Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson took time out from the club's pre-season tour in South Africa this week to learn about the impact of violence and abuse on the country’s orphans.
South Africa has close to 4 million orphans, many of whom have lost one or both parents to HIV. These children often live in extreme poverty and are especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
Sir Alex and young goalkeeper Ben Amos visited a UNICEF-supported Isibinidi ('Courage') project in KwaZulu-Natal. It's a community project developed to care for vulnerable children by providing practical and emotional support, for example through home visits from trained child care workers.
The project also builds and maintains a network of Safe Parks, where children can play safely, study and learn life skills like confidence, home management, and HIV prevention.
"As a UNICEF Ambassador and through Man Utd’s 13-year United for UNICEF partnership I’ve visited many projects. But to hear how young people, especially orphans, suffer is always shattering", said Sir Alex.
"Projects like Isibindi are making a real difference, but to reach the millions of orphans in South Africa UNICEF needs more support. Manchester United is committed to supporting UNICEF in this cause, and I’m calling on others to do the same."