Simon Madrigal, 30 – Philippines

“I enjoyed real freedom as a child. Now I want to help children today feel as free as I did."

By freedom I don’t mean doing exactly what you want to do with no respect for anyone else. I mean having the space to get outside play football, climb trees, roller skate, skip and just run free. With my Chinese Dad and Filipino Mum I moved to London from the Philippines as a baby – and have so many good memories of a happy childhood playing outside from breakfast ‘til teatime.

I think it’s really sad how children today miss out on fresh air. They’re almost captive to technology – staying inside glued to their phones, TV or gaming. That’s why I wanted to get involved with helping kids to break free. I work with three children’s charities in London. My favourite is working as a Football Club Youth Coach. It’s the best job in the world.

I also want to help children in the country of my birth, which is why I’ve joined with friends in the Philippines to set up a charity for homeless and orphaned children. The country is still feeling the effects of Typhoon Haiyan, which robbed 1.7 million children of their homes. So we’ve opened a home for around 50 children. From babies to teenagers they are loved and cared for until they can be reunited with their parents or adopted. I raise and send money to my friend Isabelle who runs the home, whenever I can. It’s the least I can do, after having such a wonderful childhood myself.”

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