The article is a Press Release from UNICEF, so it deserves to be quoted in full.
UNICEF Ambassador Hayley Westenra To Visit Ghana
Friday, 19 September 2008, 2:34 pm Press Release: UNICEF
UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund) Media Release
UNICEF Ambassador Hayley Westenra to visit Ghana
Wellington, 19 September 2008. – UNICEF Ambassador Hayley Westenra will visit Ghana next week to see for herself the needs of some of the poorest children for safe water and education.
Hayley Westenra – who is UNICEF’s youngest ever Goodwill Ambassador and an internationally renowned New Zealand singer – will undertake a four-day programme in Ghana 23-26 September.
In rural Northern Ghana, Hayley will see firsthand the impact on children of drinking water infected with Guinea Worm. Once the water-borne parasites get into children’s bodies they can grow up to a metre in length and create painful swelling and blisters.
“Apart from the terrible pain and health effects involved, children’s normal lives are disrupted and their studies inevitably suffer,” says Hayley.
“I will be very interested to speak to young child victims of Guinea Worm and to be briefed about UNICEF plans to provide safe drinking water to pre-schools in one of the worst-affected areas.”
Hayley will also interact with children on water and hygiene education issues during visits to a number of kindergartens, as well as observing classes in action. UNICEF NZ support has helped boost the quality of education by training more than 140 kindergarten teachers and attendants – as part of a country-wide project – as well as providing reading kits and teaching materials.
A highlight of the programme for Hayley will be meeting some of the almost 6,000 girls living in deprived rural communities who have benefitted from receiving UNICEF bicycles. Hayley launched the UNICEF NZ-sponsored bikes for girls programme during her previous visit to Ghana in 2005.
“The bikes programme has proved a great success for girls who have to commute long distances from home to school.
“The bikes are a practical and cost effective way for girls to get to school quickly and safely, as well as boosting their school attendance rates and academic performance.
“I am very privileged to be able to return to Ghana and meet face to face with children who are struggling with difficulties every day that are almost unimaginable to people in Western countries.
“I see the trip as very much about raising awareness of the conditions for children in need and how people can support UNICEF’s work to improve children’s lives in Ghana.”
Hayley will be sharing her insights and experiences from Ghana in a daily video diary. The diary will be posted at the end of each day (Ghana time) between 23-26 September and accessible via www.unicef.org.nz. A selection of photos of the visit will also be available each day online.
Thank you Martin and Richard. Just for the record, this item was emailed to me by David Youngmeyer of UNICEF NZ at 3am this morning (BST). Due to the difference in our respective time zones, it was inevitable that other members would locate it online before I could post it. My thanks go to David nevertheless.
Just for completeness, the article was written by Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director of UNICEF NZ.
With such a relatively short visit, I wouldn't be surprised to find that Hayley travelled out yesterday and that she's actually spending the full 4 days in Ghana.
I hope she enjoys her visit, if "enjoys" is the right word to use. She will certainly enjoy meeting all the girls with her (and our ) bikes and to see the success of her projects at first hand, though I am sure the pain and suffereing prevelant out there will be an upsetting and emotional experience for her.
Just remember Hayley, the world is a better place with you in it!!
Yes Grant, I agree, she would have flown out yesterday. There were only two flights from London to Accra, one from Gatick departing around 11am, and the other from Heathrow at 2pm. If she had been on either of todays flights, add 5 hours or so to get there, she would not have had time to make the visit she had made and make that video in daylight.
It is lovely to see Hayley doing this. You can see that he has a real regard and a real love for these people. She has a lovely combination of beauty, talent and a heart of gold. I think I can forgive her for showing off a bit sometimes!
I received an email from David Youngmeyer in Ghana about an hour ago to say that the first video diary is now available on You Tube! Well done, Graham - you beat him to it!
He has also sent three photographs of today's activities to a colleague in New Zealand and asked that they be forwarded to me (and Bedlam Management!). I will give it another hour to see if they arrive. Failing that, I hope to be able to post them tomorrow morning.
David has promised to advise us when the next video diary will be available.
Hi Graham and thanks for finding Hayley's video in double quick time and thank you Roger for posting David's pictures.
She looks to be having a great time interacting with the children and I think it will do her the world of good to take some time out from her hectic career and spend some time with these children (although I doubt it will be much less hectic!)
But you know what they say - "A change is as good as a rest"