Shakib, Jewel Aich, Moushumi Unicef ambassadors

Published : 17 Sept 2013, 08:44 AM
Updated : 17 Sept 2013, 01:28 PM

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has said he decided to work for the cause of children after encountering some street kids a few years back at a Dhaka playground.

“I am very happy today that I get the opportunity,” the cricketer said on Tuesday as he signed a contract to work for the children for the next two years as the United Nations Children Funds’ (Unicef) ‘goodwill ambassadors’ for Bangladesh.

“I am tied up with many brands, but it made me happier than anything,” he said and vowed to work for the children, mainly those disadvantaged.

Unicef representative Pascal Villeneuve announced top magician Jewel Aich, film actress Arifa Zaman Moushumi and Shakib as their new ambassadors, nearly eight years after announcing its last goodwill ambassadors in October 2005.

Legendary table tennis player Zobera Rahman Linu, the then Bangladesh cricket captain Habibul Bashar Sumon, and talented batsman Mohammad Ashraful were Unicef’s last ‘goodwill ambassadors’ in Bangladesh.

Aich, who is famed for his mesmerising magic since his teenage, said united efforts of all were needed for the children’s cause.

He said he had seen how poor children work in a crammed and filthy environment to make their living and run their families.

A freedom fighter, Aich is credited with playing an inspirational role for children in a refugee camp in 1971 after he fell ill in the battle field.

Explaining the need to work for the children, Moushumi said she would particularly work for the girl children. “Still we do not respect girls and back in our minds we feel girls should be in the kitchen.”

Unicef says the new ambassadors would pledge to promote child rights in Bangladesh, where more than three million children are struggling to grow up in slums. Children account for 40 percent of the country’s total population.

Unicef representative Villeneuve said the “prestige, talent and presence” the goodwill ambassadors brought to children’s issues would help them “send powerful messages to reach the hearts and minds of people in Bangladesh”.

The UN body picks up as their goodwill ambassadors prominent figures of a country’s art, science, literature, entertainment, sport or other fields, interested in working for children’s cause. They make important public announcement for children and appear on TV to promote children's issues.

Before being nominated, one has to work for one or two year with Unicef as child advocates.

Shakib had been working with them as an advocate since December 2010, while Aich and Moushumi had been working since August 2011.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher