12 September, 2009 18:14

Legendary singer performed ‘Lion King’ song for HIV-positive kids and promised to return in Ukraine

On September, 12 2009 during a visit to the "Children Plus" project at Makeyevka orphanage in Ukraine, world-famous musician Elton John performed a real concert for a group of HIV-positive orphans at the centre.
Legendary singer performed ‘Lion King’ song for HIV-positive kids and promised to return in Ukraine / Elena Pinchuk Foundation

Presenting the children with a new piano - a gift from the Elena Franchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation which co-funds the Children Plus project, he played his famous hit ‘Circle of Life' from the movie "Lion King".

Sir Elton's spontaneous performance of the song was very emotional as it followed a short play by the orphans about how every child wants a mother.

Following the visit Elton, Elena Franchuk (Founder of the Elena Franchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation) and Vladimir Zhovtyak, head of the coordinating council of All-Ukrainian Network People living with HIV/AIDS, held a short conference for the press at which Elton spoke about the children and orphanage staff and volunteers he had met with warmth and admiration:

"It's hard to visit such place and not to be moved by the humanity of the people who work here every day. It's hard to see so many wonderful children and not to be touched by the fact that they were abandoned. I hope that all these children will find a home as I believe every child deserve a world with the mum and a dad. The HIV epidemic has being so cruel to children all around the world. I will always help Ukraine with the fight against HIV/AIDS - the country will always have a special place in my heart. My fight against AIDS in Ukraine will continue and will last as long as it's needed".

The press conference also offered an opportunity to ask Elton about his memories of his last visit to Ukraine in 2007 when he performed a free concert: "The concert in Ukraine was a very special occasion in my life' he said ‘and not just because it was great concert or because it was my first time in Ukraine, but because I was here to talk about HIV/AIDS. It was one of the biggest audience I have ever played to in my life'.

Asked whether he planned to return Elton said, ‘Of course I will be coming back. My friends are here and my Foundation has a commitment to HIV and AIDS. I will always come back to make music, to play for people and also talk about. HIV/AIDS, because the Elton John AIDS Foundation has a commitment to help Ukraine with HIV/AIDS epidemic".

"Elton John in a small city Makeyevka - this is a real miracle. And I am very grateful to Elton because he helped it to happen. He showed that miracles could happen in lives of the most unfortunate people. Little inhabitants of Makeyevka orphanage are in great need of miracles. Incredible, kind and attentive doctors and pedagogues work here. But it doesn't matter how good the orphanage is, it can never replace a family for a child..." - said Elena Franchuk after meeting children at the orphanage.

About the project

On September 12, 2009 in a specialized orphanage for HIV-positive children the first results of the "Children Plus" project were presented. The overall goal of the project is to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on children infected with or severely affected by HIV/AIDS in Ukraine, from early childhood through to their teenage years. This includes ensuring such children are not ostracised or discriminated against in society; changing public attitudes towards them, particularly in schools, and helping them to move from orphanages to adoptive, fostering and guardianship families.

A press conference was held with the participation of Elton John, Chairman and Founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation; founder of the ANTIAIDS Foundation Elena Franchuk, and head of the coordinating council of the All-Ukrainian Network people living with HIV/AIDS Vladimir Zhovtyak. The project implementers described how the lives of hundreds of HIV-positive children have changed over the past eighteen months.

The five-year project started in February 2008 Today it works with implementing partners in ten regions of Ukraine, including with the Makeyevka orphanage in Donetsk.

"Children Plus - Improving the Lives of Families Affected and Infected by HIV" Project is implemented by All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH in a partnership with Elena Franchuk ANTIADS Foundation, Elton John AIDS Foundation, and Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation.

For detailed information, please, contact Pavel Piminov, Communications Director, Elena Franchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation on e-mail: P.Piminov@antiaids.org. Contact phone number: +38 (044) 490 4805.

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