Soccer Football - Women's World Cup - Group F - Chile v Sweden - Roazhon Park, Rennes, France - June 11, 2019 Sweden's Hedvig Lindahl celebrates after the match REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/Files
October 5, 2021
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl is hoping to do more than save shots with her new charity drive – the 38-year-old is hoping that prize draws featuring her kit and personal video messages can help save lives in Afghanistan.
The shot-stopper, who plays her club football for Atletico Madrid in Spain, decided to launch the campaign following the recent Taliban takeover and the subsequent strife that has made life difficult for many Afghans.
“We can’t look away from what is happening now that all the foreigners have left Afghanistan. It’s very much an ongoing situation and it’s important not to forget the people there. These are questions of life and death,” Lindahl told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“I follow a lot of journalists, primarily on Twitter, and I am touched by the stories – I can put myself in the position of being a family with small children and how it might be not to be able to feed your kids.”
The outspoken Swede, who has two children together with her wife Sabine, sees it as an obligation to use her public profile to try to make a difference, despite the fact that she might come in for criticism.
“Those of us who have privilege need to use their platform – I could just as easily be talking about Yemen or Syria or anything else, but right now I chose Afghanistan because it’s so recent, and the Taliban takeover has changed life for so many, especially girls,” the former Chelsea player explained.
“Maybe I’m not building up my brand in the right way, but at some point you have to be a human being too and react to things, so I do it. I’m just me, the same person that grew up in a small town in Sweden and that just happens to play football.”
Donations of 500 Swedish crowns ($57.27) or more on her website are rewarded with a personal video message from the 178-cap keeper and two-time Olympic silver medallist.
There are also gloves and signed Sweden and Atletico Madrid shirts up for grabs in prize draws that cost from 1000 Swedish crowns and upwards to enter.
The money raised by Lindahl will go to Afghan Aid, a UK-based non-profit organisation that provides emergency assistance to those affected by the conflict in Afghanistan.
“It’s a little drop in the ocean really that I maybe can help with, so that we don’t turn our eyes away from what is happening,” she said.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Christian Radnedge)