At just 23 years old, Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has changed the lives of millions of hungry children in the United Kingdom, giving a voice to a nation in need and inspiring a new era of philanthropy, but far from taking any personal credit for his modern-day heroism, the resolutely grounded star of British football attributes his life-saving activism to the neighbors, community workers and his mum who offered him “a beacon of hope” as a child.
The sporting prodigy, who has raised £20m in financial aid and supplies for food distribution charity FareShare, dedicates his 9.1 million-strong social platform to youth initiatives that help children living in poverty, which he experienced while growing up in Wythenshawe, south Manchester.
"For years, my nights were scattered with tears, anxiety and fear. My mum—scared, facing a day of uncertainty about where she was going to get food from to feed me and my family,” he tells Vogue. “No child should have to be sat in a classroom worried about how they are going to eat that weekend."
When food was scarce, neighbors and youth centers stepped in, offering meals, kindness, and stability to local families, something that the activist vowed never to forget. “Every single person in that community contributed to my success and I knew one day I would be offered the opportunity to repay them.
I would be doing them an injustice if I didn’t use the platform I have to talk to challenges and adversities.”
Today, with the announcement of a game-changing partnership with Burberry, Rashford’s UK youth work is set to go global.
London Youth, which supports a network of more than 600 community organizations in the capital; Wide Rainbow, a New York-based non-profit that provides access to arts education across the US; and the International Youth Foundation, which enables young entrepreneurs and community leaders, particularly in Asia, to close nutrition gaps and unlock access to livelihoods, are all set to receive life-changing funding.
“You should never be ashamed to ask for help.
Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose.
Never drop your head in shame,” he writes in a moving letter to his 10-year-old self, published on November 2.
“Please, never go to bed feeling like you don’t have a role to play in this life because, believe me when I tell you, the possibilities are endless.”
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