I am writing to you as a fellow 1GOAL supporter, to share my story. My name is Stephen Odai and I am 18 years old from Accra in Ghana. I just finished my basic school and now I play football. Two weeks ago I was signed by one of the big clubs in Ghana, Liberty Professionals.
I have six brothers and sisters and I am the first born, so they are all depending on me. I was not in school because of lack of finance, but one day my headmaster called me and said ‘Stephen if you want to play football you have to further your education.’
It was hard because I didn't have money for the fees. All the money went to buy food for my family.
The only way out for me was to go to the road side and sell items so that I can raise money for my admission fees. I did that for some months and I was able to raise the money for my admission fee, and to support my family.
Without education attached to my football I cannot make it in life. I raise the money, but many of my friends cannot pay the admission fee and do not go to school.
I realise it is not enough to make sure I can go to school. I want to help everyone have the same chance to go to school.
Leaders from all over the world are coming to South Africa the day of the final match to talk about education. I have sent them my message, so if you join me and send your message, I hope they will listen to all of us.
I would like to show you a video that tells my story. And then I ask you to send your own message to world leaders about the importance of education:
One day I met 1GOAL people in Ghana and I explained everything that I am going through about how I manage to pay my own school fees and my family as well. 1GOAL connect football and education like me, and they asked me to come to South Africa to share my story.
I met the Ghana team and my hero Richard Kingson presented me with a ticket to watch the match against Uruguay in Soccer City. It was amazing and I am not going to forget the experience in my life.
I hope that one day I play at Chelsea and play for my national team the Black Stars as well. I’m training hard and practising hard to get there because there is a saying that the sky is the limit, and I will never give up even though things are difficult.
I hope this dream comes true for all children. So I would like to use this opportunity to urge parents, our leaders and all people to support 1GOAL for the 72 million children who don’t have the chance to go to school.
Stephen Odai on behalf of 1GOAL