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Sir Alex Ferguson at the European launch of Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS

© UNICEF/SWZK/Ferre
Sir Alex Ferguson at the European launch of Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to be here at UNICEF’s invitation at this launch of the Global Campaign on Children and AIDS.

Manchester United has supported UNICEF’s work since 1999, and as your long-standing partner we today announce our firm commitment to focus our efforts on the issue of AIDS affecting children. We have already funded HIV projects in China, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos and several of our players have supported your work in Africa. We recognise that AIDS is one of the biggest challenges facing mankind today and we look forward to continuing our support in such a vital area of child protection and survival.

The statistics are frightening. There are many. I will pick only three: A child dies of an AIDS-related illness every minute of every day; a young person contracts HIV every 15 seconds; globally, 15 million children have already lost one or both parents to AIDS.

You have already heard about the alarming scale of the epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and how it thrives on stigma and discrimination. The children and young people at greatest risk are the least likely to get the help they need. And HIV-positive children are now growing up in hospitals, shut away from society.

This campaign comes not a moment too soon as it attempts to reverse these terrible trends and rescue future generations from a similar fate.

At Manchester United, we know about reaching out to young people and we have many players who I believe have a responsibility as role models for the young generation. These players can reach out and communicate vital messages on HIV/AIDS.

Together, Manchester United, UNICEF, UNAIDS and the many other partners, have the resources, the will, and the potential to launch a successful campaign, one which changes attitudes, perceptions, and ultimately behaviour.

But, the Global Campaign on Children and HIV/AIDS will succeed only if we truly unite, and work together to drive out stigma and halt the spread of the AIDS virus.

The message of the campaign is “missing”. The many aspects of life we take for granted are missing from the lives of those children and young people affected by AIDS epidemics. The AIDS generation is missing out on all that we hold most dear, from a family, to an education, from the chance to kick a ball around after school, to having enough to eat. All because of AIDS. 

Manchester United is ready to play its part. Like any team, we must be focused, committed and work hard to get a result. We are playing for a win. A landslide win against a tough opponent, AIDS.

Starting today, UNITE FOR CHILDREN. UNITE AGAINST AIDS.

Thank you.

For more information:

Angela Hawke, Communication Officer, UNICEF CEE/CIS, tel: (+4122) 909 5433, email: ahawke@unicef.org

 

 

 

 

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