Arms Around The Child

Tribute to Christian Atsu from Arms Around The Child

It is with immense pain and disbelief that we have to write these words. We had held onto the hope that Christian would survive and be found in the rubble of the tragic earthquake to hit Turkey and Syria. Like the many friends, families and people impacted by this disaster, we are still struggling to accept what has happened and feel tremendous sadness at the devastating loss of life. We empathise with all those grieving for their lost ones. Our deepest condolences are with Christian’s family, wife, children and many friends and lives that he touched.

Christian Atsu was a truly unique and wonderful man, and his legacy will live on through the many hundreds if not thousands of lives he has helped. He will live in our memories as one of the kindest, most talented, humble people to enter this world. A young boy from poverty in Ghana who followed his dreams had an incredibly successful footballing career and used his talent and platform to help others.

Arms Around The Child were fortunate to have known Christian and will treasure his support for the children we look after, especially the children in Senya Beraku where Christian was building a school in the local community. Christian believed in giving children a brighter future and the opportunity to succeed. He never forgot his own roots and didn’t want to see any more children abused, imprisoned, affected by HIV, trafficked or sold. He was determined to use his prominence as a footballer to prevent this. He had also been supporting The Crime Check Foundation in Ghana with their work paying fines for petty crimes which had resulted in incarceration, and helping people reintegrate into society and get back on their feet.

Christian has been the global ambassador for Arms Around The Child since 2016. During that time, he visited the children at our home in Senya Beraku, Ghana on many occasions. He regularly organised for gifts and football equipment to be sent to the home and developed a very close relationship with the kids. In 2018 Christian and Arms Around The Child launched a campaign to build a new school in Senya to benefit orphaned children and the local community. Together Arms Around The Child and Christian organized the Black Star Gala, a special fundraising event at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead, Newcastle, to kickstart the fundraising effort for a new school.

Whenever Christian visited Senya, the children and the community were always so happy to see him. They would welcome him like a hero, but also like a father, uncle or brother as everyone felt such a close affection for him. He greeted everyone with smiles and hugs, making each individual, child and adult, feel important and that they could dream and succeed in life. Christian loved the children and would always throw his shoes off to play barefoot football with them, something he loved to do whenever he visited. The children looked up to him, he showed them that they can have dreams for a better future and that through education, dreams can be achieved. This is why Christian was so passionate about building a school, he believed in education for all, especially as a way to solve problems and give kids a brighter future.

Christian was the main benefactor of the new school buildings in Senya. He always wanted to know how the children were doing and we would regularly update him on the progress of the school, which after years of building is finally nearing completion. On Saturday 4th Feb 2023, just one day before his final game in which he scored a last-minute winning goal, he responded ‘Thank you for the update. I will arrange some money so that we will be able to complete it fast, I am very happy with the progress.’ Later in the day, he emailed again to say that he would come to open the school in June and bring his Black Star friends. This was our last correspondence with Christian; as always, he was thinking about the children and what he could do to help others.

The director of our home in Senya Beraku, Seth Asiedu had this message on behalf of all the children for Christian and his family:

‘Our hearts are broken by the news regarding our beloved bro, Christian Atsu. We always felt the impact of his presence and were soaked with joy any time he visited us. He brought a lot of smiles and happiness to Becky’s Home family at Senya Beraku in Ghana through Arms Around The child.

We called him our father, our friend, brother, uncle, sponsor and hero. You have left a great footprint through your generous act that no one can erase. We love you Christian Atsu. We are proud of you, and we are eternally grateful for the good work you did for us. Rest well.’

Arms Around The Child will strive to honour Christian’s legacy by continuing to build and finish the school and support the children in Ghana towards brighter futures and opportunities in life. We want to share Christian’s story as a beacon of hope, love and compassion. An exemplary human being who acted in both word and deed. Someone who believed in building a better world and helping those less fortunate. The happiness he brought to so many will leave a painful void, but we will always remember his kind heart and his beaming, infectious and joyful smile. Thank you Christian, we love you.

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