YANGON, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Jackie Chan, famous film star and charity devotee, said on Saturday that the children represent the future and the whole community should extend loving care to them and attach importance to child education to help them grow up healthy and sound.
Chan made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Xinhua at the Sedona Hotel in Yangon before he concluded his three-day tour to Myanmar in his capacity of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador on a mission of combatting child trafficking on July 5-7.
He arrived in the second largest city of Mandalay on Thursday, where he visited schools, vocational training centers and orphanage, before traveling to Yangon on Saturday.
Chan told Xinhua that he has been involved in charity work for the last 30 years and the work, which focused on school-less, disabled and drifting children in the past, is now expanding.
He said for the past eight years since becoming a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, he traveled to many parts of the world including trips made on his own arrangement, citing Myanmar, and the next trip may be to Afghanistan, preferably war-struck areas.
He said he will advocate for peace, telling the world that " Friends can be chosen but neighbors cannot."
He recalled the experience when he mingled with some Myanmar children.
"I introduced my own experience to them, encouraging them to receive education to protect themselves from being misled or cheated," Chan said.
During his trip, Chan received an overwhelming welcome and was greeted by excited children and hundreds of fans wherever he went.
Jackie Chan has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2004, using his prestige as a means of promoting humanitarian cause for the most disadvantaged children.
While Chan is a strong and dedicated advocate of child rights and welfare who, teenagers here say is a source of inspiration, Chan said he was inspired and deeply impressed by hundreds of young trafficking survivors for their optimism and determination to build a better life.
"The stories these children shared with me showed me once again that we need to do a better job protecting children, especially against the horrific crimes of trafficking," Jackie told a press briefing here before he wrapped up his Myanmar visit, citing 12- year-old boy, Zaw, who was trafficked to Malaysia to work as a beggar, and a girl, Mimi, who was sold by traffickers twice when she was 10 and again at 17.
He also called on the media to step up in exposing trafficking, while stressing the importance of education and border control to prevent child trafficking.
"We should provide more space for children to play, go and study while parents are away," he told the press.
SOURCE: SHANGHAI DAILY