David Beckham announces new UNICEF charity initiative to protect children
"Everything I have done, my football career, my family, has led to this point,"
"Everything I have done, my football career, my family, has led to this point," David Beckham said in a heartfelt speech about his new collaboration with UNICEF, "This is the moment for me to do what I can to help children in every corner of the world. This is something I want my own children to be proud of."
The football icon and constant UNICEF goodwill ambassador has named the new project – campaign 7 – after the number on his famous Manchester United and Real Madrid shirts. The former England football captain hopes to touch, and change, the lives of disadvantage children's lives around the world with his new philanthropic project.
The 39-year-old father of four aims to raise millions to protect children around the world – and put his global celebrity and personal influence to good use.
'7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund' is a ten-year plan, which will go towards seven countries where UNICEF has identified an urgent need for funds to protect the lives and welfare of vulnerable children.
“I’ve always felt I could do more, but retiring [in May 2013] has freed up a little bit more time for me,” Beckham said at the announcement today. “This is a way of being a part of Unicef for the longer term and helping children around the world. I’ve seen over the past ten years that there’s certain situations I can go into, certain countries I’ve visited where I’ve actually been able to speak to the prime minister or the king because they’re football fans or support Manchester United or Real Madrid," adding:
“My career has led me to exactly this point. The hard work that I’ve done on the [football] field has led me into a situation where I can help Unicef, and help children around the world, because it opens doors.”
The new Beckham-led campaign will focus on a child protection scheme in El Salvador (which has the world's highest rate of homicide in children), a Papua New Guinea nutrition programme (where 50 percent of under fives are malnourished), an Aids and HIV campaign in Swaziland, maternal health and infant mortality in Djibouti and educational projects in Bangladesh amongst others.
“The idea was to select seven countries that really need the funds and are also fighting against some of the biggest dangers that children face today,” UNICEF's communications director Paloma Escudero, commented. “David has chosen to speak about areas that sometimes men, sometimes governments, are not very attentive to.”
A UNICEF official has also confirmed that Beckham has made a personal, financial commitment to the fund.