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WAGs, Kids and World Cup Dreams - Chantelle's story: Part 2

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Dana Stevens | 16:00 UK time, Monday, 17 May 2010

Although I have to admit I was initially cynical about the WAGs fronting a programme about underprivileged children in South Africa, I was genuinely moved to tears by the first episode of WAGs, Kids and World Cup Dreams. The stories of the young people featured in the show were truly moving and it reminded me just how lucky most of us are in this country, even those of us not in the super-rich league of the WAGs.

The trip has had a lasting effect on the WAGs and Chantelle Tagoe, fiancee of Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey, shares more of her thoughts on her incredible South African journey:

WAGS, Kids and World Cup Dreams (Chantelle Tagoe) After staying in Cape Town, our next stop was Johannesburg and I was right in the front line. The easy ride I had in Baphumelele was well and truly over. ON MY OWN (still upset about that) I was asked to work and sleep in the Central Methodist Church. By day it was fine, but at night it is home to over 3000 refugees, mostly from Zimbabwe. They sleep anywhere - stairs, balconies, even banisters. There is not an inch of space. I was working with an amazing woman called Cleo who took me to her tiny room in the basement. It took ages to get down there and it was disturbing to see all sorts of people who were obviously desperate. I saw a little girl who was holding a cuddly toy and that just made me crack up. I cried and cried. I just thought it was so wrong that people live like this.

The church made me think about what people could do at home to help, and what a week's wages of a footballer could do to help. So I made up my mind there and then to try and raise money back in the UK. I've just finished my first fundraiser and we made just over £30, 000. There will definitely be more; I want to make it a yearly event!

Chantelle Tagoe in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.
(Photo: Chantelle Tagoe in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.)
In the church, I looked after a three year old boy called Moses whose Mum just disappeared one day. He now lives in the day care centre and is cared for by the workers who also sleep there. He was such a lovely little boy, but so lonely and lost. I got really attached to him; he reminded me of my gorgeous boys back home and it was awful saying goodbye. :o( But I have decided to sponsor him so he can be supported, fed and clothed until he is old enough to look after himself. I wish I could have brought him home.

After the church, I went to work as a house mother in a shelter called Twilight which looks after boys who used to sleep rough on the streets. The kids were aged from 8-18 and were great fun. They were really full of life and are building a future for themselves. They refuse to dwell on the bad things that have happened to them which we all really admired. I took one little boy to see his mother who abandoned him, he was dead excited but she didn't want to know. It was really sad to watch. I could never give up my children no matter what I was going through! It just showed to me how important shelters like Twilight are.

The last leg of the trip was to help a friend of Nelson Mandela called Patrick Chamusso. He runs an amazing place called Two Sisters in rural South Africa. It helps to feed over 200 orphans who have lost their parents to AIDS. Patrick also recruits foster Mums to look after the kids so they can stay in their own homes and remain a family. Ellie looked after a family whose shack was teeming with rats and she was covered in flea bites, but because she's really determined and serious about the work, she stuck it out - and even built a new roof for them.

WAGs, Kids and World Cup Dreams (Ellie Darby in Hillbrow, Johannesburg)
(Photo: Ellie Darby in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.)
Two Sisters really showed me how terrible the AIDS epidemic is in South Africa. We really have no idea what it's like over there. Thousands are dying each week and there is not enough care or medicine to look after them. Meanwhile there are big rich farmers making millions just miles away. It makes me mad - but that is South Africa all over, black and white, rich or poor. No in between!

The two weeks I spent working in South Africa has changed me. I am a better mother, more charitable and much more careful what I spend my money on. I also think I have grown up a lot and got a new identity and am not so much in Emile's shadow. I love him to bits, but there is more to me than being a WAG. But I am happy to use the connections that his job gives us to raise awareness and money for the people we helped. I hope that when people watch the show they will see that there is more to WAGs than what you read about in the press. We do have a heart and we are not afraid to get our hands dirty and get stuck in too.

So tune in....

Chantelle Tagoe is engaged to Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey.

You can read the first part of her story on the BBC Three blog here.

WAGS, Kids and World Cup Dreams continues Sundays at 9pm.

Chantelle features in next week's episode of The WAGs' Stories on Monday at 8.30pm.


  • Comment number 1.

    The show shocks me to the core. I think Chantelle, Ellie, Elen are just amazing, the other two I am not too sure about.

