Roger Federer may have brought his ATP Tour career to a close, but the Swiss great’s hard work off the court continues.
In his role as President of the Roger Federer Foundation, the 103-time tour-level titlist this week visited Lesotho to see the impact of projects designed to help vulnerable children in the southern African nation access early formal schooling.
Federer met with key stakeholders in early childhood care and education, including His Majesty King Letsie III and Her Majesty Queen ’Masenate Mohato Seeiso, Minister of Education Ntoi Rapapa and representatives from the corporate and non-profit sectors.
Roger Federer poses with His Majesty King Letsie III and Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso at the Royal Palace in Matsieng, Lesotho, on 15 May 2023. Photo: Roger Federer Foundation.
He also visited primary schools that have already participated in the foundation’s School Readiness Initiative, where he interacted with children and parents who are benefitting directly from the programme.
“This is my first time visiting Lesotho,” said Federer, addressing an audience that included Lesotho Prime Minister Sam Matekane. “It is a great honour and a moment of extreme excitement for me and my family to be here. I was eager to visit Lesotho as a country and also to see the School Readiness Initiative my foundation has been implementing since 2020 in partnership with you.
“The good reports about the positive results from our joint interventions and the excellent collaboration my team has experienced working with your government and other partners, has encouraged this urge to visit Lesotho.”
Roger Federer reads to some of the preschool children from a Semonkong school that benefitted from his Foundation’s School Readiness Initiative, 16 May 2023. Photo: Roger Federer Foundation.
The Roger Federer Foundation started its work in Lesotho in 2020 and aims to reach vulnerable children in 800 preschools by 2025 though the investment of 3 million USD. As part of its work, the School Readiness Initiative takes advantage of innovative technology to provide teachers with a tablet containing digital resources and Android applications.
“All children in Lesotho deserve access to equitable quality early education in public primary schools, yet the majority of ECCE is still being provided by the private sector,” said Federer. “This results in children from economically marginalised families being left out of schooling… The task at hand is therefore enormous and urgent if we are to avoid more generations of children missing out on quality foundational early learning.”
As well as Lesotho, the Roger Federer Foundation works to improve structured learning opportunities for pre-school age children in five other countries in southern Africa: Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It also supports a range of educational programmes in Switzerland. The organisation’s work has already impacted 2.5 million children in southern Africa and Switzerland.