Thursday, July 3, 2008
UNICEF Ambassador, Clay Aiken, says organization is making a difference in Somalia despite difficult circumstances
American entertainer visits north-west Somalia and urges the world to remember Somali children
Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday 1 July 2008 – A five-day visit to north-west Somalia (the self-declared republic of ‘Somaliland’) has UNICEF Ambassador, Clay Aiken, moved by the work that UNICEF is doing under challenging circumstances. ‘In a country that’s better known for conflict, insecurity, drought and floods, it’s truly remarkable that UNICEF is still able to make a difference to the health, education and well-being of Somali children’ said Aiken.
The ambassador traveled to Hargeisa, Gabiley and Boroma to see first-hand, UNICEF-supported projects to promote child health, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, primary education, child protection and girls’ empowerment.
Somalia is a country in which less than 25% of the population has access to basic health services, less than 30% attend primary school and only 29% have access to a safe water source. It's also a place where 98% of girls are circumcised and has amongst the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
Playing basketball with girls in the enclosed facility of the Somaliland Cultural and Sports Association (SOCSA), Aiken saw the opportunity given to females by the UNICEF-supported organization. ‘Here, girls are able to learn about leadership and health, acquire life-skills and play sports within a safe environment. Even the youngest girls that I’ve met at SOCSA, impressed me with how confident and articulate they are as a result of this project.’
At a camp for 1500 internally displaced families in Hargeisa, Aiken met 11 year old Abduraman, who helps to support his five siblings and blind mother by working each morning to collect stones. He uses his earnings to pay for school which he attends in the afternoon. ‘Somalia has some of the lowest enrollment rates in the world, but every child has the right to an education. UNICEF is working to help ensure that even working children get to go to school.’ UNICEF has also provided the camp with child protection monitors, teacher-training and school materials.
In Boroma, Aiken saw how the town’s water system is functioning thanks to UNICEF support. Under a public/private partnership, the system provides clean water to 95% of the town’s population including schools and hospitals. Aiken also visited maternal and child health clinics to see nutritional feeding and immunization activities along with projects supporting children with disabilities, the eradication of female genital mutilation/cutting and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
‘Now that I have seen Somalia for myself, I feel it is important for the American public to remember that the Somali people have the same dreams for their children that we do. Somali families still want the best for their children and people really want to help bring about change. Though the situation in Somaliland is less dangerous for children than in the south, the country is one of the most desperate in the world. The country has been without a functioning government for almost twenty years. Fortunately, UNICEF has always been there and continues to provide the support needed to make a difference. No other organization is more capable of making such a difference than UNICEF."
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information, please contact:
Denise Shepherd-Johnson, Chief, Communication, UNICEF Somalia, Tel: +254 20 762-3958; Mob: +254 722 919 867; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marissa Buckanoff, Director, Public Relations, United States Fund for UNICEF, Tel: +1 212 922 2485; E-mail:MBuckanoff@unicefusa.org
Posted by annie at 8:18 PM
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Hi Everyone...Here are a few wallpapers, that were created by my dear friend Alice, better known by her Myspace friends as Aylse. She is a very talented lady...she makes it look so easy...but like she says, "When you have a subject like Clay, you can't go wrong!" Please Enjoy!!!
Posted by annie at 11:52 PM
Friday, June 6, 2008
The first time I heard about the "Clay Aiken Baby" news, I saw it on Extra at 1:00 a.m. My mouth fell open and nothing but, OMGosh came out. Did I believe it at the time? NO! Do I believe it now? No! Will I support Clay if in fact it's true? Yes!
What has Clay given me over the past 3 years? (keep in mind, I was a late bloomer when it came to Clay). Lots of love, & happinest everytime I heard that angelic voice, saw that adorable smile & heard that contageous laugh. So why should I not support him during this time?
