David Beckham tried his hand at sewing, took part in an art class and played a game of soccer with local students this week as the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) visited the Philippines to spotlight the plight of young people in need.
The soccer ace toured a UNICEF-supported centre in Manila, the national capital, that is home to about 130 former street children aged between seven and 17, the agency said in a press release issued today.
As many as 250,000 children are estimated to be living and working on the streets across the Philippines, and UNICEF noted they are particularly vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation.
“As a father, I can’t imagine how life was for these young children living and working on the streets,” Mr. Beckham said. “They are exposed to so many threats and dangers, and are missing out on the basics in life – having people around who love and guide them.”
The centre provides classes in different subjects, including sewing and art, as part of its livelihood programme for the children that also helps to build their self-esteem.
His visit concluded with a 20-minute football game with young players from the shelter.
“Whilst many of these children have been through tough experiences in their young lives, like any child they still have hopes and dreams,” he said. “The staff here has a huge responsibility and they are doing an amazing job giving these children the love, guidance and care they’ve been missing.”
Mr. Beckham, 36, has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 2005. One of the most famous footballers of his generation, the midfielder has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy, among other clubs, and has also played more than 100 times for the English football team.