YANGON, 7 July 2012 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and martial arts icon Jackie Chan concluded a three-day visit to Myanmar today.
He met hundreds of children, many of whom survived trafficking, are growing up without parents, are forced to live and work on the streets or are affected by HIV.
“The children I have met in Myanmar have inspired me,” said Jackie Chan. “The boys and girls who had been trafficked, their optimism and determination to build better lives for themselves has deeply impressed me.
While in Mandalay, Jackie met with 12 year old “Zaw” who was trafficked to Malaysia at 12 to work as a beggar. He also met with “Mimi” was sold by traffickers twice when she was 10 and again at 17.
“The stories these children shared with me showed me once again that we need to do a better job protecting children - especially against the horrific crimes of trafficking,” said Jackie Chan.
Jackie met nine-year-old Mg Mg who showed Jackie his bunk bed in the boy’s dorm of a monastery school. Mg Mg shares the room with 20 other boys who are living in the school because their families cannot care for them or can’t afford their schooling, but still want them to get an education.
Thirteen-year-old Cho Cho explained to Chan that she has to go to non-formal school in the evening because during the day she work, picking up tea leaves for US$2 per day to support her mother.
Chan was received in Myanmar with overwhelming welcome. At every location he was greeted by exited children and hundreds of fans.
“Jackie Chan’s visit was a highlight not only for the children he met, but also for the thousands of fans who welcomed him to their country,” said Ramesh Shrestha, UNICEF Representative in Myanmar. “His visit has helped focus attention on children at risk of being trafficked in Myanmar and around the world.”
Chan started his visit in Mandalay in the center of Myanmar on 5 July and ended it in Yangoon, Myanmar’s capital, on 7 July.
He has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2004 and this is been his seventh field trip with UNICEF.
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For more information, please contact:
Janine Kandel, UNICEF Regional Office for East Asia and Pacific,
Tel + 95 (0)9 419 27 046 (mobile Myanmar), + 66 (0) 90 197 4659 (mobile Thailand)
Ye Lwin Oo, UNICEF Myanmar,
Tel + 951 375 527-32 ext. 1448