Supporting Sustainability The Roger Federer Way
Roger Federer knows a thing or two about sustainability. Now in his 20th year on tour, Federer is still winning Grand Slam and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles and contending for the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking.
Federer is also interested in sustainability off the court through his Roger Federer Foundation, which has reached more than 850,000 children in almost 14 years. The foundation helps children affected by poverty in southern Africa and Switzerland by supporting various educational projects that attempt to improve the quality of early education and life for those who are disadvantaged.
Federer says that as much as he believes in direct aid through physical or financial assistance, watching those children and families grow from the foundation’s help to be able to handle things on their own is perhaps even more rewarding.
“I think once we intervene and we help the people, it’s that once we leave, they are sustainable by themselves,” Federer said. “It could be in any field. It’s just that we have empowered them, we have made them stronger. We gave them advice, tips, helped them financially. But mostly, they helped themselves. And because of our help, now it is sustainable.”
Last year alone, the foundation, which was founded in 2003 and is currently invested in 16 initiatives and local partners in seven different countries (Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Switzerland) supported children with USD6.4 million and countless hours of interacting with youngsters.
In his interview with the foundation’s CEO, Dr. Janine Händel, Federer recalled one trip in which he was cooking maize with the children and their families at a school. Federer saw how excited those people were to realise that not only could they cook for themselves, but grow their own products too, enabling them to feed their families themselves.
“I love empowerment, just in general. Making somebody a stronger person and then that person being able to do it on their own is a wonderful thing,” Federer said. “A little push can really do wonders and we’re going to keep doing that for years to come.”
The Roger Federer Foundation aims to reach its one millionth child by 2018, and keep empowering those children to believe that they have the power to continue growing.
“Sustainability is a tricky one, but a good one and I’m totally motivated,” Federer said. “I’m all in. I’m ready.”
Federer returns to the ATP World Tour next week at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.