Retired soccer star and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham traveled to all seven continents in November to raise funds and awareness for UNICEF operations around the world.
Stopping in places like Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Djibouti and even Antarctica, a principle theme of Beckham’s trip was soccer as a unifying sport for all people to enjoy. Along the way, Beckham played soccer matches with local teams to spread enthusiasm for the sport and educate about UNICEF programs.
“This epic journey will allow me to show the positive side of the game I love and shine a light on the passion and selflessness of people that play this sport as a force for good,” said Beckham.
On the third leg of the trip in Djibouti, Beckham took time to visit the Ali Addeh refugee camp, a temporary home for over 10,000 people fleeing conflict and poor conditions in Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. It was the first time Beckham has visited a refugee camp as a Goodwill Ambassador.
“It’s shocking to see how children’s lives can be turned upside down as a result of conflict and violence,” said Beckham. “As a father, it breaks my heart to see children living in such difficult circumstances.”
The seven continent journey concluded with the Match for Children charity game at Old Trafford football stadium in Manchester, England, where Beckham used to play for Manchester United. The match brought together soccer all-stars divided into two teams. Beckham captained the “Great Britain & Ireland” team and Zinedine Zidane led the “Rest of the World” team.
Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham has been with UNICEF for 10 years, having assumed the role in 2005. He originally focused on promoting sports, but his role has grown to encompass providing healthcare to children in disadvantaged communities in developing countries.
The 7, the David Beckham UNICEF Fund was launched earlier in 2015, commemorating the soccer star’s decade of service with UNICEF. The namesake of the fund is the number Beckham played with Manchester United. The mission of the fund is to provide access to vaccinations and medical care to help protect children against preventable diseases.