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Alonso visits Sao Paulo children 22 Sep 2005

2005 Brazilian Grand Prix. Sao Paulo, Brazil. 21st September 2005. Fernando Alonso, Unicef visit to the favella children. World Copyright: C.Coates/LAT Photographic.

After arriving in Brazil for this weekend’s race, Fernando Alonso took time to visit the Monte Azul Community Association (ACOMA), a UNICEF-sponsored project in the centre of Sao Paulo.

Alonso, an Ambassador for the United Nations agency UNICEF’s Spanish Committee since February 2005, spent time with the children of Monte Azul on Thursday to learn about the organisation's work and to meet some of his youngest and most enthusiastic fans.

"It is a privilege for me to be able to come here with an organisation like UNICEF, and to be able to use the famous name I have now to see projects like this and to bring them some more attention and recognition," commented the Spaniard.

ACOMA has been providing care and education for children from Sao Paulo’s shanty towns, or favelas, for the last 30 years. In all, nearly 1000 children participate in the association's activities, allowing them and their families to build a solid community, and providing them with the firm social and educational start their circumstances would otherwise deny them.

"I loved meeting the children today,” added Alonso. “For me, they were the biggest surprise, because when we come to somewhere like Monte Azul, we think that they have very little in terms of money or possessions. But all the children are just so happy - they play, and laugh, and smile, and they don't see any of the things that we think they are missing. That is what really struck me today, projects like Monte Azul are making a difference to their lives and giving them the happiness that really matters."

ACOMA is actively supported by UNICEF as part of its ‘Beloved Child' project.