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12.1.07

The Good Good thing from Dirk Kuyt

The kuyt interview to Liverpoolfc.tv about he help the YOUNG AIDS ORPHANS.

KUYT: WHY I'M 'FATHER' TO YOUNG AIDS ORPHANS

Dirk Kuyt has never been to Nepal. But in a newly built house in a small village in the country which lies at the foot of the Himalayas there are eight young AIDS sufferers who call the Liverpool star "father".

Although they have never met him, the eight orphans have been given a new chance in life thanks to the generosity of Kuyt and his wife, Gertrude.

In an age when so many top footballers live up to the stereotype of flash over-indulgence bordering on the obscene, the 26-year-old is bucking the trend, displaying an attitude which could easily be described as philanthropic.

Twelve months ago, Kuyt set up the Dirk Kuyt Foundation, a charitable organisation which aims to improve the lives of some of the third world's poorest people in places like Nepal and Ghana, as well as in Holland's inner cities.

Since then, with the support of Gertrude, Kuyt's friend Gert Aandewiel and agent Rob Jansen, the foundation has gone from strength to strength and has been singled out for praise by UNICEF and politicians in his native Holland.

The player himself, though, is modest about his achievements. "It is good to try to help," he says.

"Footballers are fortunate because we are paid good money for doing something that we enjoy. I just think that when it is possible I should try to give something back because I am aware that not everyone is as fortunate as I am.

"Whenever the collectors came to my door looking for donations for charity I always gave money but I just felt that I could do something more, that maybe a footballer could help something happen in one year that might otherwise have taken five.

"A photographer I know told me about the children in Nepal and I wanted to help them straight away. From that point we went on to set up the foundation and it is going well.

"Basically, we funded the building of a house for the children in Nepal to live in and I become the "father" of the house and Gertrude is the "mother".

Unlike most charitable organisations, the funding for the foundation is not provided by collections from the public or various fundraising initiatives. The bulk of it comes from Kuyt's commercial activities.

He says: "I have a contract with Adidas and whenever I do commercials with them I give the money to the foundation.

"I also have a Dirk Kuyt clothing line on the Internet where people can buy t-shirts, caps and socks and all the money from this is also given to the foundation."

In Holland, the Dirk Kuyt Foundation has helped young people from places like Katwijk, the village where Kuyt himself grew up, get opportunities in education they may not have otherwise had.

"Education is very important," says Kuyt. "If I wasn't a good football player, I would have given everything to studying. Katwijk is a fishing village but there is a lot of unemployment there so the foundation tries to help children who want to go to university or college by giving them scholarships.

"I don't see what I'm doing as special. It is just about giving something back."

Since moving to Liverpool last August, Kuyt has fallen in love with his adopted home. So much so that he has already held talks with Liverpool chiefs about extending the work of the foundation to the Merseyside area.

"I have spoken to the club," he says, "and hopefully we can do something. I love Liverpool already. Everyone has been so helpful and friendly to us - I don't think there are many places like this.

"I am hoping to be here for many years. Gertrude and myself already have one daughter, Noelle, she is two and she is going to nursery in Liverpool.

"Gertrude is also 23 weeks pregnant so we are looking forward to having a proper baby Scouser. It will be good to have someone who can tell me what Carra is saying to me!"

At the moment, the Kuyt household in South Liverpool is playing host to Dirk's father, Gerrit, who came over to see his son shortly before Christmas.

It is a visit which until relatively recently seemed it would be unlikely to happen as Gerrit Kuyt has been battling stomach cancer.

But in recent weeks his condition has improved markedly following a major operation to remove part of his stomach and his oesophagus.

"It has been difficult but things are looking much better now," says Kuyt, who credits his father with being the driving force behind his career.

"He is doing well and at the moment he is clear of cancer. He goes back to hospital at the end of the month and hopefully there will be more good news.

"He came over before Christmas and he has been to Liverpool's last five home games. It was great to have him over for Christmas because it was our first one in a new country and it was made even more special because we spent it with him."

With his father's health improving, his wife expecting their second child and the goals continuing to flow for Liverpool, life could hardly be better for Dirk Kuyt.

Now all he wants is for others to share in his own good fortune.

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