Nairobi, July 25, 2002- UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Tetsuko Kuroyanagi , will make a seven day visit to Somalia to highlight the humanitarian crisis facing women and children in that country.
Ms Kuroyanagi, a Japanese celebrity and strong advocate for children, will be in Somalia for a one-week visit starting today. She will travel to several locations in Somalia, where she is expected to tour UNICEF supported education, youth and health projects.
Ms Kuroyanagi became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1984. Her high profile visits to countries such as Rwanda, Iraq, Haiti, and Kosovo have raised more than US $ 29 million for children, more than any other UNICEF celebrity advocate. Last October, she received the first UNICEF Leadership Award for Children, recognising her unsurpassed record as an advocate and fundraiser on behalf of children. Kuroyanagi was awarded the first UNICEF Child Survival Award in 1987.
Ms Kuroyanagi, who was born in Tokyo, enjoys huge popularity in Japan both as actress and best-selling author. She has been voted the country's favourite television personality 14 times, most notably for "Tetsuko's Room", a daily talk show that debuted in 1975. "Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window "(1981) an autobiographical look at her childhood and education, has been published internationally, while "Totto-Chan's Children" (1997) describes her experiences working for UNICEF.
Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and is suffering from protracted conflict, economic decline, and recurrent humanitarian crises. The infant mortality rate is 132 per 1,000 children, while the under-5 mortality rate is 224 per 1,000. Immunization coverage is low, with only an estimated 40 per cent of children below one year of age being vaccinated against polio.
For more information, please contact:
Julia Spry-Leverton, Communication Officer
Patrick Mwangi, Assistant Communication Officer