Celebs give for anti-racism raffle

21st October 2005 at 01:00
Villiers High School has an annual international student conference to discuss world events. An article in The TES about Ryan Hreljac, a Canadian teenage philanthropist who has raised millions of pounds for clean water in Africa, inspired our theme: "Making a difference, making it happen." Ryan's attendance as our guest speaker motivated Year 10 student Rizwan Bhatti to play his part in eradicating racism from football.

Rizwan approached staff and students and set up a committee to educate people about racism in sport, culminating in a multiracial football tournament. Rizwan's focus has been to prove that it's the colour of the shirt not the player's skin that is important.

Letters were sent to FIFA and the king of Spain condemning the behaviour of the Spanish team and supporters at an England-Spain international. TV advertisements were filmed, banners, posters and T-shirts were created. A website was designed to record the work done by Rizwan's team. The music department recorded a football anthem with a strong anti-racism message.

The Kick it Out charity was impressed by Rizwan's efforts and offered advice and support. Other organisations and celebrities were approached to contribute items for a raffle (thank you Tony Blair, Ken Livingstone, Will Young, Edgar Davids, the cast of Holby City, Lily Savage, BT, BA, Tottenham Hotspur and the Dixie Chicks).

Rizwan's efforts were rewarded at our international student conference this month when Charlton Athletic and England player Chris Powell visited to congratulate him on his campaign.

Dai Jones Assistant headteacher, Villiers High School, Southall To contact Rizwanemail: info@villiers.ealing.sch.uk.

Kick it Out www.kickitout.org

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