The Asian Cricket Council and UNICEF have renewed their international partnership for children. The new agreement continues to promote Girls Education in South Asia and the right of all children to enjoy healthy recreation, and will also now support the Global Campaign on HIV/AIDS "Unite For Children, Unite Against AIDS".

Virender Sehwag at a
UNICEF event during the
2005 Afro-Asia Cup

UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia and the ACC first signed a two year agreement in 2004 ahead of the Asia Cup. The Asian Cricket Council represents 22 cricket boards in Asia and aims to promote and develop the sport in the region. The new partnership runs until 2008.

"UNICEF's partnership with the Asian Cricket Council is very important to us," said Cecilia Lotse, Regional Director for UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia. "Children are often overlooked in the AIDS agenda as well as in the response. There are still also too many children, particularly girls out of school and an uneducated person is more at risk from avoidable diseases including AIDS. In South Asia cricket can help get over vital messages that could save the lives of millions and improve the lives of billions."

An estimated 100,000 children are living with HIV/AIDS in South Asia. Globally AIDS is redefining the very meaning of childhood for millions. The pandemic has deprived children of the care, love and affection of their parents, taken away the chance of education and hope for the future while leaving them more vulnerable to exploitation.

The ACC Chief Executive, Syed Ashraful Huq said, "As a development body for South Asia's most popular sport, the health of the young is of paramount importance to us. Child welfare is an integral part of any successful society and we trust that Asia's success in cricket will be duplicated by the success in UNICEF's vital campaigns. We are proud to play our part in raising awareness of these important causes."

Launched in New York on October 25 2005, Unite For Children, Unite Against Aids is a global partnership campaign that is putting children back on the AIDS agenda. Its main aims are to ensure childhood treatment, protection, while working to prevent infection in young people and helping stop mother-to-child transmission.

The agreement between UNICEF and the Asian Cricket Council has led to major events promoting Girls Education in Pakistan, Bangladesh and at the Asia Cricket Cup in 2004. A full 'Meena' film promoting the right of girls to play and go to school featuring the cartoon character and school friends playing cricket against other girls has been produced by the UNICEF regional Office and is the single-most popular animated DVD in the market.

Filed June 28 2006

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