February 12, 2014
Grammy award winner and longtime UNICEF ambassador Angélique Kidjo has served as a Rotary polio ambassador since 2011. In addition to lending her voice to the “This Close” campaign, Angelique’s support has included: the illumination of the New York Stock Exchange Building with the “End Polio Now” message; a 2011 World Polio Day op-ed; and speeches at Rotary events.
Why did you get involved in polio eradication?
As I’ve said before, I believe that I am alive because I was vaccinated as a child in Benin. I had friends whose parents didn’t believe in vaccination, and some of them ended up with polio. There is no excuse for any child to suffer from polio or any other preventable disease.
How do you support the campaign to end polio?
As a longtime UNICEF ambassador, and as a Rotary polio ambassador, I am using my voice to raise awareness for the fight to end polio. I’ve campaigned for vaccination throughout Africa—for polio and for other vaccine-preventable diseases.
What does ending polio mean to you?
I think will be a great opportunity to prove what we can achieve together. It will be a great day when we rid Africa- and the entire world- of that disease forever.
In addition to her polio advocacy, Angélique founded the Batonga Foundation to help empower young African women through education. Her latest album, Eve, released in January 2014, is a dedication to the strength of African women. Angélique’s new memoir, Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music, also out in January, documents her escape from Communist Africa to France, her journey from poverty to Grammy fame, and the importance of giving back.
Visit Angelique on her North American tour: http://vector.populr.me/kidjo-tour-page
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