McIlroy shows safe hands to Haitians
Star makes first trip as UNICEF ambassador
Published 08/06/2011 | 05:00
HIS hands have earned him millions and yesterday international golf star Rory McIlroy used them to show Haitian children at risk from cholera a priceless skill: how hand washing can save their lives.
The golfer -- ranked seventh in the world -- is in Haiti as part of his first official field visit since he was named Unicef Ireland ambassador in March.
Rory (22), from Holywood in Co Down, has been visiting camps, schools and hospitals devastated by the earthquake in January last year, which left hundreds of thousands dead and nearly a million homeless.
He told how the children in Haiti amazed him by being so happy despite losing their homes and family members.
"Nothing could prepare me for meeting the children in Haiti and I am truly amazed by how happy they are," Rory said.
"As this was my first visit, getting to find out more about Unicef's work and meeting with Unicef staff in areas such as health, water and education has been very important.
"The everyday things that we take for granted in Ireland are so longed for in Haiti," he said.
He also visited a Unicef-supported school, where he experienced some of the work the organisation is doing to prevent cholera.
"With the rainy season starting here, I've been learning about the different ways Unicef is working to reduce the spread of cholera and protecting families living in the camps."
Unicef Ireland executive director Melanie Verwoerd said McIlroy had a phenomenal impact on his trip. "Rory is a great ambassador for our work, helping to draw attention to the ongoing plight of children and young people living in Haiti."