IM TMI TANI, WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU? (tanuhmah) wrote in ontd_football,

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The ABC club ... (l-r) Aimee van Ommen, Bouchra Van Persie and Carla Dona Garcia

IT'S as simple as A B C - they're football's angels of CHARITY.</h2> Aimee van Ommen, Bouchra van Persie and Carla Dona Garcia are no ordinary women.

As the wives and girlfriends of some of the world's most famous footballers, their bank accounts are boosted by thousands of pounds each week.

And their extreme wealth means they can afford anything money can buy.

But rather than amassing handbags and pairs shoes costing hundreds of pounds each, these Arsenal WAGs have a mission to set a new trend - for GIVING.

Bouchra, the 27-year-old wife of star striker Robin van Persie, is the founder of the ABC club.

It combines her first initial with those of her best friends Aimee - partner of top defender Thomas Vermaelen - and Carla, midfielder Cesc Fabregas's partner.

Mum-of-two Bouchra says: "The feeling you get from buying an expensive handbag lasts for a few seconds.

"The feeling you get from giving to those less fortunate lasts forever, and your children take on those values too.

Keeping their feet on the ground ... Carla, Aimee and Bouchra
Keeping their feet on the ground ... Carla, Aimee and Bouchra
"Up until now we have been very private people, preferring to stay out of the limelight, but we also know that we are very privileged.

"So we decided that we wanted to use our positions to help others and highlight some brilliant charity work that is being done around the world."

Last weekend the kind-hearted WAGs took on their first venture - a ball at London's posh Claridge's hotel to raise funds for charity SOS Children's Villages.

The event, attended by most of the Arsenal team, raised a staggering £180,000 in one night.

The cash will be used for a project to build homes, schools and medical facilities for orphans in Zambia.

Bouchra, originally from Rotterdam in Holland, was moved to help after she visited one of the charity's projects in Kenya earlier this year.

She says: "I spent eight days looking at the programme and was overwhelmed by the amazing work they do.

"I spoke to a lady with ten children who had no idea whether she would be able to feed them all from day to day.
Result ... the girls line up with their Arsenal star fellas: (l-r) Bouchra and Robin van Persie; Carla with Cesc Fabregas & Aimee with Thomas Vermaelen
Result ... the girls line up with their Arsenal star fellas: (l-r) Bouchra and Robin van Persie; Carla with Cesc Fabregas & Aimee with Thomas Vermaelen
"How many people in our society know what it feels like to be truly hungry? I saw the difference that money can really make.

"I came home and knew immediately that I would have to do more to help."

Bouchra, who studied accountancy and communications at university, says husband Robin, also 27, has been hugely supportive.

The pair lived around the corner from each other in Rotterdam when he was playing for Feyenoord. They started dating in 2002 and got married in 2004.

Bouchra says: "At first I wasn't interested in football but now I love to watch him play. And he has taught me the offside rule."

She says that the couple are careful to raise their children with the right values.

She has shown their son Shaqueel, four, and even daughter Dina, one, the video of her trip to Kenya.

She adds: "We are normal, basic people and we want our children to be too.

"If our four-year-old is fussy about what he's eating, I tell him off and remind him about the other children who I met who have nothing to eat."

Bouchra says that her husband's high profile on the football pitch does not have an impact on family life.
Great teamwork ... Aimee, Bouchra and Carla
Great teamwork ... Aimee, Bouchra and Carla
She adds: "We haven't had any problems with unwanted attention. If you want attention and you look for it, it's there.

"But if you are in the comfort of your own home and within your own circle of friends, you can be very normal and down to earth."

Aimee agrees. The beautiful 24-year-old has been dating Belgian-born Thomas Vermaelen, 25, one of the world's best central defenders, for four years.

But the pair still visit the local supermarket largely unnoticed. Incredibly, the cardiologist's daughter still returns to her old job - working in an Amsterdam SHOE SHOP - once a month to stay in touch with old friends and good values.

Even during The Sun photoshoot she was happy to pose in a simple French Connection dress rather than demanding expensive designer gowns. She says: "Thomas and I first met in Amsterdam when he was playing for Ajax.

"Of course I liked the way he looked but I could also see that he is a genuine person. It just clicked.

"When we moved to London a year and a half ago I was a little nervous because I had heard stories about footballers being in the spotlight.

"But we are able to lead a totally normal life - with Thomas only stopping sometimes to sign the occasional autograph.

"He likes fast cars but other than that we try to live our lives normally. My boyfriend is famous but I'm still the same person."

Aimee's grounded attitude meant she jumped at the chance to join ABC.

She says: "It's amazing to get involved in something like this. It's such a good feeling to give and it's so important to do it when you have so much."

Carla is nodding in agreement. The sultry Spanish brunette is as bright as she is beautiful and knows the impact football can have on those less fortunate.

The 24-year-old psychology graduate, now working in marketing, says: "I spoke to the other two girls and said, 'We should do something'.

"My initial idea was to auction off or sell our clothes for charity. Then Bouchra had the idea to make it bigger. I think we all feel happiest when we are involved in something like this."

Carla and Cesc Fabregas, 23, are childhood sweethearts who met in Barcelona when she was 17 and he was 16. Now he is regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation. But like his team-mates Van Persie and Vermaelen he is not interested in being in the limelight.

Carla says: "We don't have to worry about money, which is very fortunate, but otherwise we have a normal life.

"We go for walks together, to the supermarket, to restaurants and the theatre. We have shunned most publicity.

"Cesc deserves to be known for his sport but I haven't done anything in my life to deserve fame, so why should I try to seek it?

"This charity work is different because it's about helping children. It's an amazing feeling to be able to do that and if people like us don't give during the current financial climate, then who will?

"When you're in our position, it is only right that we try to give so much back."


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Tags: charity has never been so sexy, club: arsenal, i think i like girls now, wag
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