Barack Obama praises Marcus Rashford for child food poverty campaign

Rashford, 23, last year spearheaded a prominent campaign to tackle child food poverty in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.

Marcus Rashford spoke with former U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss the power young people can have to make change in society.   -  Getty Images

Former U.S. President Barack Obama has praised the anti-poverty campaigning of England footballer Marcus Rashford.

Last year, Rashford led a campaign to end child food poverty and successfully lobbied the British government to continue providing free school meals during the holidays.

The 23-year-old was awarded an MBE for services to vulnerable children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"A lot of the young people I meet -- including Marcus -- they're ahead of where I was when I was 23," Obama said in a Zoom call organised by publishers Penguin.

"They're already making changes and being positive forces in their communities.

"Even if you do something positive on a small scale, that's making a difference, and it's the accumulation of people doing positive things over time that makes us a little bit better with each successive generation."

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Surreal experience

The Manchester United forward said it was "surreal" talking to the former U.S. President.

"I mean, it's quite surreal, isn't it? I'm sitting in my kitchen in Manchester, speaking to President Obama. But immediately, he made me feel at ease," Rashford said.

"It wasn't long before I realised just how aligned our experiences as children were in shaping the men you see today - adversity, obstacles and all."

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