive style of play featuring impressive acceleration, sprint speed, stamina and other outstanding qualities.
During the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Hakimi and his team made Morocco the first African and Arab country to reach the semi-finals, immortalizing his name. There is, however, much more to the renowned soccer player. Hakimi has emerged as a leading social activist for education equity and youth development in recent years, along with his marvelous achievements in world-class soccer games. Here is what you need to know about Achraf Hakimi’s charity work.
Champion of Children’s Rights of UNICEF Morocco
In 2021, UNICEF named Hakimi “Champion of Children’s Rights” in Morocco as a part of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the organization. The football player expressed his pride and gratitude for being involved in the cause and mentioned the disproportional impact of the ongoing public health crisis caused by COVID-19: “The children are the most affected by the effects of this pandemic, especially the most vulnerable amongst them. It is a duty for everyone to support their cause. I will be mobilized and support the promotion of children’s rights in Morocco.” In 2022, he gained attention by again collaborating with UNICEF. He called for “individual and collective patience, perseverance, and discipline” in combating the pandemic and affirmed his support for children’s rights in his home country.
The Achraf Hakimi Foundation
This year, Hakimi announced the launch of the Achraf Hakimi Foundation, a charity dedicated to empowering youths from underprivileged communities through sports and education. Collaborating with various associations, the Foundation aims to provide the necessary tools for children from disadvantaged backgrounds to build self-confidence and have the means to follow their dreams.
The Achraf Hakimi Foundation ensures the effectiveness of partnerships by investing in organizations sharing the same vision, creating plans based on empirical research and evaluations, supporting the teamwork model and encouraging the participation of young children at the center of all operations. The Foundation offers funds to multiple orphanages and public centers, changing the life trajectories of thousands of youths in Morocco. The Achraf Hakimi Foundation overlooks and sustains the normal functioning of services, including:
- Care: The funds help purchase comfort equipment and upgrade facilities to improve the living conditions of the supported agencies, centers and homes. Apart from the physical space reform, the Foundation is investing in expanding psychological and medical support and opening after-school programs.
- Education: Partner organizations receive support for ameliorating technologies and other educational facilities used in the classroom. Faculties and personnel are also receiving training for better teaching quality. Furthermore, the Foundation is establishing scholarship and study abroad programs.
- Vocational Training: The Achraf Hakimi Foundation supports multiple public centers to expand their existing training programs, including upgrading equipment, enhancing skills in learning and opening new training sectors.
- Sports: Hakimi sees sports as a fundamental program pillar and underlines the importance of athletic training in education and academics. Under his proposal, the Foundation incorporates physical education into the curriculum. The Foundation helps improve sports facilities, provide athletic training and build discourse around sports disciplines.
After-Earthquake Visit to Morocco
After the earthquake on September 8, 2023, Hakimi planned to visit the communities affected by the natural disaster. Several weeks later, he appeared in Taroudant, the southwest of Morocco. In a recent post, he shared stories of playing soccer with the local children and left a heart emoji to express his joy for the meeting. Young girls and boys wore his iconic soccer jersey and hugged him with excitement written on their faces — the city was thrilled by his visit.
Representing the Moroccan diasporic community, Hakimi gained substantial respect for valuing and voicing his cultural roots. Seen as a national hero for Morocco and a soccer legend for the world, he sets an eminent example for celebrities with distinguished leadership in supporting youth education and empowerment. Achraf Hakimi’s charity work, as many firmly believe, is actively making the world a better place.
– Shixin Zhao