It was not long ago that Kylian Mbappé was a young boy in the poor commune of Bondy, located in the north east suburbs of Paris, France.
Like many other children living in impoverished areas, Mbappé turned to sports. He idolized Cristiano Ronaldo, dreaming of the day he can mirror the Real Madrid star’s success.
That dream became a reality for Mbappé, who has become a household name due to his stellar play during the World Cup, which included scoring the final goal for France in their Finals victory over Croatia on Sunday. The 19-year-old’s efforts throughout the tournament not only earned him the 2018 World Cup Best Young Player Award, but also winnings that totaled up to $500,000.
However, Mbappé, who became the world’s second most expensive soccer player with his move to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), sees no reason to keep the money when he can instead help those in need. And that is why the star has donated his total World Cup winnings to Primiers de Cordee (PDC), an organization that offers free sports programs for disabled and hospitalized children.
“Kylian, he’s a great person,” said Sebastien Ruffin, general manager of PDC. “When his schedule allows it, he intervenes for us with pleasure. He has a very good relationship with children, he always finds the right words to encourage them. I sometimes even feel that he takes more pleasure to play with the kids than the kids themselves.”
The PDC is based at the Stade de France, the stadium where Mbappé plays his games for PSG, which is just ten kilometers away from Bondy.
Bondy is a place that sticks in Mbappé’s mind, which is why prior to the World Cup, there was another good deed done by the soccer star when he visited a school in Bondy and informed a class of 25 students that he was personally sending them to watch France’s Group C game against Denmark, along with the Portugal vs Morocco game.
Mbappé’s visit gave students in Bondy, a town that is one of France’s banilieus, which the New York Times describes as “places with large, working-class, nonwhite communities, synonymous with riots and social strife, thought of as breeding grounds fro crime and terrorism,” some much needed hope that they can ignore the negative stereotypes of their area and prove the naysayers wrong.
“It was a lot of emotion,” Louise Monciero, 14-year-old student, told CNN in reference to Mbappé’s visit. “Because we were there and Kylian came towards us and to see this guy from Bondy, like us, it was a dream. It meant everything is possible.”
Nabil Labri, a municipal councilor at Bondy’s town hall and Mbappé’s childhood neighbor, hopes France’s World Cup victory—which was achieved by a team of players from varying backgrounds—will encourage the French people to celebrate the country’s diversity.
“I hope that the victory of France makes everybody in France remember that diversity is a strength and not the contrary,” Labri told CNN. “Because of Kylian Mbappé, the spotlight is on the suburbs like Bondy.”
“Kylian Mbappé is our son, is Bondy’s son,” the councilor continued. “We are waiting for him, we’re in a hurry to see him bring the cup to Bondy and I think we will throw a big party for him in Bondy when he comes back.”