Wilfried Zaha may be well-known for his amazing football skills but the Crystal Palace forward has an equally if not more impressive reputation for generosity.
The 27-year-old Ivory Coast native has been hard at work donating to charities in the UK and Africa. An amazing 10% of Zaha’s monthly wages goes to charity without fail. And the star player has won international applause because of it.
Speaking to E&H Foundation, Zaha said, “I give a tenth of my salary to charity every month so in terms of giving back, I do my best. That’s not just charities here, it’s charities in the Ivory Coast too.
“My mom makes sure of it as soon as the end of the month comes; I do that as my good deed to help.”
Most of the funds go to Tomorrow’s Hope, an Ivory Coast orphanage run by his sister.
Zaha also put up his own charity, Zaha Foundation, to help introduce kids to football in the UK and Ivory Coast.
Before moving to Croydon in 1996, Zaha grew up with eight other siblings in Africa. Because of his childhood, he realized how important it was to give back.
He told the Daily Mirror, “My passion for football has given me a platform to do something I love and to help others that, like me, didn’t receive any help or handouts.
“I know what it’s like to come from nothing and not have any handouts, so I hope that what I’m doing is putting a smile on some people’s faces.
“Realizing my dreams to be a professional footballer inspires me every day to help others.
“I love football and always give everything on the pitch, but I am aware that one day I will have another life with my charity, family friends and those trusted people around me.”
As an ambassador for Crystal Palace, Zaha has gone above and beyond when it comes to caring in the community.
Among the several community projects that Zaha has been involved in, Premiere League Kicks is particularly close to his heart.
When he was just striking out at age 14, he would join their sessions at Canterbury Road, South London. Nowadays, Zaha still visits his old stomping grounds and hopefully meet the “next Zaha.”
“I used to take part in Kicks and it’s great to have somewhere to go where the kids can play,” he said. “Having access to so many resources without having to pay for it. It’s nice to be able to go back and help out when I can, help my community and see everything progress.”