An open letter from David Beckham: Please help us to save Somalian children dying of hunger
Published 23:02 26/07/11 By David Beckham
I am writing to you in my role as a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and also as a father, with an urgent plea for support.
The children of Somalia and East Africa are in the middle of an unthinkable food crisis.
As you will know from the coverage in this paper over the past few days, famine has struck in Somalia and the worst droughts in 50 years have brought millions to the brink of disaster across the Horn of Africa.
Almost two million children in Somalia alone have been going to bed hungry for many, many weeks. Now and today, as you read this, children are literally dying of hunger.
Every six minutes a child in south Somalia is dying from hunger. Just think about that. And many more will die in the coming weeks unless you and I do something to help.
I never want to see Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz or Harper go to bed without a meal. I cannot begin to think what it is like for those children, with not even a grain of rice in their stomachs, going to bed hungry day after day, week after week.
They need our help. They need our attention. They need our action.
This emergency is not limited to Somalia but reaches out across borders into other areas in the Horn of Africa such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.
The situation is grim and millions of children are in desperate condition. Their families have been tipped over the edge, their animals are dead, and they have nothing left to live on.
Those who are strong enough are walking miles in search of help. Those who aren’t are staying in their villages, desperately hoping that help reaches them in time.
The people of Somalia are also facing continuing violence from civil war, which means many aid agencies have had to leave the country.
One UN agency had 13 aid workers killed.
However, Unicef, which helps disadvantaged children around the world, has been working tirelessly to try to stem the impact of this disaster. I am incredibly proud of their work.
I’ve been to Sierra Leone and South Africa and seen the work that Unicef are doing. I’ve seen malnutrition up close and personal and it is not a pleasant thing. I’ve seen how very little it takes to save a child’s life, but how easily they can fall ill and die if they don’t have simple things such as milk, food, clean water and vaccinations to stop disease.
This is why I am a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef. I want to help Unicef to make a difference for these desperately hungry children.
I’ve seen the difference that Unicef’s work makes to children’s lives.
To see children brought back from the brink of death and nurtured into smiling, happy, contented kids is just incredible.
In the past few minutes while you read this, more children will have died. By the time you get to the end of my letter another one will have passed away from hunger. We can prevent more children dying by helping the charity to scale up its efforts.
Unicef provides special food for severely malnourished children as well as safe drinking water, medical care and safety. They are doing it right now in Somalia. Where many organisations can’t get to, they are there.
In the past few weeks I have experienced the incredible happiness that comes from being a father again – for the fourth time!
And I know that there is nothing I wouldn’t do for my children – I think about them all the time and I am sure you feel the same about yours.
But for those families in Somalia, facing a perilous and uncertain future, they need your thoughts too. And they need you to act.
By giving just £5 – often less than the price of a meal in the UK – you could provide life-saving food supplies for children who are hungry. Unicef is the main provider of emergency nutrition for children in East Africa, and one of the only organisations working in Somalia, but they desperately need your help to reach every child.
What is happening to children right now is horrific. Please, please help Unicef to help those children.
Please text FOOD to 70030 to give a £5 donation, telephone 0800 037 9797 or visit www.unicef.org.uk .
We need to act now. I promise you that your donation will make a life-saving difference.