WHILE his fellow team mates were in training, Dublin footballer and county hurler Ciarán Kilkenny was in Africa. In March, the player ruptured a tendon in his knee. The subsequent operation was a success, but put him out of competitive sport for the rest of the season.
Keen to use his recovery time well Ciarán, a special ambassador for Edmund Rice Development, visited Mazabuka and Kabwe in Zambia to meet the young people in projects run by Edmund Rice missionaries and local communities.
In Kabwe, Ciarán met brothers Enock and Harold – aged 21 and 23. He said: “Harold volunteers in the centre here and works to keep the kids off the streets. He told me that if they weren’t here that those kids would most likely be involved in drugs, crime or prostitution, at risk from HIV and AIDs. Instead, they’re here playing football and chess.”
The young men’s situation hit Ciaran hard. “The two lads are the same age as me, and it was just like chatting to a few of my friends at home. The difference is that I can afford to go on to college and there will be job opportunities available to me when I finish. These two very smart men don’t have the opportunities I have. This is why these services are so important.”
The Edmund Rice Development Big Match Dinner will take place at Croke Park on Friday September 19. Tickets €100 from www.edmundricedevelopment.org.