German Formula 1 Champion Michael Schumacher was designated as UNESCO Champion for Sport in April 2002 "in recognition of his role in the promotion of sport, his contribution to UNESCO's educational action in favour of young people all over the world, and his dedication to the Organization's ideals".
Michael Schumacher was born on 3 January 1969 in Hürth-Hermühlheim, near Cologne and drove his fist kart at the age of five. In 1984, a year after he received his German kart license, he promptly became German Junior Champion, which marked the beginning of his steep career. At the end of 1988, the talented pilot was introduced to the world of Formula races. After his Formula 1 debut at the Belgian Grand Prix of Spa-Francorchamps in 1991, there was no stopping him anymore. Today Michael Schumacher is the only F1 pilot to hold seven World Championship titles.
From the moment that Michael Schumacher’s career got seriously launched, he felt the need to help children. He came into contact with UNESCO through Mrs. Ute-Henriette Ohoven, who is UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Education of Children in Need. The German pilot was especially delighted by the general idea of UNESCO and in consequence made a generous contribution for projects in Senegal, Sarajevo and Peru.
In 1996 a school was built in Dakar and important improvements were made in the slums of “Baraka”, all thanks to the donations of Michael Schumacher. In Sarajevo a hospital was built to help children in this war torn area. Michael Schumacher even went to the city to assess the psychological and physical problems that children daily have to face. In Peru the donation of the Formula 1 pilot was used to build a house for the poor in Lima, which provides among other things food and medical care for the deprived.
Up to the present Michael Schumacher continues to lend his support to UNESCO sponsored projects and activities. Michael Schumacher has chosen to help children and young people in order to give them as many opportunities as possible to safeguard their future. The famous Formula One pilot considers sports as very important, since participation in sports gives children “an aim, a chance to respond to challenges, to win, to achieve something.”