Since this news came out, I went back and listened to my CDs of, "Learning to Sing", and again, it brought me to tears. No child deserves the pain he went through. I've always thought that his life was so much like my 7 year old grandson's life. He had a father like Vern, whom my daughter left when my grandson was around 3 1/2 years old. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, (Clay that is), he rose above it all and became the loving, caring person he is today. I only pray my little boy can do the same.
As of two days ago, I've stopped reading the boards. I have not once gone to the fan boards because that would only depress me. How can you love someone for so many years, and then read all this crap then turn your back on them...when you don't even know if the crap you read was true of false?
Clay is intitled to live his life as he pleases. In my opinon...as is his true fans...I honestly don't see Clay making such a decision. I see Clay finding the right girl, falling in love, getting married and then starting his family. If, however, he decided to do something like this for a friend...then so be it. If he thought about this decision carefully and still felt good about it, then I can and will respect him for it. I may not agree, but I will support him.
I feel that we, (as fans), tend to put celebrities very high on pedestals. What we fail to remember is that they are just as human as we are, and can any of the fans who have turned on Clay stand there before us and our God and say they are perfect in every way? NO! I can't even say that about myself. Clay eats like us, dresses himself like us, he even uses the bathroom like us. So why do we get so upset if he makes a wrong decision, or does something we don't approve of. What business is it of anyone out there to judge him for the things he does....and what terrible things has he ever done in his life. If he changes his hair color, we judge. If he puts on a little weight, we judge. STOP JUDGING, and enjoy all that Clay has given to us. Beautiful music and a God given gift, his voice. A warm and genuine personality. The ablitiy to laugh at ourselves. Wonderful concerts, and the one thing we have all forgotten is that because of this one man, we as Claymates have become great friends. I truly treasure all the friends I have made on Myspace, and at concerts.
When Clay feels the time is right to go public and address this issue, he will do it openly and honestly because that is the kind of person he is. Not that he OWES us that, but because he loves us and because HE wants us to know the truth. Then and only then will I believe this rumor to be true.
Please feel free to comment on this blog. I'm very interested to know how other fans truly feel and why!
Posted by annie at 1:00 PM
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I've had only one Clay Dream, which was a long time ago....but last night I had another one. In this dream he was so sweet, even though I was a complete idiot! I had to hurry up and tell ya'll while it was fresh in my mind.
In my dream, my mother and I, (woman has been dead for like eleven years now), went to NY to see Clay in Spamalot. After the show, I wanted to hurry up and get to the stage door to get Clay's autograph, but my mom couldn't move that fast...so we sort of lagged behind in the theater. I'm waiting for her to catch her breath so we can leave, (she had asthma and did everything slow), and I look up and there is Clay walking back into the theater with Jerome. Clay and Jerome walk over to see if everything is alright.
I couldn't resist and I tell Clay how much we enjoyed the show. He leans over and gives me a BIG hug. He looks like he has something on his mind, a little sad. I asked him, "Clay, is everything alright? You look upset."
He says, "I just found out that a little boy died during the show."
I felt so bad for him, so I said, "Oh Clay, I'm so sorry. Is the little boy alright?"
Clay looks up at me completely confused, takes my hand and says, "Darling, the little boy died."
I'm extremely embarrassed, and feeling really stupid. My face turns beet red. I thinking to myself....YOU IDIOT, WHAT A DUMB THING TO SAY. Of course we all know that meeting Clay, can cause temporary brain damage, so I look at Clay and say, "I'm so sorry, I guess I had a moment."
Clay takes my hand and smiles at me. Then he gives me another BIG hug and whispers in my ear, "That's alright darling, I have those moment too." Then he takes my Playbill and my mother's Playbill and signs them. Give us a wink and leaves. I totally melt in my seat and it takes us another thirty minutes to leave. LOL
Now let me explain what a moment is. My daughter Sara, my middle child, sometimes or should I say most of the time, will say something before thinking. Either the statement makes no sense or she says the words wrong. We call it a "Sara Moment". So whenever any of us do that, someone shouts out, "Sara Moment."
Strange dream...but wasn't he sweet about my stupidity?
Posted by annie at 10:15 AM