Cricket chief and star show AIDS solidarity in India
04 September 2007
Head of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Malcolm Speed joined Indian star Virender Sehwag and Cecilio Adorna, UNICEF India country representative, in a visit to the Antiretroviral treatment centre of the Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital in New Delhi at the end of August. The visit was part of the ICC's partnership with UNAIDS and UNICEF to raise awareness and reduce stigma around AIDS and the impact of AIDS on children through the global campaign, UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS .
As well as playing an impromptu game of cricket with a group of young children, the delegation also had the opportunity to meet with children and mothers living with HIV.
“Cricket is not all about the game,” said Malcolm Speed. “Having a social awareness programme associated with it is not only an excellent way to reach out to the cricket fans but also an uplifting experience for the cricketers as well, and puts everything into perspective,” he added.
Virenda Sehwag added: “It is important for every one of us to spend time children living with HIV. It is a pleasure to be associated with the cause. When celebrities endorse a noble cause like this, it has more impact.”
In India, an estimated 70,000 children below the age of 15 are living with HIV. Worldwide, every day there are estimated to be nearly 1,800 new HIV infections in children under 15.
AIDS and young people will be a key theme of the upcoming ICC Twenty 20 World Championships being hosted by South Africa from 11 to 24 September as part of the unique partnership between the ICC, UNICEF, UNAIDS, the African Broadcast Media Partnership and the Kaiser Family Foundation, using the cricket tournament to draw attention to the impact of AIDS on the world’s children.