Surgical Poverty
At the age of 21, Bukayo Saka is not just the face of Arsenal Football Club, he is the face of every Nigerian who emigrated to North London. He is the face of every black child whose dreams ignite as the Emirates symphony floods the night. Despite his tender years and relaxed demeanor, Bukayo Saka is not ignorant of the significance of his example. He has already inspired generations with his tireless work ethic and mercurial footwork. However, his recent partnership with BigShoe aims to fill a much bigger pair of boots. Bukayo Saka and BigShoe are fighting against surgical poverty, which hampers the prospects of children everywhere.

The Issue of Surgical Poverty Amongst Deprived Children

A Meta-Analysis by Bull World Health Organ found that 1.7 billion children could not access surgical care in 2017. This surgical poverty exists intensely in low-income communities, where less than 3% of children can access life-saving medical care. Surgical poverty has a devastating impact on children under 5 in particular. Treatable birth defects, injuries and diseases cause mass disability and death. In 2019, 5.2 million children under 5 died from treatable causes. Despite meaningful progress in infant mortality rates this century, surgical poverty still wreaks havoc amongst the poorest children.

BigShoe’s Mission to Provide Impoverished Children With Critical Surgery

BigShoe is a charity that funds critical operations for children who cannot afford them. It began with a fundraising campaign for Nourisson, a little girl who was born in Togo with a cleft. Today, BigShoe is a vast NGO that encourages prominent football players around the globe to fork out large sums of money, funding operations for needy children. Mesut Özil, Antonio Rüdiger, Phillip Lahm, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Paul Pogba are some of the high-profile players who partnered with BigShoe over the last two decades. Since the creation of BigShoe during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, BigShoe has facilitated essential operations for 2,398 children in need, as of January 2023.

Bukayo Saka and BigShoe

In November 2022, Bukayo Sako joined a growing community of premier league footballers who dedicate their platform and paychecks to charitable causes. In keeping with the example that his peers set, Bukoyo Saka made a diligent donation. Together, Bukayo Saka and BigShoe facilitated 120 life-changing operations for impoverished children.

Speaking about the new partnership, Bukayo Saka stated: “I feel blessed to be in a position where I can contribute to making the children’s lives easier and better through these surgeries… for me, it is very important to use my abilities to have a positive impact where I can. I want to do more and more and help as many children as I can.”

Whilst not much older than a child himself, Bukayo Saka speaks with wisdom beyond his years. Bukaya Saka seems determined to make a lasting impact with his influence and money. The young cub sets an example for his senior premier league peers who are content to live lavishly. Child poverty remains rife in the modern world, but even one player can make a massive difference. Bukayo Saka and BigShoe play for the most important team of all, as the future of the planet rests in the health of the children.

– David Smith
Photo: Flickr