Cricket legend and the Unicef South Asia Regional Goodwill Ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar joined the world’s children’s charity organisation to help 3.9 million Sri Lankan people, including children, who are struggling to get adequate food.
Tendulkar is on a visit to Sri Lanka meeting children and parents impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2022 economic crisis.
The cricket legend recalled warm memories associated with Sri Lanka during his earlier visits, both as a cricketer and as part of his engagements with Unicef in 2015. He lauded the efforts of all government and non-government organisations in their efforts towards bringing a positive change despite challenging environments.
During the field mission, he visited a pre-school, supported by Unicef’s ongoing mid-day school meal programme, and helped serve nutrient-rich food to children.
Since August 2022, the UN agency’s midday meal programme has been providing nutritious meals to 50,000 pre-school children in nearly 1,400 schools across the country.
The meal programme has also helped boost pre-school attendance.
“Children require a nutrient-rich diet and quality education to reach their full potential. By investing in their education and nutrition, we are not only investing in their future but also every country’s future,” said Tendulkar.
At another school, he observed teaching and learning activities for grade 3 children where many students shared their desire to stay in school and follow their dreams.
He then joined the senior schoolgirls and boys on the pitch for a game of cricket.
“The children I spoke with, are showing great tenacity, and their hope for a better future remains strong. We need to continue supporting them so they keep achieving their goals,” Tendulkar added.
He also visited Indian origin Tamil families living in tea plantations, to understand their lives better.
As part of the support for economic recovery, Unicef provided cash transfers to more than 110,000 families with children up to two years of age to buy nutritious foods and other vital supplies needed for their children.
Tendulkar also took time to speak to a group of young people from Sri Lanka, in a close ‘Cricket Catch-Ups’ session during which he shared his experiences growing up, in overcoming obstacles, remaining resilient and focused in pursuing his goal.
These youngsters are part of the Unicef-supported Children’s Club network of the Department of Probation and Child Care Services.
Tendulkar was appointed as the first Unicef Regional Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia in 2013.