Saturday, September 6, 2008

VIDEO:NBA Star Returns to His Native Haiti to See UNICEF's Work

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Basketball star Sam Dalembert knows the odds against children like these at the Lakou day center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Poverty, violence, HIV, poor education and a lack of quality healthcare and clean water all take their toll on Haitian's children. Mr. Dalembert returned home for the first time in eight years last week to see first hand the work of UNICEF in his native Haiti and to connect with young people. The Lakou center offers street children a refuge from the dangers of their daily lives. It is a place to relax and to learn literacy and vocational skills. But the simple presence of a figure like Mr. Dalembert may be equally important to the center's children. In the hills of the remote central plateau Mr. Dalembert visited of the Zamni Lasanté project. With the support of UNICEF and other partners, the ambitious program offers free, high quality health care and an extensive program of community health and social services in a region where even basic health care is hard to come by. Mr. Dalembert, who has been active with the NBA and UNICEF in the Unite For Children, Unite Against AIDS campaign, was impressed by the highly successful HIV/AIDS treatment programs and the efforts to prevent mother to child transmission of the virus.

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