VANCOUVER, Canada — In a country where 75% of families suffer from poverty, superstar Sadio Mane’s meteoric rise in the world of soccer in the past few years has been a shining beacon of hope for the people of Senegal. Recently earning a big money move to German giant Bayern Munich fresh off delivering the African Cup of Nations to the people of Senegal, Mane has dominated headlines. However, those headlines don’t just acknowledge his achievements on the pitch, but also the achievements of Mane’s philanthropic work in his home country of Senegal. Sadio Mane’s philanthropic work in Senegal over the years has seen many lasting impacts in the country, particularly in his native village of Bambali, where he provides monthly stipends of €70 to every family in the village. These are the impacts Sadio Mane’s philanthropic work has had on his home village of Bambali and the country of Senegal.
In 2019, Mane donated £250,000 to build a school in Bambali. Not stopping at the school’s construction, Mane takes an active role in promoting academic achievement in the school every year, regularly rewarding the best performing students with support such as laptops and monetary awards.
In Senegal where the literacy rate is almost 52% for those 15 and older, with areas such as Bambali see 38% of children out of school, having a national icon in Sadio Mane steeping in to not only provide the infrastructure and funding for education but a personal motivation for youth to dedicate themselves to it, gives a holistic benefit beyond the tangible benefits of Mane’s philanthropic work.
Mane’s Hospital Serving Senegal’s Villages
Among the greatest achievements of Mane’s philanthropic work in Senegal is the construction of a hospital in Bambali, in which he levied the government to provide personnel for and financially funded its construction. In June 2021, the soccer superstar met with Senegalese President Macky Sall to propose building a hospital in Bambali, which has little to no access to medical facilities, pledging $693,000 towards its construction.
“The Liverpool striker has presented the Head of State with an ambitious plan to build a hospital in Bambali and is counting on state support for medical personnel,” the official account for the presidency tweeted.
Mane would go on to attend the opening of the hospital, which is stated to provide medical support and facilities not only to Bambali, but also to 34 surrounding villages. Where only 32% of rural households in Senegal have access to regular health care, the provision of a hospital specifically serving villages is monumental – and no one understands this more intimately than Sadio Mane himself.
“I remember my sister was also born at home because there is no hospital in our village,” he said in his biopic documentary “Sadio Mane, Made in Senegal.” “It was a really, really sad situation for everyone. I wanted to build one to give people hope.”
As a result of Mane’s personal experiences navigating poverty in his childhood and the birth of his sister, the hospital will house a dedicated maternity ward. Senegal suffers from a “maternal mortality rate of 315 deaths for every 100,000 births, compared to just 19 deaths per 100,000 births in the United States.” This issue is even worse in rural areas such as Bambali and the other villages the hospital will serve.
Empowering Young Women in Senegal
Mane’s philanthropic work has seen him become an ambassador for Right to Play, an international non-profit organization with a mission to empower vulnerable children. He has collaborated with the non-profit to provide equality and empowerment to young girls and women in Senegal, raising “awareness of the importance for both girls and boys to be able to access sport and education opportunities,” according to Right to Play’s website.
This work is crucial in Senegal where women face numerous forms of violence exacerbated by a lack of financial opportunity and education, where 35% of women are married by the age of 18 and “23% of women and girls aged 15-49 have been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation”.
Right to Play has established the Renforcement des Capacités des filles par le Sport et le Jeu (RECAF-Jeu) program, which will “use the power of sport and play to promote gender equality and the rights of adolescent girls and young women in the country” with Mane’s philanthropic work helping in its funding and administration.
A Testament to Effective and Holistic Philanthropy
Mane’s philanthropic work demonstrates how applying dedication to the fight against poverty through diligent and informed donations and projects can provide life-changing support. A model citizen and hero for Senegal, Mane’s philanthropic work continues to see his iconicity grow in Senegal, from his village of Bambali to the capital Dakar.
Mane’s philanthropic work stands testament to what a holistic approach to spending the wealth one might accumulate in life can do, where he stated it best: “Why would I want 10 Ferraris, 20 diamond watches, or two planes? What will these objects do for me and for the world? I was hungry and I had to work in the field; I survived hard times, played football barefooted, I did not have an education and many other things, but today with what I earn thanks to football, I can help my people. I built schools, a stadium, we provide clothes, shoes, food for people who are in extreme poverty. In addition, I give 70 euros per month to all people in a very poor region of Senegal which contributes to their family economy. I do not need to display luxury cars, luxury homes, trips and even planes. I prefer that my people receive a little of what life has given me”.
– Majeed Malhas