I was supposed to be working in Scotland this week, but my best-laid plans were thwarted by the weather. Disappointed that I’m missing out on seeing my friends and doing some funky Christmas shopping in Edinburgh, I realised that I still need my Scottish fix. So, here we have a tribute to the great Annie Lennox, a true modern-day Scottish heroine and a huge inspiration to me.
Most people associate Annie Lennox with great music, dynamic on-stage performances and spiky hair. But there is more to this amazing woman than her incredible musical talent and she is an awesome role model for women everywhere who want to make a difference.
Annie has been voted the Barclays’ Bank Woman Of The year, and GQ’s Charity Woman Of The Year for 2010 in recognition for the work and active campaigning she does for a number of charities focussing primarily on peace, poverty and the one closest to her heart, women’s struggle against HIV/AIDs in Africa. The facts and statistics for HIV/AIDs in Africa are astonishing;
At the end of 2009 there were an estimated 22.5 million people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa (the part below the Sahara desert), and 460,000 in North Africa and the Middle East. AIDS is now the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa – killing an estimated 1.3 million people in 2009 alone.
Life expectancies have fallen below 51 years in some African countries due to AIDS, which is lower than they were in the 1970s. Most AIDS deaths occur among young adults, and these deaths have a devastating effect on families, communities and economies. The epidemic is wiping out development gains, orphaning millions of children, fuelling the spread of other diseases (including tuberculosis), and even threatened to undermine national security in highly-affected societies. (Courtesy of AVERT)
It is usually the women who have to pick up the pieces and try to keep their families together, often whilst suffering symptoms themselves and it is for these victims of the HIV/AIDs epidemic that Annie Lennox fights so tirelessly.
Annie set up the fund raising SING Campaign-a voice for HIV/AIDS women and children as part of her Annie Lennox Foundation. The money raised by SING helps prevent the spread of HIV in South Africa. But the awareness that SING raises in countries all around the world is just as important. One of SING’s aims is to increase global action to support infected and affected women and children, especially in the UK.
June 2010 was also when Annie was named as the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for AIDs and I’m sure that she will relish the challenge and opportunities that the role will bring to her campaign of raising awareness of HIV/AIDs. It will be a long, long haul fraught with difficulties but this woman has all the qualities required to galvanise global support for this cause.
Go Annie and Good Luck
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