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Roger Praises Progress in Tsunami-Affected District of India

23.12.2006 | Off Court

On his first official field trip as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Roger today met with tsunami-affected children in Tamil Nadu in southern India.


The December 2004 tsunami took the lives of over 200,000 people, with India accounting for 18,000 dead or missing.  One-third of the victims were children. Tamil Nadu was the hardest hit state, with 8,000 dead, 351 severely-damaged child care centers and 186 destroyed schools. Three days before the second anniversary of the tsunami, Roger visited UNICEF's recovery and rehabilitation programmes in Cuddalore, one of the worst affected districts of Tamil Nadu.


"It's amazing to see how young people are using the rebuilding process as an opportunity to improve their lives and strengthen their community," said Roger. "The way these children are bouncing back from even the toughest tragedy is a testament to their resiliency."


In Cuddalore, Roger met with children who have chairs and tables at school for the first time. Across the tsunami-hit districts of Tamil Nadu UNICEF has provided 330 schools with furniture and learning materials, which benefit around 140,000 children and 3,500 teachers. The improvements in their school include programmes to learn through participation rather than by rote and the use of puppet theatre to help them cope with post-tsunami trauma. Roger also met with UNICEF- trained early child care workers at one of the 351 restored government centres where pre-school children are able to get essential health care, nutrition supplements and informal early education. .


Along with District Collector Mr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Roger visited the Cuddalore Orphanage. UNICEF has helped to establish a tracking system to monitor around 2,000 children in Tamil Nadu who lost one or both parents in the tsunami, including those in the orphanage. As part of the tsunami psycho social support programme more than 114,000 children have been reached through counseling, art, puppetry and children's theatre.


"Many of the programmes we set up in the tsunami hit communities, such as education programmes and child protection interventions, will now serve as a model for the rest of the state to follow," said Thomas George, UNICEF State Representative, Tamil Nadu. "Our focus has been to improve equity to services and to truly build back better for the children of Tamil Nadu."


Roger’s day ended by meeting with teenagers who are learning about HIV through a life-skills programme that is giving them the practical information they need to make responsible decisions and spread awareness about the disease.


"It's great to see the young people so full of life and spirit. Despite what happened to their community, they have really managed to turn things around," said Roger.


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27.12.2006 | 12:48
Kudos. You brought the best Christmas present to these children. Yourself. :)
Bless you, Champ!

lg von Bern,
Eva (Mrs. B)
27.12.2006 | 07:07
Roger, that is really amazing, you are great man and that is most important...
27.12.2006 | 06:34
You are truly the best ambassador for tennis and a true hero to us all.
27.12.2006 | 00:57
Roger you're a fantastic person, in the court of tennis but expecially out the court,in the real life! you always shows that the popularity can be a beautiful thing, if used like you! We're all proud of you...Come on Roger!!!
26.12.2006 | 17:50
Hey roger happy zat u are helping poor children but if u can also help mauritians children bcoz we are in great problem
26.12.2006 | 15:58
Dearest Roger,

Congratulations on winning the United States Sports Academy's "Outstanding Athlete of the Year Award"!

I would love to know how many votes you got. Your friend Tiger won the "Male Athlete of the Year Award"! You are however in a class
26.12.2006 | 14:05
Dear Roger,
Nice to read about your visit to India and see some pictures with children smiling. It is difficult to imagine and understand what kind of hardships people go through, especially when these calamities arise from something we can not control.
26.12.2006 | 07:52
Proud to idolize you.
Thanks for coming to India in this Xmas time where all other so called champions are sitting home relaxing.
U know that .. You are special .
26.12.2006 | 06:53
Roger, my respect for you has grown more than ever.... Children love you for what u did..
Thannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnkkkkkkk you.
25.12.2006 | 20:06
Dear Roger and Mirka, it is really so nice of you to take time off from your rest and visit, the people who really need so much help. You are not only the greatest tennis player of all time, you are the most caring athlete of all time. God will bless you