English | Dzongkha Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sachin Tendulkar becomes UNICEF’s Regional Ambassador

Nov 29, 2013

Sachin-UNICEF’s Regional AmbassadorIndia’s cricket legend, Sachin Tendulkar, who retired from cricket recently is now UNICEF’s first Regional Ambassador for South Asia. He was formally appointed to the post in Mumbai, yesterday.

According to UNICEF’s Regional Director for South Asia, Karin Hulshof, it was Sachin’s appeal to the masses in India and outside that he has been appointed the Regional Ambassador for UNICEF.

“Dear Sachin, as you can see, there is momentum out there and your appointment as UNICEF Ambassador will only get this movement to become stronger and more efficient”.

“When you were playing cricket, you had the unique power to reach all villages and communities of South Asia. We believe that you can be as effective in reaching every village and community to change behaviours in relation to hygiene and sanitation,” said Ms. Hulshof.

UNICEF statistics reveal that 61% of South Asians lack improved sanitation, and at least 681 million South Asians practice open defecation. UNICEF’s Regional Director did, however, share that countries like Bhutan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka have been able to address health and sanitation issues to a great extent and that the numbers largely reflect the Indian population.

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“Sachin described his new role as his ‘second innings in life’ and promised the same level of commitment to the role as he did to cricket,” shares our reporter, Namgay Zam, who was in Mumbai for the event.

“Thank you very much for allowing me to start this wonderful second innings of my life… let us all strive towards sanitation for all of us, more so for children who don’t understand the importance of washing hands. As I said earlier, there is great strength in clean hands,” said Sachin.

Back home, Bhutan’s household and sanitation coverage is at an impressive 90% but the WHO/UNICEF joint monitoring programme finds that ensuring access to improved sanitation is insufficient in the Country. UNICEF Bhutan also shares that the country’s major challenge lies in improving the Bhutanese attitude and level of practice concerning hygiene.

UNICEF’s Regional Director said she was hopeful about Sachin Tendulkar bringing about the change in attitude towards sanitation and hygiene. “At the end of the day, it is a mindset change. You may have a toilet, but if you don’t believe this is important for your children to grow up healthy, you don’t use it. So, we hope with Sachin, not that this is going to be a billions of dollars campaign, this is a campaign about transforming South Asia.”

Sachin is expected to visit several countries in South Asia as UNICEF’s Regional Ambassador from the start of next year. Bhutan is on his list as well.

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