David Beckham Visits Homeless Children: ‘They Risk Horrific Abuse’
David Beckham has spoken out about the “horrific” situation faced by homeless children in the Philippines.
The football legend visited Manila to highlight the work done by UNICEF in helping young people living and working on the streets.
He said: “As a Dad with young children, I can’t imagine how life was for these young children living and working on the streets. 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.”
It is estimated that 100 million children live and work on streets around the world, where they are exposed to violence, abuse and exploitation. UNICEF works to help these vulnerable children leave the streets and get back into a caring, supportive environment either with their parents, other relatives or sometimes in temporary centres.
Beckham was toured around the centre by the children themselves, and participated in sewing sessions, art classes and was entertained by an impromptu rap and dance session. Throughout it all, the children helped him learn about the reality of their lives.
He said: “UNICEF is doing incredible work for street children in Manila. I’ve met with children that have risked horrific levels of abuse by sleeping rough, but are now safe in the UNICEF project I visited.
“These kids have led really tough lives but are getting back on track thanks to having a safe place to sleep, eat and play, as well as being given medical care, education and legal assistance.”
He added: “All these children have been failed by adults in the crucial early years of their lives. I would not be where I am today without the love and support of my parents – every child deserves that, every child deserves a second chance.”