|© UNICEF/HQ06-0516/2006/ Markisz|
|Carrying flags of UN member states during AIDS Walk New York (left to right): Janna Alqaq, 11, Mara Tuccio, 13, Holly Tinker, 11, actress and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador Naomi Watts, Sarah Chithenga, 11, and Gnire Kone, 11.|
By Kun Li
NEW YORK, USA, 22 May 2006 – The UN Cares Team, made up of many United Nations staff members and their families, led some 47,000 people in this year’s AIDS Walk New York.
The 10-km trek around the city’s Upper West Side, which kicked off yesterday in Central Park, is the world’s largest AIDS fundraising effort. The UN Cares Team served as this year’s honour guard, leading the march under flags of the world.
Eight-year-old flag-bearer Makram Alqaq is the son of the Director and Chief of Staff of the UNICEF Executive Director's Office, Sigrid Kaag. “My mom signed me up,” said a beaming Makram. “She sponsors me $200 and this money will help children who have AIDS.”
His younger brother Adam added: “I am here because I like walking, and it can also help other children.”
‘The missing face of AIDS’
The global AIDS pandemic has taken an enormous toll on children. It’s estimated that children account for one in every six AIDS-related deaths around the world, and some 15 million children have been orphaned as a result of the disease.
“I am here today because I want everyone to know that children are the missing face of AIDS,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Kul Gautam. “The people who are participating in this walk should know. So should millions of people around the world.”
In the past 20 years, AIDS Walk New York has raised more than $85 million for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. By the end of this year’s walk, organizers reported that another $6.4 million was added to the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
AIDS Walk New York
(external link, opens in a new window)