The Domiz refugee camp in northern Iraq hosts almost 40,000 refugees from Syria. Domiz is a dense camp full of tents and people everywhere. I visit the camp every day to familiarize myself with the many UNICEF-supported activities. This week, while visiting the child-friendly space, I met the wonderful volunteers and staff who are organizing recreational and social activities for children.
When the people of Atosale, Ghana were told that a second borehole would be built in their community, they screamed and clapped, smiled and bounced their children up and down on their laps. I recently witnessed this joy when I accompanied a delegation from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to Ghana, where they met with UNICEF staff and saw firsthand the impact that the Foundation’s support for UNICEF’s water programming has had on children’s lives.
Many of us think that the crisis in Syria is a political one. But it is not — it is a children’s crisis, and it is among the biggest in the world. Over 3.8 million children are affected by the violence in Syria, and over 700,000 children are refugees. While UNICEF and its partners are doing everything they can to help affected children and families, UNICEF’s efforts are severely underfunded. If funding is not received in the next weeks, millions of children will suffer. We are urgently calling on the entire donor community to support UNICEF’s emergency relief efforts in and around Syria.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. But sadly, for many women around the world, the joy of motherhood is engulfed by tragedy.
Maternal mortality is a major preventable cause of death, and UNICEF and partners are using simple, low-cost interventions to save pregnant women’s lives. One of the most effective tools is a birthing kit. This Mother’s Day, you can honor a mother by giving an Inspired Gift of a Safe Birthing Kit, which helps safely deliver 50 babies. And through Sunday, every purchase you make of an Inspired Gift online will be matched dollar for dollar.
As an educator, a proud uncle of six nieces and nephews, and as a JFK-based International Purser-Champion for Children, I was honored to represent the 2,700 registered volunteers at American Airlines during my first UNICEF field visit. For years, I have been collecting donations from American Airlines customers through Change for Good, a global UNICEF program that converts travelers’ contributions of foreign currency into lifesaving services for the world’s children.
The conflict in Syria has affected 2 million children. More than half a million have fled to neighboring countries, leaving behind family, friends and schooling. With over 375,000 Syrian refugees, Lebanon has the highest number of refugees in the region. The country is experiencing a huge strain on its resources, and it, too, urgently needs assistance to deal with an influx of hundreds of thousands of new residents. To learn more about the situation and get a report from the ground in Lebanon, watch the Google Hangout we had on May 7 with Luciano Calestini, UNICEF’s head of emergency response in Lebanon.