Who knew that just a few games of soccer could help save hundreds of lives?
Tomorrow the Harvard men’s club soccer team will be hosting the “Kick Out Malaria” Tournament for the second year in a row. The competition will feature matches between the men’s club teams from Harvard, Boston College, Brown, and Northeastern in the hopes of raising money to prevent malaria in Sierra Leone.
The tournament started last year when the Crimson squad partnered with an international NGO called Global Minimum (Gmin), a volunteer-based organization co-founded by the Harvard club soccer team’s former co-president, David Sengeh. The NGO undertakes projects to help distribute insecticide-treated mosquito nets to households in Sierra Leone.
The Crimson, which has taken first place in the New England Collegiate Club Soccer League for two consecutive years, has had players travel to Sierra Leone to work with Gmin on some of its projects. But the squad wanted to find a way to help the cause a little closer to home.
Since the NGO also hosts a soccer tournament in Sierra Leone as part of its goal to educate citizens about the dangers of malaria and ways to prevent it, it made sense for Harvard to host a similar event here.
At the tournament, the teams will have a chance to play quality opponents and to become more educated about the fight against malaria. Crimson players will talk to the athletes from participating colleges prior to their matches about the disease and their efforts to prevent it.
The Swiss Consulate of Boston is sponsoring the event, and all profits will go towards helping Global Minimum pay the costs of organizing its educational tournament in Sierra Leone.
“We were obviously having a lot of fun from playing, but we wanted it to be more than that,” Sengeh said. “We wanted to have fun, but also [to] create value for others.”