One of the worlds iconic performers Angelique Kidjo yesterday breezed into Freetown to perform her role as UNICEF’s Goodwill ambassador.
Sporting a short golden cut on her head with a long black designers suit Kidjo landed with the dependable UTAir helicopter at their former WFP helipad at about 7:30 pm.
As she waited for her luggages Kidjo told Awoko “I’m here to meet the girls my foundation ‘Batonga’ is giving scholarship,” she said.
As UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador, she explained, “I’m here to see what we can do to put the girls in school and keep them in school.”
Angelique Kidjo explained that there is a lot to be done in Africa not only here in Sierra Leone “we have the same problem very much everywhere where girls are denied education denied their rights, are forced to early marriage, early pregnancy and I think it’s a lost asset for Africa. If we continue doing that we wouldn’t move forward we wouldn’t achieve anything in Africa,” she opined.
What we do basically at ‘Bantoga’, she revealed, “Forum for African Women Educationalist (FAWE), UNICEF and CAW is to grant scholarship to girls who come from a very poor background, who are orphans of HIV and AIDS or disabled for them to be able – because we need highly educated people [for Africa’s development]”
The UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, however, noted that Batonga’s main goal is catering for girls “if boys enter the programme so be it” Angelique Kidjo explained that she worked with organizations like FAWE because they are on the ground “they are working with the children they know who we are targeting. I don’t what to do it alone I’m from Africa and I know that the community is where we have more results and its good to have people on the ground that help Bantoga to target the right person that we are aiming to help to keep in school,” she explained.
“We are doing fine so far, this my first visit to see those girls because the foundation is a year old we started in May 2007 it is a work in progress,” she said.
“It feels like coming home – coming to Sierra Leone,” Angelique Kidjo said. By Ophaniel Gooding