Manchester United was the first football club to develop an active partnership between Unicef and the world of football. United for Unicef was launched in 1999 and is the longest running collaboration between a Premiership football club and a global children's organisation. To date, the club has raised over £4 million helping millions of children worldwide.
Manchester United's partnership with Unicef under the ‘United for Unicef' brand is managed by Manchester United Foundation.
Money currently being raised by United for Unicef is going towards helping young people in Thailand and over the past few years the partnership has raised vital funds for vulnerable children in Vietnam and Bangladesh.
Unicef's vital work in Thailand is currently supporting education programmes for children with limited or no access to schooling. In Thailand, 25% of children do not start school; the quality of education is poor and those who do complete their schooling often leave lacking the skills needed to secure employment.
Children who remain out of school are the most marginalised, disadvantaged and have the poorest life chances, but an empowering education can break the poverty cycle. With access to quality education, every child can reap the benefits of a better, more peaceful life for themselves and their communities, with less poverty, better health and an increased ability to take their future into their own hands.
In this disaster-prone country, a child dies from drowning every 29 minutes; that's 50 children per day, 18,000 per year – making it the leading cause of death amongst young children. Using money raised from the partnership, young people from the community will be trained to become swimming teachers, whilst working to raise awareness of the importance of safe swimming and being trained in basic survival and first aid skills.
There are currently an estimated 23.6 million children living in Vietnam and more than 20% of them are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and neglect. The funding will be used to support children who are orphans, those who have been involved in child labour or trafficking, and others who live on the streets or suffer from drug abuse. In addition, the partnership will:
- Train 160 social welfare managers to identify children at risk
- Train 400 community based social workers on child protection
- Support the Vietnamese government in developing a national child protection system
- Use activities including football to engage with marginalised children and ensure they are getting the support they need.
United for Unicef Gala Dinner
The annual United for Unicef Gala Dinner, held at Old Trafford, and attended by all the first team players, is a highlight in the partnership calendar.