Mesut Ozil has received the Laureus Media Prize for his charitable work with Brazilian children.
The ceremony, which includes the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation of Germany/Austria, was held in Berlin. The spotlight of the prizes focused on contributions made in the field of sports journalism, as well as people and organisations who have demonstrated a special level of social commitment.
The 2014 Honorary Prize for Charity Work was awarded to Ozil for his special social commitment during the World Cup in Brazil. Thanks to the donations made by Ozil, it was possible to perform surgery on 23 Brazilian children primarily suffering from cleft lips and palates, in the city of Coroata ahead of the World Cup.
As a result of the donations and in partnership with the organisation “BigShoe”, Ozil enabled the operations to be carried out and the lives of 23 children to be significantly improved. The commitment demonstrated by Ozil and the media attention which was generated also made it possible to attract additional benefactors to help further projects.
On receiving the award, Ozil said: "Making the donation was a foregone conclusion as far as I was concerned. I wanted to make a lasting mark in the World Cup country of Brazil, and this is something which I think we managed to achieve with the operations on these children. I am proud to have received this Honorary Prize from Laureus. It's a very special feeling to be included on the list of previous winners. However, I don't just consider this to be merely a prize but also see it as an incentive for me to engage in further social commitment."
Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann also received an award during the evening, for his outstanding contribution to the ‘Kicking Girls’ initiative, a project established in 2009 in the socially disadvantaged districts of Germany.
The project helps girls aged between eight and 16, particularly those from ethnic minorities, with the aim to provide access into local clubs and ensure that, once there, they can be successfully integrated both into the club and society as a whole.
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