Founder of GiG
Growing up, Dany Jean-Yves had always dreamt of becoming a professional football player. In 2006, at the age of 14, his dreams seemed have taken a promising route. He managed to earn himself the opportunity to go to Europe the following year for a football trial at Manchester United football club. In the most literal form, his dreams were coming true. Unfortunately, after a year of training and anticipation, the events took a turn and the opportunity did not lead to anything.
Devastating as this experience was for him, he returned home to his parents and began to map out some new goals for himself. Shortly before turning 16, Dany moved out from home and in with his elder brothers. This new found freedom, however, lead him to a lively lifestyle filled with alcohol, partying and drugs. After some time, he landed himself a more secure job as a barman for a restaurant called Australasia. His six years of working there proved to be a valuable experience which he was able to take a lot away from. But more importantly, it drove him back to his passion- football. He started playing full time at Stalybridge Celtic, training Monday to Friday all day, then working night shifts at the bar to meet day to day expenses. Both commitments meant that he was meeting more inspiring figures with different ambitions, all of whom acted like a catalyst to Dany’s newly forming identity.
After realizing how far he strayed from his childhood dreams during his time of alcohol and drug abuse, Dany contacted Rwanda National Team for under 19’s to request a trial. Whilst in Rwanda, he reconnected with family and friends. He also became more aware of the kids in surrounding areas that had been playing football without any shoes let alone football boots, as well as other football equipment. In these moments, he recalled how he would throw away football boots that were no longer in fashion and replace them with new ones every couple of months. Coming face to face a reminder of his roots and where / what he has come from, he was compelled to make a change for the kid that he once used to be but also for the kids that played right in front of him.
This experience undoubtedly changed Dany’s life as the need to make a difference stuck with him even after returning to the UK. He started to collect football boots and clothing and sending them back to Rwanda, but this just doesn’t seem like enough. This is when he decided to start a clothing line to support the children abroad. Starting with just 5 hats, the business expanded after gaining support from the public. Those 5 hats turned into 250 and has now become a range of items. His main aim is to encourage and support these kids to continue to hold on to their vision and potential no matter what. Hopefully, through this charity, we can provide the support and facilities needed for these children and their future.