In 2004, Patrick Daka embarked on a project to fund Zimbabwean orphans’ education. He did so out-of-pocket, using earnings from his professional soccer salary. He devoted time and his earnings to fund selected orphans’ tuition, food, school needs, and clothing. He started with four orphans closer to his family and was later joined by friends growing the number of supported orphans to 10. He and his friends sought to support Zimbabwean schools and youth soccer clubs in low-income areas by donating soccer equipment and education materials for libraries.
As this project grew, Daka began offering benefit soccer camps both in North Carolina and in Zimbabwe to promote awareness. In 2014, a number of interested families proposed setting up the Friendship Foundation For Zimbabwe to expand awareness and support. The foundation would be aimed at providing local American children a platform to support others less fortunate globally using the love for the beautiful game (futbol) as the unifying factor.
FFZ then began targeting rural areas and specific needs in Zimbabwe. Access to clean water was identified as the biggest need at the time. The water filters project was initiated to meet and alleviate that need. In addition to water filters, the foundation sought to sink boreholes. In 2015, FFZ funded the repair of a collapsed village dam wall. Today, clean water access is still a major problem both in rural and high-density areas of Zimbabwe where infrastructure is either too old or non-existent.
In 2015, the FEED program, led by Blessed Daka, was implemented targeting rural school children. As of today, the program feeds all 550 primary school students (Grades 1 to 7) at Mpinda and St. Mark’s primary schools in Lower Gweru, Zimbabwe. Funds raised from soccer camps and connections through soccer families are funneled towards this program. FFZ also donates soccer and sports equipment to the two schools. In addition, students at the school participate in free soccer camps offered at the school’s premises while coaches learn new and norbert best practices in coaching. Patrick Daka also helps train the school’s soccer team whenever he visits.
FFZ’s Board of Directors was elected in 2015 to run the foundation's affairs. All staff and board members are volunteers with a passion for futbol, children, and the less fortunate.