Toronto Raptor Jose Calderon challenging Canadian students to become UNICEF Water Champions

TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Toronto Raptors' star point guard and long time UNICEF supporter Jose Calderon is urging college and university students across Canada to become water champions by joining the UNICEF Student Challenge.

"I believe it's important to give back to children and families around the world," says Calderon. "Through UNICEF's Student Challenge young people across Canada can do just that. I encourage students to sign up, have fun and do their best to improve access to clean water for children and their communities."

Working in teams of two, students who participate in the Student Challenge will help support UNICEF's work providing safe drinking water to children and their families in more than 100 countries.

The goal is to raise as many water pumps as possible until March 22. Each pump costs $500 and provides an entire community with access to safe water.

When teams raise enough money to purchase a water pump they  receive one ballot in the official UNICEF draw to win an exclusive trip to New York City for a behind-the-scenes tour of UNICEF headquarters at the United Nations. The more pumps each team raises, the more communities they reach with safe water and the better their chances of winning the trip to New York.

"The Student Challenge provides a unique opportunity for Canadian students to help reach some of the 884 million people who lack access to safe water while getting closely involved in UNICEF's work," says UNICEF Canada's President and CEO David Morley. "We are very pleased to have Jose Calderon supporting this exciting new initiative."

Everyday more than 5,000 children under the age of five die as a result of unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene. The absence of clean water also impacts a child's access to education. Children - particularly girls - miss school because they spend hours a day carrying water home for their families.

"It's hard to believe that millions of children die every year because they don't have clean water, something we take for granted here in Canada," says Calderon. "But by supporting UNICEF's work we can change this."

Canadian post-secondary students aged 18 to 25 can learn more and join UNICEF's Student Challenge at www.unicef.ca/studentchallenge The Student Challenge ends on World Water Day, March 22 and winners will travel to New York in the spring of 2012.

About UNICEF On Campus
The UNICEF Campus Clubs Program is a unique student leadership program that provides college and university students the opportunity to learn about global development issues, particularly the needs of the world's most disadvantaged children. The program also empowers students to help make a difference in disadvantaged children's lives through fundraising and advocacy on campus. Their involvement with UNICEF provides students the opportunity to be associated with the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development agency, and to become part of the larger effort for children both here in Canada and overseas.

About UNICEF
UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, UNICEF saves children's lives and secures their rights in virtually every country. Its global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse partnerships make it an instrumental force in shaping a world in which no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race, religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca

SOURCE UNICEF Canada

For further information:

photos or to arrange interviews please contact;
Melanie Sharpe
UNICEF Canada, Media Relations Specialist
msharpe@unicef.ca
Phone: 416 482-6552 ext 8892
Cell: 416-806-2764


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