|Kami and UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy|
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BANGKOK, 13 July 2004 – UNICEF’s “Champion for Children” Kami shared the spotlight with UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy on Tuesday at the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
The HIV-positive Muppet from Takalane Sesame was helping Ms. Bellamy launch a major new report on global orphan estimates at a news conference.
Speaking on behalf of millions of children orphaned by AIDS, the furry yellow Muppet from South Africa cheered and charmed an otherwise sombre and weary group of journalists.
"Ms. Bellamy, I'm so happy to be here in Bangkok," Kami told the UNICEF Executive Director in a brief dialogue to open the news conference.
"Kami is here to share her experiences," Ms. Bellamy told journalists. "She teaches adults and children alike about HIV/AIDS in ways that are gentle, compassionate and hopeful. This is my favourite part of the Bangkok AIDS Conference," she said.
Along with Bellamy, Anne Peterson of USAID, Dr. Peter Piot of UNAIDS, and John Stover of the Futures Group International presented Children on the Brink 2004, a joint biennial publication that marshals the most comprehensive statistics on orphaning worldwide.
The report makes clear that global orphaning numbers would be falling without HIV/AIDS, and that massive action at all levels is critical to protect the rights of all orphans and vulnerable children.
UNICEF appointed Kami a Champion for Children in November 2003 when she helped launch a UNICEF report, Africa's Orphaned Generations, which details the impact of HIV/AIDS on children in Africa. Kami has brought levity and compassion to a topic that so often evokes the opposite. On Takalane Sesame, the Muppet, a five-year-old HIV-positive girl orphaned by AIDS confronts issues related to HIV-positive children in a way that three- to seven-year-olds can understand.
Takalane Sesame is the creation of Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organisation behind Sesame Street, and the world's largest informal educator of preschool children. Its flagship programme, Sesame Street, is broadcast in over 120 countries around the world.
UNICEF report: Africa's Orphaned Generations