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On November 8, superstar footballer David Beckham appeared on the UK children’s TV programme Blue
Peter to back its latest charity campaign ‘Shoebiz’. The appeal’s goal is to gather and recycle 500,000 pairs of shoes to raise £500,000 — enough to set up 22 Children’s Corners across Malawi.

Children’s Corners provide food, support and schooling for some of the world’s poorest children, and a chance for them to simply play. With the explosion of AIDS across Africa, many of the children are orphans with the job of caring for their younger siblings.

During Beckham’s time as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, he supported several campaigns, including ‘Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS’ and saw the problems that African AIDS orphans face.

Giving a pair of his own shoes to the appeal, Beckham said, "So many people look up to me and to other footballers around the world. To help out by creating awareness is the best thing I can do.

“My kids love football and they are lucky – there are many children out there who don’t have the privilege of running around on grass or having shoes to run in.

“Just a simple thing like giving a pair of shoes or trainers to this
appeal is going to make a big difference.

“There are many children out there who have lost their mums and dads to HIV/AIDS and something like this will make a huge difference.”

Beckham said of his own donation: “I rarely give football boots away and these are very special to me.”

Fellow footballer Wayne Rooney and Tony Blair have also given some of their old footwear for the Shoebiz Appeal. Rooney gave a pair of football boots, while the Prime Minister handed over a smart pair of shoes.

Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones visited Malawi to witness first-hand the plight of the 600,000 orphans who have so far lost their parents to AIDS, which kills one person in the country every eight minutes. Jones said, “The children I met in Malawi just wanted to kick a ball around and have fun together; but the sadness of their loss and the appalling difficulties of living without a mum or dad simply can’t be faced alone.”

Residents of the UK, where 2 million shoes are thrown away each week, can get involved via the Blue Peter appeal website.

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