Friday, April 13, 2007

UNICEF Ambassador Appeals for Afghanistan Aid

NEW FRIENDS -- Fwazia, 11, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Clay Aiken in Afghanistan. (UNICEF Photo)

$100,000 in 10 Days

Clay Appeals for Afghanistan Aid

"I've just returned from Afghanistan and see that the need is urgent. Let's aim high and work together to raise $100,000 in 10 days to support UNICEF's work in Afghanistan. Join me in standing with UNICEF to support the kids of Afghanistan.

On my trip, I met Fwazia. She is 11 years old. Fwazia attends a unique school where boys and girls from grades 1-9 share classes and study in the open. The school is in urgent need of funds to buy tents and materials for a new building. This will give more children the opportunity to get an education."

Clay's Appeal for Afghanistan Donations

Afghanistan Challenge: $100,000 in 10 Days

Through press releases, UNICEF web pages, and in emails to fans and supporters, Clay Aiken has issued an appeal to raise $100,000 in 10 days to help the children in Afghanistan. Contributions can be made on this UNICEF page.

This week news stories of Clay's trip to the Middle East have appeared around the globe. Typical is the release posted at Yahoo News, though the same story drawing attention to the critical needs of children in Afghanistan has appeared as far away as New Zealand. Here is the beginning:

Ambassador Heralds Education Progress

NEW YORK and KABUL, Afghanistan, April 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Clay Aiken concluded a recent trip to Afghanistan today by heralding the progress being made in children's education.

"As a former teacher I recognize that spark of hope and excitement all children possess when given the opportunity to learn," said Aiken, who spent five days traveling between Kabul and Bamyan in the central region of Afghanistan.

"Rebuilding schools, training teachers, providing essential supplies and teaching materials are just some of the advances UNICEF and its partners have made to keep that hope flourishing."

Last month marked a significant moment in the country's recent history when more than six million children headed back to school to resume their education. Education in Afghanistan has witnessed a tremendous boost over the past few years.

While in the capital city of Kabul, Aiken, who was appointed a UNICEF Ambassador in 2004, visited schools that have implemented programs meant to ensure all children regardless of gender receive an education.

While in Bamyan, Aiken visited a health clinic and women's literacy center where many women learn how to read and write and experience formal education for the first time. The literacy program is one UNICEF's priority projects for the empowerment of women in Afghanistan.

Aiken also visited water and sanitation programs, as well as a program that reintegrates former child soldiers into mainstream society.

Clay Aiken in Afghanistan with UNICEF

Diane Sawyer Discusses Clay's Trip

Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer has been reporting from Afghanistan all week, and Friday she mentioned Clay's work on the show. The complete story can be read at the GMA website. Clay's segment from the Friday report can be viewed here.

Reporter's Notebook: Diane Sawyer in Mideast

The landscape is forbidding and inescapable. Blinding, terrifying sandstorms come without warning, turning something so peaceful into a sudden, pummeling black night.

And a small thing that tells you what it is to be female in Saudi Arabia — we couldn't find a ladies' room when we needed it. Our guides went to the men's room and cleared them out for us.

In Afghanistan, schools that were once forbidden by the Taliban are now rebuilt, but there's still so much work to be done.

And guess who was in Afghanistan with UNICEF at the same time we were? "American Idol" Clay Aiken.

Teachers and students told him how much they need books for their libraries and computers for their science labs.

Aiken asked the class if anyone wanted to be a teacher, and several students raised their hands.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: This clickable interlude features graphics of Clay's previous UNICEF trips to Banda Aceh and Northern Uganda. Included are designs by MNmeesh, 1; Amazing_CA, 2; Cindilu2, 3; Clay'sTouch, 4; and CLAYPERFECT, 5.

Press Conference Follows Mission

At the conclusion of the Afghanistan tour, the media interviewed Clay; Catherine Mbengue, UNICEF Representative for Afghanistan; Aleem Siddique, United Nations Assistance Mission Senior Public Information Officer, and Mary Propes, the singer's high school teacher who accompanied him on this trip.

