Michael began supporting UNICEF UK in 2010 when he took part in Soccer Aid for UNICEF and he became an Ambassador in October 2014.
Michael, who is best known for his roles as Tony Blair in The Queen, David Frost in Frost/Nixon and Aro in Twilight, has used his role as an ambassador to highlight the plight of children affected by the ongoing conflict.
In November 2013, Michael travelled to Lebanon to meet children who had fled their homes and were living in refugee camps. He visited the region again in March 2016, where he met children and families living in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.
During his visit, Michael met 12-year-old Majd, who works to support his mother and seven siblings. Three years ago, Majd and his family fled their home near Damascus after his dad was captured, presumed killed. Thanks to your support, Majd is able to go to a drop-in centre for working children run by UNICEF and partners, where he can learn, play and be a child again.
Then in 2018, Michael travelled to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh for Soccer Aid for UNICEF. Cox’s Bazar currently holds the largest refugee settlement in the world, where thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled to, from Myanmar and are currently living in refugee camps of unimaginable scale.
During the trip, Michael visited UNICEF supported Child Friendly Spaces, situated in the camps. A space for children, where they can receive support and just be children.
“They’re a space to play, sing songs and laugh once again, but also somewhere children can– try to process what they’ve have been witness to. If just one of these centres were removed,23,000 children would go without access to vital psychosocial, recreational and educational facilities.”
After captaining the World XI team since 2010, Michael then took on the role of Assistant Manager for Soccer Aid for UNICEF in 2016 and 2018.
On taking on the role of Assistant Manager alongside Harry Redknapp, Michael said,
“This year, with the likes of Seedorf, Pires, and Van Der Sar on the World XI team, I’ve decided that my talents are best used elsewhere. So I’ve handed the captaincy of the team over to Usain Bolt who is a safe pair of hands – and feet – and to ensure victory, I’m joining the management team!”
In March 2015 Michael travelled to Guatemala where, as part of the Children in Danger campaign, he highlighted the need for a target on violence against children in the new Sustainable Development Goals. On his return Michael undertook a variety of media and also spoke about his visit with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Labour Leader Ed Miliband and Justine Greening, UK Secretary of State for International Development.
Michael continues to be a champion for children’s rights all over the world.