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Children in China affected by AIDS join Olympic celebration

© UNICEF China
Eleven year-old Xiaoming from the Chinese Mekong Region shares his story at the opening ceremony of the 5th Annual Summer Camp for Children Affected by HIV/AIDs in Beijing.

Annual Summer Camp for Children Affected by AIDS realizes children's rights

Beijing, 9 August 2008 —The Olympic motto, faster, higher, stronger, invites people to excel in the spirit of friendship, unity, and fair play.  This year, the 5th Annual UNICEF/China National Committee for the Care of Children (CNCCC) Summer Camp for Children Affected by AIDS will make the Olympic motto a reality for 80 children in China affected by AIDS and 20 Chinese Youth Ambassadors during 7-14 August 2008 in Beijing. 

"It is fitting that this event is during the Olympics to emphasize the Olympic ideals of sports, participation and non-discrimination for the most vulnerable children," stated Dr. Yin Yin Nwe, UNICEF Representative for China. HRH Maria-Teresa Grand Duchess of Luxembourg and UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children also attended the launch along with high level Chinese government officials.  "Discrimination is the first and biggest scandal in our united fight against AIDS. Through information and advocacy, we can help. The launching of this summer camp is a great example of what can be done," stated HRH Maria-Teresa.

"When I was very young I watched the clouds in the sky and asked my father if they were going to Beijing because I wanted to come to Olympics," stated Xiaoming, an 11 year old boy from the Chinese Mekong Region who lost both his parents to AIDS and spoke at the launching ceremony. 

He along with 80 other children affected by AIDS from around China will have the chance to participate in the Camp's skill building workshops, travel to Beijing for the first time and view Olympic sporting events live. After he and his peers return home, he will be part of a UNICEF supported project for children affected by AIDS and receive support services through the China National Committee for the Care of Children (CNCCC), the co-host of the Camp.

"Our work is not over with the Olympics," stated Li Qimin, Deputy Secretary General, CNCCC. "The Camp will help young people to see beyond their daily challenges, set career goals and have a hope for the future. We will be there for them."

Also in attendance at the launching ceremony was the Ms. Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff, Deputy Chair Woman for the German Committee for UNICEF and winner of world and European champion and Olympic gold medal for dressage, China AIDS Ambassador Mr. Pu Cunxin, Olympic Gold Medalist Mr. Lou Yun, CCTV Children's Hostess Ms. Ju Ping, and Ms. Li Yuchun, one of the most popular young singers in China.

Situation of Children Affected by AIDS

The government "Four Frees and One Care" AIDS policy and The Ministry of Civil Affairs 14 Ministry Regulation for children orphaned by all causes have been critical in supporting children affected by AIDS. By March 2007, there were 4,395 children reported in 127 government supported China treatment and care counties out of over 2000 counties in China, who had lost both parents to AIDS; 93% which received educational subsidies.

However, many children affected by AIDS still need care and support.  At the end of 2005, it was estimated by UNICEF there were approximately 140,000 children who had lost one or both parents to AIDS and 500,000 children living in families with parents who were infected with HIV. However, stigma and discrimination prevent families and children from obtaining government services for fear of being identified in their local communities. The government, CNCCC, UNICEF, and many other organizations are striving to lower stigma and ensure that children affected by AIDS are able to access China's health, education and welfare services.

The 5th Annual UNICEF/CNCC Summer Camp for Children Affected by AIDS

Every year UNICEF collaborates with CNCCC to host the National Summer Camp for Children Affected by AIDS in Beijing. The Camp has raised AIDS awareness, realized the rights of children, and built children's life skills to cope with illness in their family. Sir Roger Moore, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, opened the first Summer Camp when hotels refused to accommodate the children.   

The UNAIDS secretariat, of which UNICEF is a member, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) signed a memorandum of understanding on 1 June 2004 to work together to lessen the impact of AIDS. The Camp contributes to the collaboration between the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee. The Chinese government ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992 which recognizes the rights of all children to participate in sports, recreation and culture with equality and without discrimination as detailed in Article 31:1.

Joining the 80 children affected by AIDS will be 20 "Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS" Youth Ambassadors from China. The Youth Ambassadors are young people who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to halting the spread of AIDS and reducing stigma and discrimination in China. Each youth ambassador has a unique and inspiring story. Chinese athletes and coaches are planning to participate along with well know celebrities.

Children affected by AIDS need our support to reach their full potential.

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood to adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF also supports child health and nutrition, clean water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and HIV-AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please visit: www.unicef.org/china (English), www.unicef.org/china/zh (Chinese)

For further information, please contact:
Ken Legins (English), Lei Zhang (English/Chinese)
UNICEF Office for China
Tel: 86 10 65323131
Fax: 86 10 65323107
klegins@unicef.org, lzhang@unicef.org

Information about "Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS" campaign is available at: http://www.uniteforchildren.org/ (Global website in English)
http://www.unicef.org/china/children_hiv_aids.html (UNICEF China website in English)
http://www.unicef.org/china/zh/children_adolescents_aids.html (UNICEF China website in Chinese)

"Unite for Children, Unite Against AIDS" Youth Ambassador Website in Chinese:
http://uniteforchildren.youth.cn/

 

 

 
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