VfL Wolfsburg are seen as a leader when it comes to social projects, with the club using its reputation as a Bundesliga football club for a number of years now, most notably to bring socially relevant topics to light. Plenty of male and female players have committed to working as ambassadors or sponsors for foundations and charitable associations.
One of those is Germany international Ridle Baku, whose family is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The North Kivu region in the east of the country, which in terms of surface area is the second-largest in Africa, suffers greatly from poverty and also from repeated armed conflicts between government forces and over 100 rebel groups, causing numerous civilian casualties. The female population is particularly at risk of aggression and sexual violence, and children being forcibly recruited to fight is also not uncommon. Safe spaces and guaranteeing education become all the more important in circumstances like these, particularly for girls. This is where the ‘Improved after’ project comes in, which Baku has launched with the support of the children’s charity World Vision. The 25-year-old told us about his reasons for creating the project, his first trip to his father’s home country and what he is hoping to achieve.