Clay's second field notes blog has been posted at UNICEF's Field Notes site. In addition, there are two wonderful pictures of Clay and the Somalian children (see above). What strikes me in each of these pictures is one of the most joyful and shining smiles I've ever seen on Clay, as well as on the children. Its as though none of them have ever enjoyed such a moment as much as this one. This is the kind of photo that pulls at your heartstrings...a "kodak moment" of enormous proportions!
While Clay's blog emphasizes the seriousness of the children's situation in Somolia, he also sings UNICEF's praises for all they have done there. Read what Clay has to say in his blog:
Somalia: Keep spreading the wordIts exciting to know that $50,000 has already been donated by Clay's fans and others. But more is needed to be able to continue to improve their education, health, and overall situation. If you'd like to donate, go to UNICEF's donation page. Your donation will make a difference, and just might put a smile on your face as big as the smiles in the pictures posted above!
UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken recently returned from Somalia, where UNICEF provides children in the war-torn nation with health care, education, nutrition, clean water and sanitation. This is the second in a series of blog posts he will write about his experience in the field.
For children in Somalia, the situation is dire. But, it's just amazing to me that UNICEF is still able to make a difference in children’s lives in one of the most dangerous places on earth.
For instance, while I was in northwest Somalia—where 45 percent of the population are children and women—I observed how UNICEF improves water, sanitation and hygiene conditions for everyone in the region. One of the ways they do this is by drilling "borewells" so that clean drinking water is easily accessible and readily available. Without these borewells, children would have to walk hours to fetch water instead of going to school and getting an education.
I also visited health clinics where women waited patiently in long lines to get insecticide treated bed nets to prevent malaria. With an estimated 700,000 cases annually, malaria is a major public health problem in Somalia. One bed nets used to cost a Somali family about $4—an enormous sum in one of the poorest countries of the world. But UNICEF now provides them for free.
UNICEF also provides much needed support to the education system in Somalia with teacher training and the funding of school supplies. Every child I met wanted to be in school. And because of UNICEF, these children—who would probably never have had any type of education—can go to school and learn in a safe, clean environment.
Educating children is much easier when teachers are trained and school facilities exist. And, providing healthcare is more easily done when aid workers do not have to worry about their security. I applaud UNICEF for doing whatever it takes to make sure children get the healthcare and education they deserve, even in Somalia.
And, I applaud you too. Since my previous blog post, you have donated over $50,000 for children Somalia. On behalf of these children, I can't thank you enough. But I also challenge you to not stop now... encourage your friends and family as well. Ask them to learn more about UNICEF's work in Somalia and around the world, and cheer them on to help out too!
Tags:Clay Aiken education field visit health care hygiene malaria sanitation school School-in-a-Box Somalia water
Posted by Clay Aiken, UNICEF Ambassador on July 15, 2008 5:45 PM | Permalink