UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham has met children at a temporary learning centre established with support from UNICEF in Kathmandu after the earthquake hit.
Evidence shows that children who are out of school for prolonged periods of time after a disaster are increasingly less likely to ever return to the classroom. The school Beckham visited is one of 1,500 temporary learning centres that UNICEF helped set up after the earthquakes destroyed 34,500 classrooms.
“When the earthquakes hit six months ago we all saw those terrible images in the news of flattened houses, schools and people being pulled from the rubble. So many children lost everything that day, their homes, their schools, their parents, their lives,” said UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham. “What we don’t see so often and what I’m here to shine a light on today is how organisations like UNICEF help those children recover after a disaster hits. UNICEF has built temporary schools like this one all over the country to make sure the generation of children affected by the earthquake don’t miss out on an education. Lots of these children have lost parents and friends or seen their homes destroyed but now thanks to UNICEF they have somewhere to learn, play and to talk about what happened to them – here they can be kids again.”
In the six months since the earthquake, UNICEF has immunised more than 50,000 children against diseases like polio, measles and rubella and set up temporary hospitals and health centres to replace those that were destroyed. Community health volunteers trained by UNICEF have reached around 500,000 children to make sure they are getting the right nutrition and UNICEF has worked with the Government of Nepal to make sure children have access to clean drinking water.
To protect children from the increased threat of violence, trafficking and exploitation, UNICEF has helped set up check posts between districts and along the borders with India and China. Staff trained to spot vulnerable children are stationed at each post and so far 338 children have been saved from being trafficked.
David’s visit to Nepal will be part of an upcoming BBC film where the Ambassador goes on a unique journey to play seven games in all of the seven continents around the world. The film will show the global appeal of football as David explores the impact the beautiful game has for different communities around the world in a bid to highlight how it can be a transformational force for good.
David’s incredible journey will culminate with an emotional return to Old Trafford on Saturday 14th November, where he will captain a Great Britain and Ireland star line-up against a Rest of the World team led by Zinedine Zidane. The Match for Children will raise awareness and vital funds for his UNICEF Fund.