|“We can’t turn a blind eye to the tens of thousands of young children who die every day in the developing world mostly from causes that are preventable.” – David Beckham|
David Beckham, the British born soccer star, is admired by legions of fans around the world for his skilful moves and powerful kicks on the field. On 10 January 2005, the former England captain was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador with a special focus on UNICEF's Sports for Development programme.
Mr. Beckham’s support for UNICEF began while at the Manchester United Football Club. In November 1999, the team began their ‘United for UNICEF’ partnership with the UK Committee to raise awareness and funds for UNICEF. Mr. Beckham and his team-mates took part in campaigns and fundraising activities to establish education and recreational programmes involving football for children around the world.
In July 2001, while on a pre-season tour in Thailand with the Manchester team, Mr. Beckham visited the UNICEF-supported Kredtrakarn Centre, meeting children as young as five who were victims of exploitation and trafficking.
Within days of his appointment, Mr. Beckham travelled to UNICEF’s Supply Division in Copenhagen to see the crucial work being done to aid children affected by the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. There he helped launch a television fundraising appeal with the recording of a public service announcement, an important asset in that campaign.
Mr. Beckham pledged his support for the ‘Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS’ campaign and took part in a series of films to promote the campaigns’ messages. In addition, David Beckham and his wife Victoria chose UNICEF to be one of the beneficiaries of their ‘Full length and Fabulous Party’ held on 21 May 2006, with funds raised going to support this campaign.
In his ongoing support for UNICEF, Mr. Beckham travelled to Sierra Leone in 2008 to bring attention to the country’s dire child survival conditions. His visit supported the launch of UNICEF 2008 State of the World’s Children Report, which focussed on child mortality and brought worldwide coverage to the issue.
Alongside his footballing career, he has established the David Beckham Soccer Academy in London and Los Angeles to focus on developing the skills of young players.