|Mello, official mascot of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, spreads messages of acceptance and tolerance for those living with HIV and AIDS during his trip to Guyana.|
By Anwulika Okafor
NEW YORK, USA, 9 March 2007 – Mello, the official mascot of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, arrived at Guyana’s Timehri International Airport recently, greeted by the sounds of traditional Caribbean steel drum music and a throng of young fans.
The children – students from the local Redeemer Primary School – nodded, waved and shook hands with the friendly, bright orange mongoose. Then he made his way to the new National Cricket Stadium with representatives of UNICEF and the Local Organizing Committee for the Cricket World Cup matches in Guyana to see the first-ever game to be played at the facility.
Guyana was the first stop on Mello’s 10-day Caribbean tour in the run-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, which opens this weekend in Jamaica.
His tour supported the partnership between the International Cricket Council, UNICEF, UNAIDS and the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS – whose common goals are to help prevent the spread of HIV among young people and overcome AIDS stigma and discrimination.
|Mello at the opening ceremony of Kiddies Cricket, a youth event, with representatives of the official sponsors and UNICEF.|
Towards and AIDS-free generation
While in Guyana, Mello marched in a Children’s Costume Parade amidst some 3,000 brilliantly clad boys and girls. The mascot’s strong and visible message: Put children first in the fight against AIDS.
Mello also made appearances at various other events in Guyana and visited several schools to urge love, care and protection for people affected and infected by HIV.
Hosted by UNICEF and the Local Organizing Committee, Mello gave a boost to the Unite for Children. Unite Against Aids campaign in Guyana. Launched globally in October 2005, the campaign has brought together child advocates, world leaders, celebrities, non-governmental organizations and many others – now including the world of cricket – to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on millions of young people.
Mello’s visit to Guyana was one more way to advocate for the redoubling of efforts towards an AIDS-free generation.
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