|© UNICEF video|
|Sharmila Tagore has become the latest Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF India.|
By Rob McBride
NEW DELHI, India, 8 December 2005 – Sharmila Tagore, one of India’s best-known and well-loved film stars, has signed on as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF India in a move to help the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country.
With the second largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world after South Africa, India’s young are particularly vulnerable. Several children affected by HIV/AIDS attended the signing ceremony with Ms. Tagore, who has made tackling the disease the main focus of her activities as an Ambassador.
“I promise to speak on behalf of the children – their rights, their needs and their future – wherever my voice will make a difference,” pledged Ms. Tagore.
|© UNICEF video|
|UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman (centre), along with children affected by HIV/AIDS attended the induction ceremony for Sharmila Tagore.|
UNICEF was the first global organization to mobilize the power of celebrities to highlight the needs of children. Ms. Tagore now joins a roster of celebrities who have embraced UNICEF for more than half a century.
“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 UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.
There are an estimated quarter of a million children living with HIV or AIDS in India today. UNICEF Project Officer Vidya Ganesh said Ms. Tagore would also play a crucial role in helping to promote greater openness and awareness about the disease.
“We’re hoping that talk about HIV really becomes part of the public dialogue,” said Ms. Ganesh. “And not something that’s hidden and not talked about. We really need to break the barrier of silence on this.”
In a sometimes emotional speech, Ms. Tagore welcomed her new role with a commitment to working for India’s children. “It’s rewarding to know that I join such a great list of stars supporting UNICEF,” she said, “and can personally contribute to improving the lives and futures of children.”
8 December 2005:
UNICEF correspondent Rob McBride reports on the induction of Indian film star Sharmila Tagore as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.