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Soccer star David Beckham visits UNICEF-backed shelter in the Philippines

Article / Review by on December 2, 2011 – 6:36 pmNo Comments

Soccer star David Beckham visits UNICEF-backed shelter in the Philippines

2 December 2011, Manila, Philippines - UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham meets five young people in a UNICEF supported centre for children who once lived and worked on the streets.

2 December 2011, Manila, Philippines – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham meets five young people in a UNICEF supported centre for children who once lived and worked on the streets.

2 December 2011 –

David Beckham tried his hand at sewing, took part in an art class and played a game of soccer with local students this week as the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) visited the Philippines to spotlight the plight of young people in need.

The soccer ace toured a UNICEF-supported centre in Manila, the national capital, that is home to about 130 former street children aged between seven and 17, the agency said in a press release issued today.

As many as 250,000 children are estimated to be living and working on the streets across the Philippines, and UNICEF noted they are particularly vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation.

“As a father, I can’t imagine how life was for these young children living and working on the streets,” Mr. Beckham said. “They are exposed to so many threats and dangers, and are missing out on the basics in life – having people around who love and guide them.”

The centre provides classes in different subjects, including sewing and art, as part of its livelihood programme for the children that also helps to build their self-esteem.

His visit concluded with a 20-minute football game with young players from the shelter.

“Whilst many of these children have been through tough experiences in their young lives, like any child they still have hopes and dreams,” he said. “The staff here has a huge responsibility and they are doing an amazing job giving these children the love, guidance and care they’ve been missing.”

Mr. Beckham, 36, has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 2005. One of the most famous footballers of his generation, the midfielder has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy, among other clubs, and has also played more than 100 times for the English football team.

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Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF David Beckham in Manila, Philippines

2 December 2011, Manila, Philippines – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham gets a lesson in sewing from a staff member in a UNICEF supported centre for children who once lived and worked on the streets.  Sewing classes are part of the livelihood programmes in the centre, teaching skills as well as providing clothes for the children. ©UNICEF/2011/Villafranca

2 December 2011

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham learns about the harsh realities of children on the streets of the Philippines

Manila, Philippines, December 2, 2011 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham in the Philippines this week, highlighted the situation of children living and working on the streets of cities all over the world.

Visiting a DSWD and UNICEF assisted centre, the football star met children aged from 7 – 17 years, who have all spent the early part of their lives living and working on the streets of towns and cities across the Philippines.

 ‘As a father, I can’t imagine how life was for these young children living and working on the streets. They are exposed to so many threats and dangers, and are missing out on the basics in life – having people around who love and guide them’,  Beckham said after meeting some of the children.

It is estimated that there are 250,000 children living and working on streets of towns and cities across the Philippines. These children are exposed to violence, abuse and exploitation. UNICEF works to help these vulnerable children leave the streets and get back into a caring, supportive environment either with their parents, other relatives or sometimes in temporary centres.  Mr. Beckham was welcomed to the centre and its children by the manager, Ms. Siony Flores who explained to him the profile and background of the 130 children temporarily staying there.

‘ Here we give the children guidance, care and opportunities to learn new skills. But the real focus is on helping children integrate back into their communities, with their families or relatives where a caring, home environment can take them forward in their lives’, Flores said.

Mr Beckham was toured around the centre by the children themselves, and participated in sewing sessions, art classes and was entertained by an impromptu rap and dance session. Throughout it all, the children helped him learn about the reality of their lives.

‘Whilst many of these children have been through tough experiences in their young lives, like any child they still have hopes and dreams. The staff here has a huge responsibility and they are doing an amazing job giving these children the love, guidance and care they’ve been missing,’ said Beckham visibly touched by the children he met.

The culmination of the visit was a 20 minute football game with the centre players, where Beckham showed off some of his famous football skills.

Conan, 17, who toured Beckham around, was just seven when he was brought to the centre. Whilst his parents are not in contact, he has since found his sister, and she now visits him every three months.  A skilled, keen footballer he said, ‘I can’t believe we had such a famous footballer come and play with us – we are such a small team, with little equipment. But I feel very special now, and more determined to improve my game.’

On leaving the centre David reflected: ‘ All these children have been failed by adults in the crucial early years of their lives. I would not be where I am today without the love and support of my family – every child deserves that, every child deserves a second chance’

2 December 2011, Manila, Philippines - UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham plays football with young people in a UNICEF supported centre for children who once lived and worked on the streets. Football is a lifeline for the children in the centre as it helps them build confidence, strength and self-esteem. ©UNICEF/2011/Villafranca

2 December 2011, Manila, Philippines – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham plays football with young people in a UNICEF supported centre for children who once lived and worked on the streets. Football is a lifeline for the children in the centre as it helps them build confidence, strength and self-esteem. ©UNICEF/2011/Villafranca

2 December 2011, Manila, Philippines - UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham tries on a graduation gown sewn by children in a UNICEF supported centre for children who once lived and worked on the streets. Sewing classes are part of the livelihood programmes in the centre, teaching skills as well as providing clothes for the children. ©UNICEF/2011/Villafranca

2 December 2011, Manila, Philippines – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham tries on a graduation gown sewn by children in a UNICEF supported centre for children who once lived and worked on the streets. Sewing classes are part of the livelihood programmes in the centre, teaching skills as well as providing clothes for the children. ©UNICEF/2011/Villafranca

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About UNICEF
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

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* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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