When Jessica Alba and the world’s best soccer players get together, people pay attention.
The stunning actress serves as an ambassador for 1GOAL, a unique coalition of soccer stars, celebrities like Bono and Queen Rania, and world leaders like Ban Ki Moon and Hillary Clinton. South Africa will soon host Africa’s first World Cup, but as 1GOAL points out, 72 million children in Africa and elsewhere don’t have a chance to attend school.
Q. Were you a good student growing up?
A. You’d have to ask my teachers! I talked too much. But I did love learning. Science was my favorite subject as a kid.
I still love learning. I feel like I’m a student for life.
Q. Most celebrities are famous for their good looks, not for winning Nobel Prizes. Why is education important?
A. I think most people in developed countries take education for granted. We have free schools, good teachers, public libraries and other tools we need to learn.
In developing countries, education can literally mean the difference between life and death.
Educated children are less likely to contract HIV, earn more as an adult and can be the first in generations of their families to live above the poverty line.
Q. 1GOAL runs in conjunction with the World Cup. What’s the connection?
A. The 2010 World Cup will be the first hosted in Africa.
Seventy-two million children around the world don’t have access to an education, 60 per cent are in Africa, and most are girls.
Players and fans can help give a voice to the millions of girls and boys out of classrooms globally.
Q. What are soccer players doing to help?
A. Players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand and David James are helping us get the word out about the importance of getting every child around the world into school.
Even though they are seriously focused on the upcoming games, they’ve given much of their time over the last year meeting with world leaders and signing up fans to the campaign.
Q. You recently returned from Ghana. What do you answer young children who tell you they want to become Hollywood stars?
A. I say go to school first and then pursue your dreams! Anything is possible with an education.
Q. Actresses like Ashley Judd have gone back to school to receive Bachelor’s, even Master’s degrees. Would you consider doing the same thing?
A. I’ve lived and worked all over the world since I was a teenager.
I’ve been educated through life experiences. I’ve always craved the luxury of being able to pursue higher education through a university; hopefully one day I’ll do it! Until then, I’ll be a student of life.