NEW YORK (February 23, 2013) – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira and FC Barcelona soccer star Gerard Piqué today thanked hundreds of thousands of fans for taking part in their interactive World Baby Shower and buying lifesaving items for vulnerable children in support of UNICEF’s work around the world.
"We are thrilled by the generosity that has been shown by the visitors to our World Baby Shower site,” said Shakira, who in January gave birth to the couple's first child, Milan. “Thanks to you, over 80,000 children will be protected from polio, almost 200,000 oral rehydration salts sachets will be distributed in times of need, the 3.8 tons of therapeutic food collected will save many children from severe acute malnutrition, among other lifesaving tools that were purchased to protect babies and children."
Polio is a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease that often leaves children crippled, while the oral rehydration salts are a simple cost-effective way to treat diarrhea, the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five.
When Shakira and Gerard became new parents last month, they shared the moment by using innovative social media tools to host an online baby shower with UNICEF from January 16 to February 15. This unique event engaged fans by welcoming them into the virtual living room of Shakira and Gerard. There, guests learned about the many challenges facing children in developing countries and were able to purchase UNICEF Inspired Gifts to help give babies around the world a healthy start in life.
“This virtual baby shower has been truly innovative and was only possible in a digital world where fans could not just follow, but become a real part of the couple’s philanthropic initiative,” said Sarah Crowe, UNICEF Spokesperson for the Executive Director. “We are indeed grateful for the generosity—in spirit and in kind—of Shakira and Gerard and their fans.”
The many fans who visited the site also bought more 1,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets to protect children from malaria. Every 60 seconds, a child in Africa dies from malaria. The bed nets can greatly reduce malaria transmissions by creating a protective barrier against deadly malaria-carrying mosquitoes that bite at night.
In addition, the generous donations included the purchase of more 150 portable scales to weigh babies and toddlers to help early detection of malnutrition and illness. One of the best ways to make sure malnutrition and illness are diagnosed early in very young children is to monitor their weight. The earlier the diagnosis the better chance the child has of survival.
UNICEF will now begin to distribute these real, lifesaving and life-changing items to children and communities in some of the poorest corners of the globe.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when ZERO children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.