POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A local businessman has started his own sportswear company in an effort to help children in Burkina Faso, West Africa, where he attended high school.
- Local man starts company to help kids in Africa
- David Balandi wants to build a school for kids
- Sportswear Company called 'For the Kids'
“These are kids who have true potential. I believe every kid on Earth has true potential. Once given the right tools and resources,” said David Balandi who majored in Business Administration at Florida Southern College.
Balandi’s father has been an operational officer at The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund for more than 20 years. Growing up, Balandi and his family moved every three or four years, living in Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Nepal. He spent his high school years in Burkina Faso.
“They’re currently having class with no building. They’re out side in the sun teaching kids in the hot heat in Burkina Faso, which can be ok to them because they’ve never been exposed to other environments but for me that’s where we want to help them out with," he said.
When he wasn’t able to fulfill his dream of playing college basketball, he shifted his focus to helping children in need, both locally and internationally.
While starting his business, Balandi received a lot of help from his classmates at Florida Southern College.
“Faculty and friends really helped me out. Enactus is one of the main organizations that really said your humanitarian cause can really be an enactus project," Balandi said.
“I remember being kind of skeptical saying you know, well, we’re helping him so he's making a profit, getting his business off the ground, but the more you hear about it, and the more you see how passionate David is about the children he’s assisting, you really start to...you feel yourself believing in the image more and believing in Balandi and understanding it's not just clothes, it's not just athletics, it’s building a better world for the children coming behind us," said Erin Burrows, President of the college's Enactus chapter.
In Lakeland, he has partnered with the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes to expand a program academic mentoring and athletic guidance.
In Burkina Faso, he wants to build a primary school and library, and develop a youth basketball team. One hundred percent of the profits from his 'For the Kids' line will go toward the project. He’s trying to raise $15,000 by December to start construction. So far, he has raised $2,000.