|© UNICEF/Colin Reid|
|UNICEF Jamaica's first Goodwill Ambassador, Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser is handed the certificate by UNICEF Representative in Jamaica Robert Fuderich.|
By Allison Hickling
KINGSTON, Jamaica, 15 March 2010 – Shelly-Ann Fraser, 23, is the first Jamaican woman to win Olympic gold in the 100-metre dash. Now, she has also achieved a significant first for the children of her country.
Ms. Fraser has been appointed Jamaica’s first-ever national UNICEF Ambassador, a title she has earned through her demonstrated passion to inspire and influence young lives.
She was appointed at a star-studded event in February – which Ms. Fraser designed and organized herself – to raise funds for UNICEF’s relief and rebuilding efforts in Haiti. The dinner brought together 14 fellow athletes, who raffled themselves off as dates to help in the fundraising effort.
Among the athletes at the event were Usain Bolt – the fastest sprinter in the world – and gold medallists Asafa Powell, Michael Frater and Melaine Walker. With their help, Ms. Fraser was able to raise some $5,000 to support UNICEF’s work in Haiti.
In announcing Ms. Fraser’s appointment, UNICEF Representative in Jamaica Robert Fuderich described her as “a natural fit for UNICEF.” He went on to laud her as someone who “cares deeply about the welfare of Jamaican children, and who is a role model for scores of children who are inspired by the way she’s risen against the odds.”
Inspiration to children
Shelly-Ann Fraser’s journey from the poverty-stricken community of Waterhouse in Kingston to the Olympic Games has indeed made her an inspirational figure for many Jamaican children.
After winning the gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Ms. Fraser returned to Jamaica and took a major step towards attaining her professional goals – in early childhood development – by enrolling in the Child and Adolescent Developmental Studies Programme at the University of Technology in Kingston. In doing so, she also became the first person in her family to pursue a post-secondary education.
Ms. Fraser has welcomed her appointment as a UNICEF Ambassador with enthusiasm.
“I am looking forward to working with UNICEF to accomplish the goals we have set,” she said. “I know I will carry out the task of making Jamaicans aware that children are our future.”