1 Apr 2007 | Mission East

Danish weatherman is the new Mission East Ambassador

The Danish weatherman Mikael Jarnvig, known from TV, has agreed to support Mission East's work because he wants to attract attention to some of the world’s forgotten crises.
It has been a tough winter for our small family here in Armenia. While Europe has been bathed in spring temperatures, the southern Caucasus has been hit by one of the harshest winters in living memory.

After New Year’s we had to spend a night in a hotel following more than three days without running water. A water pipe had frozen outside of our apartment when the temperatures reached below minus twenty degrees Celsius. For us, it was possible to spend one night in a hotel while waiting for the problem to be solved. But for many thousand Armenian children that has not been an option. They have had to get by in small dilapidated huts or in leaky apartments, with the snow blowing in and with minus degree temperatures inside.

We don’t know exactly how many have died during this past winter – and the authorities certainly don’t know either. Between 25 and 30 percent of all Armenian children have never been registered, and this big number most certainly includes the least privileged of Armenian society. Many are born without ever getting the attention of the authorities – and die without being included in the official statistics.

In February I participated in the heartbreaking funeral of 10-year old Anatoliy who had died of leukemia. Perhaps he had been given the necessary medical attention – perhaps not. Anatoliy left behind his parents and two younger siblings. Apart from ‘income’ from a single cow owned by the family the only other income for the family had been the monthly disability pension of Anatoliy totaling circa USD 13 or EUR 10. That income has now gone, and the family is forced to live off the vegetables they can cultivate on their small piece of land, a quarter of a hectare – and otherwise from whatever they will receive from others, out of mercy.

One thing is certain: Mission East wants to speak with capital letters about the need and misery of these children – both in Armenia and in Denmark. A weatherman of Danish national fame, Mikael Jarnvig, has decided to help us by becoming the first Mission East Ambassador. In March, Mikael Jarnvig came to visit us in Armenia, and he also had a chance to meet the children we help. The situation in this country made as big an impression on him as it has made on us

Our hope is to help even more children and that fewer will die without being noticed.

April 2007