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October 30, 2020 4 min read

Hello Jan! We are happy to have you here for this interview. As one easily recognizes from your Instagram account (@jan.cm), sport and a healthy, balanced lifestyle are an integral part of your life, which you also share with your followers. What do you love about it, and what motivates you?

For me, it doesn't feel like staying on the ball anymore because this lifestyle, as described here, is just me. I have integrated these habits so firmly into my life that they have created their own dynamic.

Is there a particular sport that has shaped your childhood? If so, how you get in touch with it?

You could say that, yes. I started playing soccer when I was six years old until the age of 26. Therefore, soccer was one of the biggest and most important factors in my life. How it all started? That is what you have to ask my parents... :)

Why do you think it is important that children have the opportunity to do sports?

I think sport connects, dissolves boundaries and classes, has a positive impact on body and mind - from my point of view, it is a decisive factor for the development of children. No matter what kind of sport, kids are offered the opportunity to make their own decisions, to pursue their interests and passions, to make friends, to challenge and improve themselves - to develop one's personal drive.

You have decided to do a project with children in South Africa. Does it have a special meaning for you?

For me it is not important that there is no need of a personal background to support a social project, I think you can always do that! But in this case, there is a story behind it... On the first hand, I know the faces behind the project and therefore have a direct relation to Young Bafana. On the other hand, I love soccer and it was so easy for me to get into it. Another very important factor is the location where the project takes place. I think we all know about South African history and the burden this country carries. To experience that the project manages to give children, growing up in difficult circumstances, a future in sports is just great! On the soccer field, everyone faces equal opportunities, and everyone finds a place. I think one can draw a lot from this..

We as well-protected Western Europeans can barely imagine growing up in a South African township (poverty stricken area). Violence and drugs are part of daily life, and a prospect of improvement is often not in sight. To what extent can sport change the lives of these children, and what can they learn?

As already mentioned, sport offers children the possibility to break out of these bad circumstances and situations. They learn to find a new focus, to do something regularly, to take responsibility for themselves and their team! If they manage to understand that sport is a chance to get out of these structures, it can be a prospect of improvement in their lives.

When we talk about perspectives for children and young people, access to education is a big factor. From your point of view, what aspects are crucial for providing young people a good education and what would you change in the current school system?

You could probably give a whole lecture about this topic, but well, I try to answer shortly... For me, education does not only take place at school, but everywhere! We can learn something, no matter where we are, with whom we talk, what we observe - for that, life is often already enough. Meanwhile, I think critically about the current school system as it is outdated in some aspects (in this case, refer to the German school system). I am missing the reference to current topics and developments, but also upcoming challenges. Children have to learn to develop their value structure at an early age, which of course, happens mostly at home, but also at school. It will be difficult for schools to keep up-to-date if the educational  system is not adapted to current "trends" such as a healthier, more balanced lifestyle including regular exercising and sports. I am talking about a holistic approach that prepares children not only intellectually but also physically, mentally, and emotionally better for the future. What is very important in general: EVERY CHILD, EVERY HUMAN BEING SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO FREE, COMPLIMENTARY EDUCATION!

Acquiring any type of education is a process and requires effort and a certain amount of discipline. You integrated these values into the prints of your collection: "Hard work beats talent if talent doesn't work hard." Why is that important to you, and how would you define these terms for yourself?

Talent is fine, but in the end talent alone will not be enough to be successful. Who wants to improve and develop his talent has to work hard for it. But there are also those people that are less talented and have to work even harder to be able to keep up. I think we have this phenomenon in sport, as well as in all other areas of life. Everyone has to do something to ensure that we don't stand still - it doesn't matter where you come from and whether you were born with more or less talent!

Thank you for taking the time to answer all of our questions interestingly way. We are so happy to work with you on this great project!


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