    How ridiculous is South Africa, with all the natural resources the country produces, Diamonds, Gold, Minerals and other metals and the VAST space of the land, what we are witnessing is nothing but sheer corruption and crime on a once peaceful land, before invasion and sabotage on the indigenous people of the land by those who were forced to give up their robbery.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think this is the most amazing programme..Fair play to the Producers, Directors ,Researchers and to the Girls for being willing to show that it's not just about's about caring for others..Ellen going through same thing but not in the public eye. Well done Ladies

  • Comment number 3.

    I grew up in South African region and was really shocked at how much it has changed, for the worst for the indegenious people who fought so hard for their freedom!I want to thank the girls for taking time out of their lives and BBC for putting together this show so we can be aware of what is going on. This has really changed my outlook in life and I want to be involved in charity and volunteer work especially to support the South African region. BBC please do more shows we really appreciate it!

  • Comment number 4.

    Is it possible to get hold of, or anybody that knows how to get into contact with the guy on the street that does poetry?

  • Comment number 5.

    I've already met a few others who are wondering whether the BBC team or anyone else involved in filming did anything at all to help the Hillbrow poet or whether, filming over, he was left praying on the street. Imogen Thomas wasn't shown offering anything other than inane platitudes. The very least the BBC3 could have done was to pay him for reciting his poetry for our pleasure. Making money from his misfortune while leaving him destitute smacks of exploitation and I'd like information about how the BBC has discharged its responsibilities and how the poet can be helped by those who may be able to.

  • Comment number 6.

    Chantelle, I was most impressed with yourself and Ellie on the show. You both have really big hearts and showed a real selfless side to your personalities. Although Elen really threw herself into a lot of the work there still seemed to be a slight disconnection with her and the other girls that made me think it won't have changed them that much. They seemed to always have that demeanour that it can all be left behind once they are home. Whereas you and Ellie seemed to be deeply affected and felt compelled to help in any way you could. I'm glad it has enriched your life and given you a new outlook on the world and what it means to give!

  • Comment number 7.

    Chantelle, Your Great! I am still at school and I am only 16 and I just want to say that in April this year I went to The Gambia in Africa and I saw everything like what you have been through. I would just like to say well done for EVERYTHING you have done!

    The conditions are terrible and you cannot quite understand the feeling of it all until you see it for real. we are currently funding many children to go through school and it feels amazing to have helped someone who doesn't have what we have! Well done to all those who went over! It all makes a difference!

  • Comment number 8.

    it is good that some money has been raised to send back to the organisations in africa. however it has occured to me from a comment chantelle herself made on the programme, about what a week's wages of a football player could do could be the start of an idea around pledging a week's wages. in many traditional and religious circles 10% has generally be the norm of what a person should give away to others of their earnings etc. my idea would proportionally put them at giving away here less than a 50th or 2% of their earnings. from the wealth that exists this could clearly make a sizeable difference.

    i do also question slighty the focus on fashion to earn money for a cause so utterly at odds with such frippery and sometimes questionable ethics. i feel that stuff like that is part of the problem, also in how they spend on themselves rather than seeing what really matters in the world.

    i did think that ellie especially but also chantelle and elen came across well on the programme and it must have been personally tough for elen without a partner's support any longer. hope some more funds can be raised.

  • Comment number 9.

    A lovely heartwarming series, it certainly made me look at the wags a lot differently, we should give Amy and Imogen a chance, we are not all made of the same stuff. Imogen helping the homeless in Britain, Good Luck
    As for using flipperies such as fashion to raise money, so what do you remember the two transvestites in the dump who wanted to be beautiful and dress well, just because people live on a dump dosen't meant that they don't appreciate fashion and beauty

  • Comment number 10.

    I absolutely loved this programme and agree that ellie was fantastic and what chantelle has done is fabulous, cant help thinking when they have so much money maybe they could donate as well as raise money although she may have done so.

    it really opened my eyes to the peril of south africa and showed that if you have the time and the kindness in your heart then you should help others and has inspired me! ellie and chantelle just went that extra mile to show compassion and it really seemed to effect them and poor elen worked well but didnt seem to have the same level of compassion, possibly because of her situation and not being in the best frame of mind, but thankyou bbc i loved this programme!

  • Comment number 11.

    How ridiculous is South Africa, with all the natural resources the country produces, Diamonds, Gold, Minerals and other metals and the VAST space of the land, what we are witnessing is nothing but sheer corruption and crime on a once peaceful land, before invasion and sabotage on the indigenous people of the land by those who were forced to give up their robbery..


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