LONDON — This April, Prince William rewarded Victoria Beckham’s charity work by granting her an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). The former Spice Girl received recognition for her work with such organizations as UNAIDS and Save the Children. The Duke of Cambridge commended Beckham for combining her fashion expertise with her philanthropic efforts.
Beckham became an ambassador for the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS in 2014. Today, she still works extensively with the organization. Beckham’s international influence allows her to spread awareness while bringing more economic resources to the cause. Her ambassadorship has also brought her into direct contact with patients at HIV clinics through her travels to South Africa.
UNAIDS works to raise money for technology, medication and other resources that can help combat AIDS epidemic. According to UNAIDS, access to antiretroviral therapy can lower the risk of the virus passing from mothers to infants to only 5 percent. After receiving five years of antiretroviral medication, more than 900,000 infants were born HIV-free. Areas of extreme poverty are particularly susceptible to the HIV infection due to a lack of funding and education. However, Beckham’s fundraising allows UNAIDS to provide impoverished regions with medication and technology to fight and prevent the spread of AIDS.
Additionally, Victoria Beckham’s charity work has extended to other global charity foundations. In 2015, Beckham selected and donated 25 separate outfits to Save the Children, which sold them as part of their fundraising efforts. Save the Children creates programs that alleviate issues affecting impoverished children such as hunger, poor health care, discrimination, exploitation and other injustices. After visiting South Africa, Beckham reported: “I came home and I knew I had to do something… I have a responsibility as a woman and a mother.”
According to Save the Children, children are the most vulnerable age group for poverty-related issues such as disease, malnutrition, illiteracy, physical violence and other life-threatening situations. Beckham’s work consequently helps raise critical funding and awareness for UNAIDS and Save the Children.
Raising awareness is one of the first steps in the fight against poverty. Victoria Beckham’s charity work exemplifies the unique position of celebrities. The public pays attention to the issues and organizations celebrities support. When Beckham received her honor, she said, “For some reason, people will listen to me. This is the beginning of an incredible journey for me.”
– Julia Morrison