"I'm proud to tell them what I'm doing, and I think it makes them proud as well," says the UNICEF goodwill ambassador

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Credit: Ian Gavan/Getty

David Beckham‘s unique new initiative with the international children’s charity UNICEF is going to be a family affair.

Marking the soccer legend’s 10th year as a Goodwill Ambassador for the charity, Beckham, 39, launched 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund in London on Monday morning.

The new fund will raise funds and awareness for vulnerable children by focusing on seven different countries and seven different initiatives. The launch is named in honor of Beckham’s lucky number on his football shirts as well as for his and wife Victoria Beckham‘s daughter Harper Beckham, whose middle name is Seven.

Having already traveled with the charity to Sierra Leone, South Africa, Thailand and most recently the Philippines – where he helped raise much-needed money for children affected by Typhoon Haiyan – the retired athlete knows just how valuable celebrity can be in such situations.

“My 22-year career in football has opened doors,” he said. “I can go to certain countries and ask to meet the prime minister – they might not want to meet me, but their children might.”

Talking about his recent trip to the Philippines, just two-and-a-half months after the devastating natural disaster, he said emotionally: “It was so raw. The grief was horrendous, the hurt and the pain were devastating, but being there, being able to help, putting a smile on a child’s face, bringing positivity, that’s important.”

Equally important is getting his children involved. “Brooklyn only said to me on the school run this morning, ‘I want to go on a trip, when can I go?’ So they understand and respect it,” he said.

With a smile, he added, “I’m proud to tell them what I’m doing, and I think it makes them proud as well.”

As said by UNICEF’s U.K. executive director, David Ball, regarding Beckham’s most-welcome involvement, “When he speaks, the world listens.”