David Beckham in Djibouti: Life-saving vaccines and football
As part of David Beckham’s epic trip across all seven continents for the BBC documentary For the Love of the Game, he met refugee children in Djibouti who had fled conflict in their home countries. Located in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti is one of the smallest and most arid countries on the planet and one of the toughest places to be a child.
Around 7% of children in Djibouti do not live to see their fifth birthday, largely as a result of preventable diseases and malnutrition. This is a terrible loss for families and communities and has a long-term impact on the country’s future development. Thousands of children have also fled violence and conflict in neighbouring countries and are now living in refugee camps.
David visited the Ali Addeh refugee camp in the south of Djibouti, which is home to over 10,000 refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.
One of the refugees David met was Isaac Ali, 60, who fled Somalia in 1991 when the civil war broke out – the same year that David became a professional footballer. Isaac previously played professional football for the Somali national team and since arriving at the camp has become a coach to many of the young players.
Isaac introduced David to his family, including his great-niece Nafissa, who is 15 months old, and great-nephew Faycal, 3. On the day David visited the camp, both Nafissa and Faycal along with hundreds of other children at the camp were given life-saving polio vaccinations, which will help ensure they grow up healthy and strong.
With the support of David Beckham’s 7 Fund, Unicef is providing life-saving vaccines to children, including child refugees, in Djibouti, protecting them from preventable diseases such as measles and polio.
Watch For the Love of the Game on BBC iPlayer
UK viewers can watch For the Love of the Game on BBC iPlayer until 27 January 2016.