10-Oct-2019 00:01:54
More than 67,000 girls between the ages of 6 and 17 years old from across Benin have this week received new shoes as part of a partnership with Batonga Foundation, UNICEF and TOMS. UNICEF
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1. Med shot, poster of the launch of the distribution
2. Wide shot, Angélique Kidjo exiting car and welcome AK by local authorities.
3. Wide shot, welcome AK by local authorities.
4. Wide shot, the pupils welcome AK. Students: "Welcome to MATHIEU BOUKE High School."
5. Med shot, students lined up to welcome AK
6. Med shot, AK walking into school courtyard
7. Med shot, students clapping and singing
8. Close up, shoes to be distributed
9. Med shot, students in audience
10. Med shot, AK watching proceedings
11. Med shot, students clapping
12. Close up, AK clapping
13. Wide shot, AK dance with the group of student dancers. With audience applause.
14. Med shot, AK distributing shoes
15. Med shot, student putting on shoes
16. Med shot, girls in shoes
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Angélique Kidjo, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador:
“The girls walk a long way to go to school. So many of the girls that have been put into school miss school because something stung them in the foot, and it got infected.”
18. Med shot, AK leaving school with group singing
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Angélique Kidjo, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
“If you don’t have a pair of shoes and you have to walk on a very hot land, how will you wake up in the morning and say, ‘I want to go to school’? So, shoes are part of self-confidence and it’s about empowerment. So that’s what we do with UNICEF and Batonga.”
20. Med shot, AK walking with UNICEF representative in school courtyard
More than 67,000 girls between the ages of 6 and 17 years old from across Benin have this week received new shoes as part of a partnership with Batonga Foundation, TOMS and UNICEF.

Founder of Batonga Foundation and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo has concluded a visit where she met some of the girls in receipt of the shoes. During her visit, Angelique spoke with girls at the Parakou Mathieu Bouké school and delivered an empowering speech on the right to education to more than 300 students.

"Shoes are part of the pride felt by those who walk wearing them, said UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo. “Yet too many girls are missing out their education because they cannot afford the clothes and shoes required to go to school. We’ve seen a lot of progress be made in recent years, but a lot remains to be done to get every child in school and learning."

Girls in Benin are most at risk of dropping out of school when making the transition from primary education to secondary education, with nearly 2 in 3 girls missing out on secondary school. Poverty is a key determining factor for girls education, with 43 per cent of girls from the poorest households never stepping foot inside a classroom.

The partnership between the three organisations targets school-age children in the Alibori, Borgou and Zou regions of Benin, where girls are particularly vulnerable to missing out on their education.

"This donation of shoes is an important gesture to help keep girls in school, as it helps to reduce the costs that families incur in schooling," said UNICEF Representative in Benin Dr. Claudes Kamenga. “Having a pair of shoes for a teenager can be a source of motivation to finish the school year with the hope of improving school learning."

Angélique also visited a residential care centre that provides support and protection to young girls aged between 6 and 17 years old affected by violence. The girls receive counselling, a sense of safety and the opportunity to take part in workshops to help them overcome the trauma they have faced.

"I have heard things today that children shouldn’t ever hear, let alone experience. We must do more to protect children from violence. We are failing them otherwise,” said Angélique. “Girls are suffering at the hands of men and predators. We have to commit to eradicating this.”

During the last days of her visit, Angélique was presented with a manifesto of 30 advocacy priorities created by children from groups including ANACEB, CLOSE, CCNE and Enfants Reporters. "Take action to turn the dreams of the children of Benin into reality," said Cheficath OLOUCHESSI, the child mayor of Agblangandan.

The Government of Benin and UNICEF are working together to address the root causes keeping girls from school, as well as provide protection and support services to keep children safe from harm.
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