Inside the Union: Union's Michael Lahoud is intent on helping his homeland

The Union's Michael Lahoud hopes to raise $50,000to help build a school in his homeland of Sierra Leone.
The Union's Michael Lahoud hopes to raise $50,000to help build a school in his homeland of Sierra Leone.
Posted: April 20, 2013

Union midfielder Michael Lahoud has taken advantage of the educational opportunities he has received in this country and he's intent on helping others earn the same in his homeland.

Lahoud was born in Sierra Leone, a country of more than six million residents in western Africa. He left for this country when he was 6, departing at the beginning of a civil war that would last 11 years, through 2002.

Now his goal is to help build a school, aid youngsters, and give them the gift of education and hope. Lahoud is working with a charity called Schools for Salone. The goal is to build schools in Sierra Leone. To get things started, the goal is to raise $50,000.

According to the website ( http://www.schoolsforsalone.org.) $50,000 helps build and support a whole school, including the ability to provide a well, latrines, books, supplies, uniforms, and teacher training in the summer.

Needless to say, $50,000 goes much further in Sierra Leone than in the United States.

"To do this in the States, $50,000 probably builds a door," Lahoud said.

The 26-year-old Lahoud has always placed a high priority on education, having earned a degree in mathematics from Wake Forest in 31/2 years. His heart bleeds for the youngsters who have so little going for them in terms of educational opportunities.

"The war has been over for about 10 years, but the country is so heavily depleted in terms of education, and the resources aren't there," Lahoud said. "Right now the country sits in the bottom two or three in literacy in the continent."

So this is simply a story of somebody who feels fortunate to have prospered in the United States educational system and wants to give back.

Lahoud, who was acquired by the Union on May 17 from Chivas USA in the Danny Califf trade, says people can contribute in a number of ways.

To donate, one could go to the aforementioned website. There is a place with Lahoud's name and his story. In addition, to keep up with fund-raisers he will be conducting, follow him on twitter (@mikelahoud) or facebook - www.facebook.com/mikelahoud.

Each day he considers himself fortunate but thinks of the many children who have it so difficult in Sierra Leone.

"The destruction this war caused affected my family and many I know from Sierra Leone," he said. "Also, seeing how I could have easily been one of those child soldiers, I realize how fortunate I am."

So he won't relax until he raises enough for the first school.

"As athletes, we have an amazing platform to do something bigger than ourselves," he said. "Building schools is a chance to do something close to the heart."

And through such a noble project he hopes to enrich the minds of many youngsters.


Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @sjnard.

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