- 2000-08-05 (Creation)
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(The first speech is in front of the children and where most of the international media will be focusing)
Honored Guests, distinguished visitors from all over South Africa and the world, I am glad that you are able to be here today to share with me this celebration that I have with children each year. As you all know, this young generation is very close to my heart. They are special not only because they are vulnerable, and are the first to suffer whenever we adults get things wrong, but also because of their remarkable spirit, their ability to heal not only themselves but their societies as well. That is why I find it extremely painful when I see children being dehumanized because of war, civil strife, hunger, and disease.
And, so I want greet you, my young friends from all over the country, and salute you, I understand that you held a children's parliament today, that you debated the issue of HIV and AIDS, and that you are making recommendations about how we should go about tackling this scourge. I will take these resolutions back with me and make sure that at the very least, the adults listen to you.
Participating in parliaments, being in public life, requires discipline and dedication. It means that you must educate yourselves, that you must lead good and clean lives. It does not mean you must not have fun. But let that spirit of enjoyment uplift you and not destroy your young lives.
I want to make particular reference to how HIV and AIDS is spread. I call on all the young people of the world to first of all abstain from sex for as long you can. Don't start young, wait until you know your bodies better. Secondly, be monogamous. And thirdly practice safe sex.
Already we see what HIV and AIDS has done to our communities. People are dying younger and younger, the number of children who are being orphaned grows with every month that passes, I would like to call on you to ensure that as you grow up, you don't become responsible for creating even more orphans. So safeguard your lives and that of the children who will follow you.
(At this point, Madiba should address himself to the media)
On the 14 July I signed an agreement with the United States government who will grant 5 million US dollars that the Children's Fund will use to set up programmes for orphans. They have been very generous, but we know that the need is much larger, and we have to ensure that as a country, we can respond to needs of children well after the grant is used up. We are therefore today launching and international appeal for funds to build up the resources of the Orphan's Programme. The Children's Fund and indeed my own Foundation, will work closely with government at all levels, NGOs, churches and all South Africans to ensure that a concerted effort is made to respond to those children who are vulnerable because of HIV / AIDS.
You will see this appeal on the Internet, in newspapers and on TV.
I call on all people to contribute, no matter how little they have at their disposal.
Thank you once more for being here, and enjoy your self for the rest of the day.