When not on the pitch or in the recording studio, Memphis Depay pursues his passion for helping the underprivileged. Born to a Dutch mother, Depay grew up in Holland and has had a football career that has taken him around the world. However, he has come to recognise a particular affinity with Ghana, his father’s birthplace. This led him to launch a charity for deaf and blind school children on the beautiful Cape Coast. Schön! speaks to him about growing up, the beautiful game and giving back.
Could you tell us about the Memphis Foundation? What were its beginnings and what was your goal when you started it?
First of all, I believe in people helping each other. I always wanted to do something to give back, but I didn’t know exactly what. I knew I wanted to go back to my roots. I had the idea to help deaf and blind people, because they get put away in another community and they don’t have equal chances and opportunities, so that was the beginning.
Tell us about your work at The Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind.
It’s the largest school in Ghana, with 700 children, and we have provided braille machines and more teachers, because it costs a lot to get in teachers who actually want to work over there. We have provided equipment too, because we want them to exercise; some of them are talented athletes and they need to have the proper equipment. We also provided swimming lessons because they are close to the coast and, you know, the water is quite rough.
When are you planning to go and visit the school next?
With my schedule, you never know. But for the last three years I have visited, and it’s been amazing. Of course, I would love to go next Summer – we will have to see how it goes – but I’m sure I’ll be connected with the students. Every time I come back, it gives me an incredible amount of joy.
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