Film icon Sharmila Tagore appointed Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF India
NEW Delhi, 8 December 2005 -- Sharmila Tagore, one of India’s best-known and well-loved film stars, signed on as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF India this morning at a ceremony attended by the agency’s Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman.
“UNICEF has done tremendous work in my India and I have seen first-hand the difference UNICEF makes,” said Ms. Tagore. “It’s rewarding to know that I join such a great list of stars supporting UNICEF, and can personally contribute to improving the lives and futures of children.”
“Sharmila Tagore joins a roster of celebrities who have embraced UNICEF for more than half a century, beginning with Danny Kaye and including Audrey Hepburn, Amitabh Bachchan, Harry Belafonte, Roger Moore, Jessica Lange and Shakira,” Ms. Veneman said. “More than 100 celebrities in film, music, sport and literature around the world work as UNICEF ambassadors.”
UNICEF was the first global organization to utilize the power of celebrities to highlight the needs of children when it appointed Danny Kaye its first Goodwill Ambassador. Since then, celebrities have spoken for those who frequently are not heard: children.
Ms. Tagore, who has helped to push for more attention to HIV/AIDS in her country and around the world, will focus primarily on the disease’s impact on children as a UNICEF India Goodwill Ambassador.
There are an estimated 220,000 children living with HIV or AIDS in India today, and between 55,000 and 60,000 children are infected via parent-to-child transmission each year. The country is home to the second largest population of people with HIV or AIDS in the world, after South Africa.
She joins leaders in politics, entertainment, academia and sports that have signed on to the agency’s Global Campaign on Children Affected by HIV/AIDS. Here in India, H.E. President APJ Kalam, and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were the campaign’s first supporters.
“Sharmila, like all our UNICEF Ambassadors, was chosen based on her compassion, her involvement in global issues, her deep commitment to helping children, and her popularity across India,” said Veneman.
“We are very pleased to have Sharmila join the UNICEF family. I know she’ll help bring UNICEF’s mission to the audience who will have the most impact on our future – children and youth.”