It’s been another unforgettable day for Fernando Alonso, here in India for the seventeenth round of the Formula 1 world championship, in his role as an ambassador to UNICEF, a position he’s held since 2005.

This morning he visited a school in Turgapur, one hour south east of New Delhi to take part in the “Handwashing Day” campaign. It is aimed at encouraging people to wash their hands using soap, in a country where over a thousand children die every day from diaorreahea caused by a lack of drinking water and basic sanitation. “It’s very important to explain the importance of this procedure, which is so straightforward for us, but often impossible in a country where many families don’t have a bathroom in the home and sometime they don’t even have a home at all,” Fernando told his very attentive audience. “It is even more important to put out this information through schools, because children are a very important part of our society and the solution is not complicated, nor does it cost much.”

Statistics show that washing one’s hands with soap at key moments, after using the toilet, or before eating and preparing food, can reduce the occurence of diaorreaha in children under five, by over forty per cent. “It’s very gratifying to be able to support initiatives that concern the health of children, but I’d be even happier if this was something available to everyone by right. As with all sports, Formula 1 wants to get close to the culture of the countries we visit, building up relationships and giving an impetus to solving problems like this one.”

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