As you know, Clay visited Somalia with UNICEF earlier this month and has blogged twice about his visit there. What we didn't know until now is that after this trip, he also made a trip to Kenya. In his third and final blog, posted at UNICEF's Field Notes site, he tells us all about the education situation for the children of Kenya and what UNICEF is doing to make a difference:
UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken recently visited the East African countries of Somalia and Kenya, where UNICEF provides children with health care, education, nutrition, clean water and sanitation. This is the last in a series of blog posts he has written about his experience in the field.These blogs have been so informative and have shown us the great need in Africa for education and health improvements for the children there. If you would like to help UNICEF continue to make a difference in the lives of so many children overseas, go to UNICEF's Donation Page. Every little bit helps. Just as Clay has brought some joy and sunshine into these children's lives and put a smile on their faces(see picture above), we too can put a smile on their faces by making a donation.
In early July, after visiting Somalia, I traveled to Eldoret, in Kenya’s Rift Valley, to visit camps for internally displaced people. This is where some of the worst violence took place following the Kenya elections in early 2008. Thousands of children were made homeless by the unrest.
Everywhere we went, there were the charcoaled remains of homes, schools and shops. We drove for hours and everywhere we went, we saw people trying to get their lives restored.
Although many schools were re-opened, far fewer children are turning up for class than before. And classes are taking place in schools that have been completely destroyed. I saw children sitting on rocks and bricks—which used to make up the foundations and roofs of their schools—using them now as desks and chairs.
Fortunately, this was not the situation everywhere. In most IDP camps, UNICEF has provided classroom tents and School-in-a-Box kits, along with teaching and learning materials, and even desks and chairs.
Getting children back to school is vital for their protection, and helps build a sense of normalcy in their lives. The re-establishment of schools in the most difficult circumstances is a testament to the commitment of UNICEF and to Kenyans. Many displaced parents told UNICEF that getting their children back to school was their top priority.
Every child has the right to an education. Education transforms lives and breaks the cycle of poverty that so many children are caught in. And an educated child will make sure his or her own children receive an education too. This is just another one of the many amazing ways UNICEF is helping children today, while also building a safer Kenya tomorrow.