Manchester United stars meet Hong Kong children to advocate the importance of sport and play as part of the ‘United for UNICEF’ partnership


Manchester United stars meet Hong Kong children to advocate the importance of sport and play as part of the ‘United for UNICEF’ partnership

HONG KONG, 28 July 2013 — Manchester United players Adnan Januzaj and Jesse Lingard took time out of the club’s Asia Tour to join in the ‘United for UNICEF’ Hong Kong Play Day with 40 local children. The day, organised by Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) and supported by Manchester United, helped raised vital awareness of the importance of sport and play for children’s health and development.
Manchester United has supported UNICEF’s work through the ‘United for UNICEF’ partnership for 14 years and recognises the critical role of sport and play in children’s lives. Many Hong Kong children are under excessive academic pressure and have structured activities that keep them away from true play; the Manchester United players showed the value that sport has on a child’s wellbeing.

Forty children aged between 6 and 12 years old from Society for Community Organization (SoCO), Tai Po Old Market Public School (Plover Cove), Victoria Shanghai Academy, and their parents joined the ‘United for UNICEF’ Hong Kong Play Day. The football stars spent an hour in playing football games with children to stress the importance of free play for children’s development. Together, Manchester United players played and coached four simple, child-oriented games such as dodgeball, dribbling balls around cones, throwing and catching and kicking balls in pairs. The football stars were delighted to witness how children explore true play by engaging in sports.

Manchester United player Adnan Januzaj said, “’United for UNICEF’ is such a unique partnership that helps millions of children. It has been amazing to see the impact of sport and play on children here today in Hong Kong. I couldn’t imagine my life without sport, especially during my childhood and I hope that children in Hong Kong get to enjoy sport and play, just like I did.”

Ms Leonie Ki, Vice Chairman of UNICEF HK said, “Sport and play are children’s fundamental rights according to United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and are essential to the healthy development of a child. UNICEF HK dedicates its efforts in advocating the right to play this year to arouse more public attention on the importance of this right, and hence getting us closer to zero underdevelopment.”

She added, “We are very grateful to Manchester United and the players for joining us on the Hong Kong Play Day to help get more children involved in sport and play. UNICEF HK highly encourages Hong Kong parents to give their children free play time every day. It can be done anytime and anywhere. As you can see today, we do not need any expensive set up or toys but children can still have fun!”

She continued, “Play occurs in every country. No matter how rich or poor, or even in emergencies. Globally, UNICEF also sees sport and play as an effective programmatic tool to help achieve goals in health, education, gender equality, HIV/AIDS, child protection and child development. ”

‘United for UNICEF’ has benefitted children across the world, including many projects in Asia. Manchester United has been working with UNICEF since 1999 through the ‘United for UNICEF’ partnership. The club has raised over HK$35 million (£3 million) helping over 3.4 million children worldwide.


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