The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today announced that actress Mia Farrow, a Goodwill Ambassador for the agency, will begin a one-week tour of Angola on Monday to spotlight the dramatic challenges and opportunities facing the country as it emerges from nearly three decades of war.
Ms. Farrow will visit a camp housing thousands of displaced civilians, a quartering area for newly de-mobilized troops and their families, HIV/AIDS prevention projects supported by UNICEF, land-mine awareness programs for children, and intensive feeding centres for malnourished youngsters.
The renowned actress will also meet with government leaders and UNICEF staff who are involved in efforts to register unaccompanied children and to trace and re-unite families. The Angolan government estimates that 100,000 children have been separated from their families by war, and that as many as 700,000 children have lost at least one parent. The births of more than three quarters of Angola's 6 million children are thought to be unregistered, leaving them without any official identification.
The UNICEF Representative in Angola, Mario Ferrari, voiced hope that Ms. Farrow's visit would highlight not only the dramatic plight facing the country's people, but also the positive prospects for reconstruction and recovery.
"Although Angola is suffering, it is also entering a time of renewal," he said. "The world must see that Angola is no longer a doomed vessel, and that with the right assistance, the children of this country have a future."
Echoing this view, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy stressed that the international community must not avert its attention from Angola. "Mia's visit is a way to help show the world that Angola is at peace, Angola has new hope, and that Angola not only needs but deserves our support."
Ms. Farrow has previously travelled on the agency's behalf to Nigeria together with her 13-year-old son, Seamus, who is also accompanying her to Angola.