MEETING one of soccer’s biggest stars was without doubt among the highlights of Sophie Healy-Thow’s recent visit to the UN Summit on Sustainable Development Goals in New York.
The former BT Young Scientist and Google Science Fair winner met Brazilian footballer, Kaka, who is a World Food Programme (WFP) ambassador.
‘It was amazing to meet Kaka and it was even better to find out that he is very big into combating hunger,’ Sophie told The Southern Star.
‘Unfortunately I didn’t get to ask him many questions as he was very busy, but I did get to hear him speak at the General Assembly about his home and his story. After meeting him, now I’m a huge fan.’
Kaka is a former FIFA 2007 Player of the Year and has won numerous titles with high profile football clubs like AC Milan and Real Madrid. As an ambassador for WFP, Kaka helps promote the organisation’s work to his more than 27 millions followers on social media and digital channels and he was involved in the WeFeedback Campaign in 2011, which helped provide more than 40,000 children with nutritious school meals.
Sophie was invited to the UN Summit where she was the only youth leader from Europe and one of the youngest delegates attending the high-level side summit, Mobilising Generation Zero Hunger Conference at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which was also attended by President Michael Higgins.
‘To be invited to be part of the Mobilising Generation Zero Hunger at UNGA was an honour and a privilege,’ she said. ‘It was inspiring to be among so many people truly passionate about world hunger and has convinced me further of our need to do more. We each need to play our part if we are to make zero hunger a reality. We are all a community and when we put our solutions together we can really change the world.’
Sophie is passionate about finding solutions to world hunger and is committed to awareness of the issues surrounding food poverty, food security and nutrition, especially among young people.
In July of this year, she was invited to give a TEDx talk in Dublin’s Science Gallery where she used the opportunity to highlight the issue of food poverty with her talk entitled ‘Food Security – Everybody’s Business.’
Sophie’s efforts to raise awareness have struck chords with both her audiences and the wider community, with institutions such as the EU and the UN picking up on her impassioned pleas to put food security at the top of the social and political agenda.