First thing I wanted to do after getting out was to…: Tendulkar recalls childhood memories
UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador bats for nutrition, quality education for children in Sri Lanka
UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia and Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar (R) plays cricket with children in Colombo on August 8, 2023. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIAN cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar pitched for a nutrient-rich diet and quality education for Sri Lankan children.
During his school visits in the island nation as UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador, he also teamed up with people impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the country’s worst economic crisis since its independence.
Addressing an event in Colombo, Tendulkar said he was sorry to know that many households in Sri Lanka can’t afford quality for food their children.
“When I played school matches, the tendency was if I was batting at lunchtime not to have anything to eat. I would have a couple of soft drinks and bat,” he said.
Tendulkar, who was appointed UNICEF Ambassador for South Asia in 2013 to advocate hygiene and sanitation across the region, said he had to prepare differently when the playing standards got better.
“This preparation was something I unknowingly ignored,” he said. The cricketer later learned that not having a proper lunch impacted his view.
“I got out after lunch at an important match, and the first thing I wanted to do was to eat,” he said, calling it a big lesson in nutrition.
“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.
Pointing out that measures have been taken in India to tackle child malnutrition, Tendulkar said, “Something unique has started in India, which is local therapeutic foods, ready-to-eat packages.”
On Monday (7), he visited the UNICEF programmes in the rural Sabaragamuwa province and met children and parents impacted by the pandemic and the 2022 economic crisis.
Tendulkar also visited a preschool supported by UNICEF’s midday school meal programme and served children food.
“Every child should have the right to education. It is the foundation for every child,” Tendulkar stressed.
In 2003, he was chosen to take the lead in an initiative to create awareness and promote polio prevention in India, according to UNICEF.
Later in 2008, he was roped in to promote hygiene and sanitation among communities and continues to do so over the years.
In 2019, he went on a three-day trip to Nepal to raise awareness for UNICEF Nepal’s ‘Bat for Brain Development’ campaign.
In his almost two-decade-long partnership with UNICEF, Tendulkar has been vital in furthering the campaigns, especially the ones aimed at providing a better future for underprivileged children. “Together nations can do wonders, and that is the aim of my trip here. A brilliant learning experience for me, thank you so very much, UNICEF”, he said.