David Beckham has handed temporary control of his Instagram account to a doctor in war-torn Ukraine in a bid to highlight the challenging working conditions there.
In the hours following Sunday’s announcement by the soccer legend and UNICEF ambassador, Beckham’s Instagram Stories filled with footage and photos showing Iryna — head of a perinatal center and a child anesthesiologist in the city of Kharkiv in the east of the country — going about her work in the toughest of circumstances.
Beckham’s 71.5 million Instagram followers learned that since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month, Iryna and many like her have been working around the clock to care for mothers and their newborns while under the constant threat of attack from Russian forces.
“The first few days were the most difficult,” Iryna says in one of the Stories, “as we had to deal with bombings and strikes.”
Iryna notes that UNICEF has been delivering vital supplies to Ukraine for many years and in that time has built an efficient logistics network, though the strength of that network is now being severely tested by the current conditions.
“We are probably risking our lives, but we don’t think about it at all. We love our work,” Iryna says in one of the Stories,” adding, “Huge thank you to the whole world, for the support.”
Former England international Beckham has been a UNICEF goodwill ambassador for the last 17 years, and in 2015 launched 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund aimed at helping vulnerable children reach their true potential.
“I’m handing over my social media to Iryna, the Head of the Regional Perinatal Centre in Kharkiv, Ukraine,” the former LA Galaxy player and current co-owner of Inter Miami CF said in a video posted on his Instagram account on Sunday. “There, she is working with pregnant mothers to help them give birth safely.”
Beckham added: “Thanks to your donations, the oxygen generators they have received are helping newborns survive in appalling conditions. Head over to my Stories to learn more about the amazing work that Iryna and health workers like her are doing to save lives. Please continue to support these incredible people and charities like UNICEF in any way that you can. Together we can really make a difference.”