Student charity gives football shirts a new lease of life in Africa



A group of generous University of Sheffield students, who have set up a charity donating unwanted football shirts to children in Africa, are celebrating a soar in donations following transfer day deadlines.

Afrikit is the brainchild of five third-year students at the University of Sheffield, who following a visit to Africa, realised that children were extremely fond of both football and the associated kits, but did not have the funds to buy football shirts for themselves.

Now, following a bout of transfer day deadlines in which players have been bought and sold by clubs including Liverpool and Newcastle, the charity has been inundated with more than 200 unwanted football shirts over the last week, which will soon be aboard a flight to Africa to benefit impoverished but football-loving communities.

The shirts are sent over by Afrikit’s partners, including Non Governmental Organisations such as Kick4Life, who run football related HIV-awareness projects in Lesotho, encouraging children to be tested for HIV in return for a shirt.

So far Afrikit, made up of Jack Hands, Elliot Bryan, Andrew Trott, all aged 20, and Terry Denness, aged 21, has collected over 3,000 shirts and have donated to 10 African countries. Shirt donations have come from amateur teams, individuals, and some professional clubs.

The non-profit charity has become so successful that kit bins are being set up in every Decathalon in the UK to encourage people to donate.

Jack Hands, who is studying Politics at the University of Sheffield, said: “The idea for Afrikits started after our friend visited Africa and was instantly swamped when the local people saw him wearing his old Manchester United football shirt. We thought we could maybe make a difference by collecting old or disused shirts and offering them to a good home.

“Over the last 12 months, we have gone from painstakingly asking friends, family and local teams for donations to being a nationally recognised sports development charity, receiving hundreds of shirts. I\’m just absolutely delighted the amount of work the team has put in has really helped people in need.”