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Port Talbot actor Michael Sheen sees Soccer Aid funding helping UNICEF in Africa

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 05, 2013

Soccer Aid captain and actor Michael Sheen with mother Harida Abda Raman and her daughter Aisha Ahmet, who is being treated for malnutrition at the in-patient hospital, supported by Unicef

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HOLLYWOOD actor Michael Sheen has been bringing a smile to the faces of African children in need of help.

The 43-year-old Port Talbot star made a special visit to Chad in West Africa to see how the £4.9 million, raised by ITV's Soccer Aid, is helping the charity Unicef to change lives.

Michael, who was the captain of the Rest of the World team in the football fundraiser, had the chance to find out more about the work by the leading children's organisation.

The cash raised was matched pound for pound by the UK Government.

Michael, who has films including Frost/Nixon and The Queen to his credit, said lives of malnourished children were being transformed by the cash donated by people from right across the UK.

He said: "The work being done in Chad is truly remarkable.

"Families need urgent help and support there, and Soccer Aid donations and the pound for pound UK Government Aid Match are helping Unicef To provide this. "It was a privilege to see how children's lives are being truly changed."

He made a visit to a series of hospitals and health centres across Chad, which are being helped by Soccer Aid and UK Government funding, where youngsters are offered key treatment for malnutrition and health complications.

One of the children he met was two-year-old Halime Seid, who due to funding from the British public had been given life-saving care and medicine for severe malnutrition.

The fundraising Soccer Aid 2012 match was held in front of a packed Old Trafford on May 27 last year and was broadcast live on ITV.

It featured a host of celebrities along with football legends teaming up for a fourth time to play a top match, while helping to raise vital funds for Unicef.

Michael said while he was on the eight-hour journey from the capital of Chad to the centre of Guera that he really had the chance to see for himself the fascinating country along with the challenges it faced.

He added: "It wasn't just the information given to me by Unicef staff that taught me about the harsh reality of what children here face on a daily basis; it was what I could see with my own eyes — signs of the recent end of 30 years of conflict and of course, the food crisis."

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