Brazilian soccer star Kaká takes aim at world hunger as UN ambassador
”It’s a real honour to help the WFP team rid the world of hunger,” Kaká, who grew up with poor undernourished children from Sao Paulo’s urban slums told a press conference in Milan’s San Siro stadium today. “I owe a lot to soccer. Now I’d like give something back and bring hope to hungry kids less fortunate than myself.”
The mid-fielder, who was also a member of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning squad in South Korea/Japan, came face-to-face with hunger when as a junior honing his skills at Sao Paolo Futebole Clube’s celebrated soccer academy he mingled with slum kids – each one dreaming of escaping poverty through soccer.
“Soccer players are natural ambassadors. Their sport is the most popular in the world, crossing borders and uniting cultures. By visiting our projects and operations, Kaká can use his fame and talent to advocate a better future for the world’s 800 million chronically hungry,”said John Powell, Deputy Executive Director of WFP's Fundraising and Communications Department.
The Brazilian international has already asked WFP to organize a field visit to war-torn Angola, where the agency’s projects are helping over 1 million former soldiers, internally displaced persons and refugees rebuild their lives and their country.
As the world’s biggest food aid agency, WFP is playing a leading role in meeting the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of hungry people around the world by 2015. Hunger and malnutrition claim more than 10 million lives each year – more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
Kaká is the youngest of several international sports stars who are donating their time and celebrity status to help WFP defeat global hunger. Others include the world’s fastest man over 26 miles, marathon record holder Paul Tergat of Kenya, cricket’s record breaking wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan from Sri Lanka and former Rugby World Cup winning captains Nick Farr-Jones and David Kirk.