In 1960 Walt Disney had a visionary idea: to create a tribute to the children of the world. That idea came to fruition in 1964 at the World’s Fair as the “It’s a Small World” ride. Proceeds from the ride helped UNICEF save and improve children’s lives. Building upon this legacy, today UNICEF and Disney are bringing the power of play to the world’s most vulnerable children.
Category Archives for "UNICEF in the Field"
You’ve probably heard about the ongoing conflict in Syria. Or the typhoon that struck the Philippines. Or the food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa. But did you know that UNICEF responded to some 200 other emergencies last year? Each year, UNICEF publishes the Humanitarian Action Report, which provides a snapshot of emergencies around the world and describes what needs to be done to help children in their path.
Jane MacPhail is a UNICEF Child Protection Specialist. She makes the 1 1/2 hour journey to Za’atari every day. Jane works with children to draw and imagine a world without war. “Syrian children have been through too much,” she says. “Over the course of the past 22 months, children witnessed war, shelling, injuries and torture. They have had to leave their homes and country with the little they could carry. They’ve lost a sense of identity and hope.”
Mark Choonoo, UNICEF Emergency Specialist, was in Homs recently and shares his first-hand account on the situation there and the impact the destruction wrought by the conflict has on children and families.
It’s bitterly cold, with overnight temperatures dropping to below freezing. Many children I saw were wearing only light clothes and sandals, or only socks without shoes. All the children I talked to complained about the cold. Many expressed sadness about friends who had gone away and not returned, but despite all of this, they seemed happy to be home.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow is in Lebanon to meet refugees from the conflict in Syria, as the needs and numbers of those fleeing continue to rise. She is blogging from the field, and you can follow her posts at http://unicef.tumblr.com/. She will also be participating in a Twitter chat tomorrow. During her visit, Ms. Farrow will travel to two locations close to the Syrian border, and will speak with both refugees and host families. In addition, she will visit UNICEF-supported child-friendly spaces, where children who have witnessed the horrors of the conflict receive psychosocial support and counseling.
Saturday marks the third anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. Nearly 1.5 million children were directly affected by the disaster. The U.N. estimated that over a billion dollars would be needed for recovery, and the world’s outpouring of support to UNICEF and other organization was tremendous. We, and the children of Haiti, thank you.