Friday, February 26, 2010

Olympic Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser appointed as UNICEF Ja's Goodwill Ambassador

UNICEF Jamaica today named 23-year-old Shelly-Ann Fraser, one of the nation’s most accomplished female athletes and a passionate defender of children’s rights, as a National Goodwill Ambassador.

Ms. Fraser, OD, Olympic Gold Medalist, reigning World Champion and National Record Holder in the 100 metres is the first person to hold the title since UNICEF was established in Jamaica in 1977. Ms. Fraser’s association with UNICEF Jamaica began in 2009, leading to her first public engagement as Special Guest Speaker at the launch of a study on child poverty held late last year.

UNICEF Jamaica Representative Robert Fuderich made the announcement at the Acropolis Restaurant on Monday evening at a Track All-Stars dinner, a fundraising event conceptualized by Ms. Fraser. All proceeds from the fundraiser are being donated to UNICEF for relief efforts in Haiti following the country’s catastrophic earthquake last month.

“Shelly-Ann Fraser is a natural fit for UNICEF,” said Mr. Fuderich. “To begin with, she cares deeply about the welfare of Jamaican children. She is a role model for scores of children who are inspired by the way she’s risen against the odds. And she brings the same passion and enthusiasm for her athletic career off the track to address issues affecting children.”

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors are well-known and highly respected personalities who promote children’s rights and mobilize support for the work of UNICEF and its partners.

Mr. Fuderich explained that Ms. Fraser’s work as a National Goodwill Ambassador will focus primarily on education and early childhood development, given both her interest and studies in these areas. Noting that she is currently studying for a BSc. in Child and Adolescent Developmental Studies at the University of Technology, Mr. Fuderich commended Ms. Fraser for being the first member of her family to pursue tertiary education.

In accepting the appointment, Ms. Fraser said, “Growing up, I had dreams that I thought were out of my reach, dreams of going to the Olympics and to University. Through my work with UNICEF, I want to help Jamaican children realize their dreams. I want to help them understand that they have rights and that those rights should be protected. I want them to believe that nothing is impossible.”

Shelly-Ann Fraser sprinted her way into global renown with record-setting performances in recent years. In 2008, she was the first Jamaican female to win an Olympic gold in the 100m, and went on to win first place in the Berlin World Championships 100m.