Soccer star David Beckham arrived in the typhoon-ravaged Tycloban area of the Philippines on Thursday, bringing joy to the survivors of last November’s Typhoon Haiyan.
Leaving his wife Victoria and their four children at home, David travelled as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to see how the charity had helped struggling families three months after the natural disaster.
“I was humbled to visit Tacloban and see how people are still so full of spirit despite the devastation they have suffered,” said David. “Close to six million children are affected and many have lost loved ones.”
“Seeing how children are being given a sense of normality amid the rubble of their communities has been amazing,” he said. “I want to show people around the world how their generous donations have had an enormous impact on children and their families and how thankful people here are for their kindness.”
The ex-England football captain made his way to a UNICEF-supported child-friendly space at one of Tacloban’s major evacuation points. Donning a black UNICEF t-shirt, David met mothers and children who were living at the safe haven.
The expert father-of-four, 38, looked delighted to meet the families in the tented space. David read stories out loud to the group huddled around him and was pictured entertaining the babies and playing games with the children.
As his visit came the day before Valentine’s Day, David brought out his creative skills and helped the youngsters cut out paper hearts and make cards.
The Beckham family have shown their support for typhoon victims previously, when Victoria generously put up items from her wardrobe for sale. The fashionista donated pieces including designer dresses, tops, suits and 100 pairs of Victoria’s shoes to the British Red Cross shop in Kensington, London.
The UNICEF space in Tacloban has been set up to provide psychological support for children and to teach mothers about the best nutrition for their babies, while families are away from their devastated communities.
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to turn commitment into practical action. The charity, supported by celebrity ambassadors such as Mia Farrow and Angelina Jolie, focuses especially on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children.