This is the beginning of Clay's statement. Members of the press also asked questions of the group, and the full release can be read at Relief Web.

Clay Aiken, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador:

It is a pleasure to be here, we have had an amazing time observing the programmes and the people of Afghanistan over the past week. I've traveled with Catherine, UNICEF's country representative here in Afghanistan, and my high school teacher, Mary Props, two people who individually who have in different ways had a major impact in the way that I look at world affairs and the needs of children all around the world but especially here in Afghanistan.

There's a very distinct impression that those of us in America have been given about Afghanistan, the people and the children and the situation here in Afghanistan. Because of major media in the US unfortunately only had the opportunity to see the more negative aspects, the more painful images of what's going on here in Afghanistan. For that reason I didn't really know exactly what to expect when I found out I was traveling here and was not really anticipating such an amazing and positive welcome from the people both in the city of Kabul and in Bamiyan where we have just returned from.

The people of Afghanistan are without question it's greatest natural resource because we have been greeted by nothing but wonderful hospitality since we've been here and it's been really amazing to see not only the generosity but also the strength of the people.

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken was appointed U.S. Fund for UNICEF Ambassador in 2004. He is particularly committed to supporting UNICEF's education programs, and is truly "an Idol who gives back." -- From Clay's UNICEF Page

A Tough Lesson Learned

This week I have learned a lesson that all computer enthusiasts do sooner or later. Tuesday afternoon a seemingly simple problem had me dialing Toshiba so a techie could walk me through the fix.

Eight techies later, most of whom don't have a southern drawl and all of whom had me try a different tactic, I finally faced the music and started preparing my sick counterpart for a trip to the certified specialists in Charlotte.

Boxed and reluctantly handed over to UPS, the Toshiba is on the first leg of a journey that most likely will result in the loss of treasured photos, graphics, and music. Between Tuesday's malfunction and Thursday morning's mailing, I had plenty of time to save some files. However, the CD/DVD drives wouldn't work.

A friend reminded me of a joke that emphasizes this week's tough lesson. Anyone not in the habit of backing up files might take note of the punch line along with me.

Jesus and Satan have a discussion as to who is the better programmer. This goes on for a few hours until they come to an agreement to hold a contest, with God as the judge.

They sit themselves at their computers and begin. They type furiously, lines of code streaming up the screen, for several hours straight. Seconds before the end of the competition, a bolt of lightning strikes, taking out the electricity. Moments later, the power is restored, and God announces that the contest is over.

He asks Satan to show what he has come up with. Satan is visibly upset, and cries, "I have nothing. I lost it all when the power went out."

"Very well, then," says God, "let us see if Jesus fared any better."

Jesus enters a command, and the screen comes to life in vivid display, the voices of an angelic choir pour forth from the speakers.

Satan is astonished. He stutters, "B-b-but how? I lost everything, yet Jesus' program is intact. How did he do it?"

God smiled all-knowingly, "JESUS SAVES."

My old, faithful Gateway laptop has been called out of retirement for the interim. After working with dual processor speed for several months, refreshing a page is worse than watching paint dry. Small screen, older system, and all -- we're still here, just moving at a snail's pace.

Have a great weekend, Clay Nation -- and save/backup your files!


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geni said...

great blog. i imagine his legions have reached his goal by tonight??

thanks for the link on my blog,d.

i was going to ask for help but as i'm sure you know, something has been wrong at ofc all day and now the site is off line.

and you may have noticed i now have no links,
profile or blogrolls on the right side of blogspot.....
that seemed to disappear when they made me switch to NEW blogspot!!murphy follows me around and wops me on the head with his law at his leisure....

any suggestions on how to fix the template for that???

i don't go to cv very much any more just read the focus thread sometimes. but mobama, h2 and i are planning on coming to ashville and carey. hope to see you there.

Ashes said...

Hi Caro,
making my daily visit to your blog, to refresh my memory and follow up on a few more links to other blogs etc. Finding some great things too, Thanks!