Belfast Telegraph

Beckham bonds with abused kids

David Beckham took time out from football to share his experiences and listen to Filipino children struggling to rebuild their broken lives.

"It's so important to have a dream," Beckham told the former street children at a Unicef-supported shelter in a suburb of Manila, the Philippine capital, where he and his team-mates from the Los Angeles Galaxy are playing an exhibition against the country's national team this weekend.

On the sidelines of the Galaxy's Manila trip, Beckham, who is a Unicef goodwill ambassador, visited the shelter for children who have been rescued from the streets.

They shared tales of domestic abuse and crime - some fell victim to drugs or were abandoned by their parents.

Wearing a black Unicef T-shirt, the 36-year-old former England captain listened intently in a private conversation with a group of five children and told them how he started playing when he was seven and eventually achieved his dream of playing for Manchester United.

Beckham told the Unicef staff it was incredible that the children had gone through "so much in such a short space of time in their young lives" and learned responsibility and respect.

He said he was lucky to have had the support of both his parents and it was "so sad to see so many children that don't have that support, don't have that love".

Beckham posed with the children for a picture wearing a blue graduation gown and cap made at the sewing room, where he also tried his hand at making a pillow case.

"What struck me the most about coming into the centre was it was a real happy place, a real inspiring place," he said. "They are teaching kids unbelievable values. Every child I spoke to today - they all have dreams, they all have inspirations."

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