EveryÂ four monthsÂ the U.S. Fund for UNICEFÂ puts out a terrific magazine, called Every Child.Â The magazineÂ features stories on issues affecting children around the world, gives updates on UNICEFâ€™s work, and highlights the efforts of UNICEF partners and supporters.
This issueâ€™s cover story, â€śUNICEF in the Urban World,â€ť takes place in Thailandâ€”but it reflects the plight of vulnerable children in cities everywhere. We meet a 10-year-old boy named Poon (not his real name), who fled his abusive family and ended up living on the streets of Chiang Mai. He was sleeping outside in the cold, sexually victimized by tourists and locals alike, until a UNICEF-supported outreach group persuaded him to visit a drop-in center. He now lives at the center, and isÂ back to attending school. In the end, Poon was lucky to get off the streetsâ€”butÂ many city children arenâ€™tÂ as lucky.
Today, almost half of the worldâ€™s children live in cities.Â While urbanization is associated with economic development, children who live in slums and shantytowns are among the most disadvantaged in the world.
The hazards that urban children face are unique: They are exposed to crime and gangs and toÂ drugs and alcohol, and have higher rates of HIV infection.Â Whatâ€™s more, many children lack birth certificates or identification and are often hard to reach. UNICEF is developing programs in cities all over the world to address the specific issues thatÂ city children face.Â A program’sÂ focusÂ might be on gang violence, environmental hazards, or on continuing UNICEF’s long-running initiatives that helpÂ children like Poon getÂ off the streets.
You can readÂ more about Poon and the plight of vulnerable urban children in the cover story of the latest Every Child issue. You can also learn about the U.S. Fundâ€™s new End Trafficking initiative,Â the Global Summit to end preventable child deaths within a generation held in Washington D.C., UNICEFâ€™s emergency response to the drought in the Sahel, and much more.
Check out the issue for yourself. And if thereâ€™s anything that strikes you in particular, let us know in the comments section below!