Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Clay Aiken has posted his last Field Notes Blog at the UNICEF website. After his trip to Somalia, he visited Kenya to observe the education program in Kenya's Rift Valley.


Clay Aiken calls for Kenya's kids to return to school

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.

© US Fund for UNICEF / 2008 / Nick Ysenburg

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.

© US Fund for UNICEF / 2008 / Nick Ysenburg

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.

© US Fund for UNICEF / 2008 / Nick Ysenburg

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.

To learn more about UNICEF's education program, visit UNICEFUSA

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At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the pictures here, they are a beautiful example of the kind of difference one person can make in the world. In this case, Clay Aiken has shown himself to be a true humanitarian. But, all of us are capable of leaving a positive mark on the world in our lifetime, even if it only involves doing one thing for one other person, Clay is an inspiration in that regard.

The UNICEF photo of children sitting in in bright sunlight in the shell of a building used as a school, on huge rocks for seats is such a message of hope for the world about hunger for the change in their lives that education can bring. Thank you for posting that here. The world should see that picture.


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