Thursday, January 24, 2008

David Beckham visits Sierra Leone

David Beckham has pleaded with the world not to turn a “blind eye” to dying children in developing countries. The soccer star, who has three sons, Brooklyn, eight, Romeo, five, and two-year-old Cruz with Spice Girl wife Victoria, was visibly moved as he visited the poverty-hit Sierra Leone, where a quarter of all children die before they turn five. David, who was in the West African state for his role as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations children’s organisation UNICEF, said, “We can’t turn a blind eye to the tens of thousands of young children who die every day in the developing world, mostly from causes that are preventable. It’s shocking and tragic, especially when the solutions are simple, things like vaccinations against measles or using a mosquito net to reduce the chance of getting malaria.”

As well as visiting a therapeutic feeding centre for malnourished children, David also thrilled locals when he joined in with a soccer match. UNICEF worker Lara Schlotterbeck, who was also on the trip, revealed, “The people playing couldn’t believe David Beckham had joined in their game. He was completely natural with them. They mobbed him and David took off his T-shirt and gave it to one of the players as a memento.” Before he ended his three-day trip, David said, “Saving these children’s lives is a top priority for UNICEF. As an ambassador I hope I can help to draw attention to this issue across the world.”