From a boy following his dreams, to Roma's star player
Happy childhood is when you are healthy and smiling and when everyone around you is like that as well
UNICEF along with its ambassadors, public figures from the fields of culture, art, sports and others, promotes and advocates the improvement of living conditions of children, women, youth and families. The ambassadors use their success as a platform to be the voice for those who need protection and encouragement. Edin Džeko was the appointed as the first UNICEF ambassador from Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 2009.
Football became his life, but it had a humble beginning in the rock and shrapnel covered parks and pitches of wartime Sarajevo. Even though he grew up in wartime, Edin says that he had a happy childhood, because for him, happy childhood is everything that he survived.
His career started in FK Željezničar, where he played between 2003-2005, leaving the club for the Czech Republic at the tender age of 18. His dreams slowly started coming true, in one season for Czech club “Teplice” he played 43 matches and scored 16 goals. Thanks to perseverance, positive work ethic and willpower, Dzeko was proclaimed the top scorer in the Czech league, what followed was an opportunity to move from the Czech league to one of the top leagues in the world – the German Bundesliga.
The boy who believed in himself and followed his dreams is a successful athlete today. As a man and UNICEF ambassador, he wants happy childhood for every child, and adds: “Happy childhood is when you have friends, when you have parents to protect and guide you. When you are little, you maybe don’t understand all the things they don’t allow you to do, their motifs, their words, but when you have your own child you will understand that everything they said made sense and then you will start copying them. Happy childhood is when you have an opportunity to spend time and play with your peers, when you get a ball and sleep with it, when you can’t wait for tomorrow to come so you can play with your friends again. Happy childhood is when you are healthy and smiling and when everyone around you is like that as well.”
With German Wolfsburg, Edin Džeko won the Bundesliga in 2008/09, and in the following season he was the top scorer in the Bundesliga. In January 2011, Džeko signed a contract with English Manchester City. After four years in England, he transferred to Italian Roma, and currently plays as a forward there.
Out of all trophies, awards and titles he obtained during his career, the role of UNICEF ambassador is something special to him:
“Through this role I enriched my life, and I hope lives of others too. With the role of a parent, that I have, being the UNICEF ambassador is one of the most important roles for me. Through work with UNICEF and work with children, I met so many wonderful children and I wished to be a parent myself, and now I am. I am too proud of what UNICEF does and I am glad I am part of this story.”
“To all children of the world, I wish them the same as to my children, whom I raise in a way to love and respect all around them. To all children of this world, but truly, I wish they have a smile on their faces and to enjoy being kids. Time flies fast and we grow up and there is truth in the saying that the best years are childhood years, when you are without worries and when others take care of you. Your duty is just to think what will happen tomorrow in school and if you will see your crush or not. For each child I wish to have love every step of the way, to have a family and to never be apart from it. For them to be loved, to love, for that is the most beautiful feeling in the world, to love and be loved…To all children of the world, I wish for a childhood without tears, without pain, without disease.”