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Mats Hummels raises awareness for children as UNICEF ambassador

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UNICEF shared details of the star’s stirring trip to Malawi to support an RTL fundraising drive for children.

COLOGNE, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 14: Mats Hummels of Germany looks on prior the International friendly match between Germany and France at RheinEnergieStadion on November 14, 2017 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)
Mats Hummels in Cologne, November 14, 2017.
Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

As the USA celebrates Thanksgiving, Mats Hummels would like you to remember children in need.

Hummels visited the impoverished nation of Malawi for the first time as UNICEF ambassador this past May. Now UNICEF is sharing the story of his experiences in Malawi (in German) to support a charity fundraising drive by the German broadcaster RTL.

My first trip with @UNICEFgermany - the children in Malawi really made an impression on me. Urgent help is needed there! You can learn more about it from the RTL #Spendenmarathon today. How many of you are with me? Every donation counts. https://www.unicef.de/informieren/aktuelles/blog/2017/mats-hummels-in-malawi/153966

The big-hearted center-back spent time with two little girls. Regina, 10, lives alone with her grandmother and dreams of becoming a teacher, but had to leave school in first grade when her mother died. Hummels helped her carry a 15kg bucket of water the long trek from the well to her home. The effort surprised him:

Just fetching water in this heat was a workout for me as a competitive athlete. It’s crazy what Regina has to do every day. She simply has none of the things that we take for granted.

Hummels also spent time with Esther, aged 12. Esther is in fifth grade and highly motivated, but her school meets outside under trees and has a single public latrine (basically an enclosed ditch) for over a thousand students. Wandering too far into the bush to use the bathroom can be dangerous - especially for little girls.

Hummels described their need for proper facilities:

The students here urgently need sensible rooms and hygienic conditions so they can learn and stay healthy. We want other kids to grow up just as we did as children.

Visiting with Regina and Esther and seeing at first hand the extreme conditions in which they lived and went to school (or wished they could go) was a deeply moving experience for Hummels. He summarized his feelings,

When you’re on site and get to know the people, you see some things from a different perspective. For me personally, it’s become clear just how much these children quite simply need support. Every donation that flows into such education projects in Malawi not only helps these children immensely. It is also an investment in the future of the entire region!

In addition to his involvement with UNICEF and RTL’s Spendenmarathon, Hummels was also among the first professional soccer players to join Juan Mata’s Common Goal project, in which players pledge a minimum of 1% of their wages toward a common fund used for charity. Prominent participants include Julian Nagelsmann, Serge Gnabry, Shinji Kagawa, and others.

RTL’s Spendenmarathon runs November 23-24. Former Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos is also participating on behalf of sick children. UNICEF accepts donations at all times.