Millions of young people around the world grow up unable to build
decent lives for themselves because they are denied their right
to education. An estimated 120 million children in developing countries
dont have the chance to go even to primary school. The majority
of those children are girls.
|Village school in Shaanxi
Denying girls their right to a quality education effectively denies
them all other human rights and minimizes the chances of successive
generations particularly the chances of their daughters
to develop to their fullest potential.
In response to such a hurtful reality, UNICEF has teamed with FIFA
to use the wide popularity and high visibility of football to help
every child, including every girl, get to school and stay there.
Together, they are developing women's football programmes, to help
young women and girls develop the self-esteem they need to succeed
UNICEF is also working with well-known football players to call
attention to the plight of girls who have been abused or forced
into child labour. Last year, four players from the renowned English
team Manchester United -- David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Wes Brown and
Ole Solskaer -- visited a UNICEF project in Bangkok that provides
protection, education and training for girls as young as five who
have been involved in child labour and who have been abused.
||In Afghanistan, teacher Habiba Khilwati
with some of the 90 neighbourhood girls and boys she teaches
in her home-based school in Kabul.
Meeting these girls face-to-face made everything much more
real," said David Beckham. "All they wanted was to be
loved and to have a future. UNICEF is able to help children around
the world to have a future, and football can play a big part in
that. I'm extremely happy that FIFA has decided to dedicate next
year's World Cup to children - there couldn't be a better cause."
UNICEF in the field
In Brazil, UNICEF and FIFA integrated
football into several school programmes to help enrol at-risk children
and keep them in school.
And in Ethiopia,
Kenya and elsewhere, the
partners have sponsored programmes that use football as an education
tool to teach children important lessons on HIV/AIDS, conflict resolution
and other issues.