Three years ago, Felix Auger-Aliassime embarked on a humanitarian project to help children in Togo, the country where his father is from. This December, for the first time, the young Canadian champion was able to go there to measure the progress made over the months. Still as enthusiastic as ever, he now wants to make a long-term commitment.
This time, it’s concrete. When he launched the #FAAPointsforChange operation at the beginning of 2020, with the support of BNP Paribas and the relay of the NGO CARE to contribute to the EduChange program and develop education in Togo, Felix Auger-Aliassime promised himself to go there as soon as possible. The Covid-19 pandemic unfortunately changed his initial plans. But after a prolific 2022 season, he was finally able to see for himself the progress of his project.
“For the past three years,” he explains, “I had been sent photos and reports, but it’s not the same to live it, to feel it, to talk on site with the young people who benefit from the program.” Accompanied by his family, including his father, who is originally from Togo, the Canadian was able to meet some of the 2,500 people whose daily lives his commitment is helping to improve through his performances on the courts, based on the following principle: for every point won in an official match, Auger-Aliassime donates $5 to contribute to the EduChange program and develop education in Togo. BNP Paribas is adding $15 at the same time.
THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING, I HOPE TO BUILD SOMETHING SOLID HERE
The world number 6 visited schools and learning centers, spoke with students and apprentices, and talked with local community leaders. Among his most memorable encounters were those with young girls and boys between 14 and 20 years old in the village of Kétao. He saw young carpenters, welders, weavers, seamstresses, mechanics and hairdressers.
It’s incredible to see that we can change their lives,” he says. During this stay, I saw what we could also improve, refine. This is just the beginning, I hope to build something solid here.” “We were able to see the concrete progress of the program this week but also what still needs to be accomplished,” confirms Vincent-Baptiste Closon, head of tennis commitment at BNP Paribas, who has been working on this project with Felix Auger-Aliassime since the beginning.
The Quebecer also hopes to facilitate access to sports facilities for Togolese children. He participated in a soccer match on one of the renovated fields of the Kémérida school club. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the fact that he was able to see the progress of some of the projects with his own eyes only strengthened the player’s resolve, which, as he explained to us back in 2020, is a long-term project: “It’s a very young project, in its infancy, a bit like my career. What I like about launching myself at a young age is that it will grow along with my career.” He’s grown a lot since then. So has his project.
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