Last month, from May 7-11, over 1,000 U.S. Fund for UNICEF volunteers participated in Live Below the Line, a project implemented by the Global Poverty Project. Volunteers were encouraged to live in solidarity with the 1.4 billion people (25% of the world’s population) surviving in extreme poverty, by living off of just $1.50 per day for food for five days. UNICEF Volunteers of all ages took part in this “…movement of passionate people willing and able to make a meaningful difference to those who need it most.” Collectively, UNICEF supporters fundraised over $29,000, which will go directly to supporting UNICEF’s relief efforts in the Sahel.
On May 31, a crowd of 300 young New York City professionals gathered in Tribeca’s R 20th Century Gallery for the 3rd Annual Photo Benefit hosted by UNICEF’s Next Generation. UNICEF’s Next Generation—a diverse group of young professionals, ages 21 to 40, who share a commitment to UNICEF’s future and a belief in zero—sold out the event, reaching its goal of raising both funds and awareness for the charity’s activities.
Did you know that mobile technology can actually help save children’s lives? I certainly didn’t. But when put to use in the field, especially in remote areas where healthcare may be far away and where information is often difficult to access, a mobile phone can make a life-or-death difference. Mobile phones help span the distance between people who need help and those who can help them, and mobile technology lets data be analyzed quickly, so that children and mothers who need treatment can get it right away.
Last week I had the honor of speaking at an event called Wake Up! for Human Rights. At this event, each panelist spoke about their organization’s mission, goals and role in fighting for human rights. The audience heard incredible speakers from Ground Up Global, Pencils of Promise, Malaria No More, and finally myself representing the End Trafficking project at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. I spoke with pride about UNICEF’s holistic and sustainable approach to addressing systems and social norms in the realm of child protection. But what the audience doesn’t usually hear is that they can do something to change their everyday actions—that they can change the way they speak, and challenge the way that their friends act.
The AIDS pandemic is one that was born and reached its peak in our lifetime—many still remember when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control first recognized the disease in 1981. Since then, it has caused the deaths of more than 46 million individuals. Today, through the work of UNICEF and its partners, we have an unprecedented opportunity to wipe the disease from this planet by virtually eliminating all new HIV infections among children within the next three years. How can we accomplish this? It starts by believing in zero.
UNICEF Global Citizenship Fellows work to cultivate an American constituency whose empathy will stretch across the world and who care about international hardship as their own. The Global Citizenship Fellowship deploys eight fellows to eight regions in the U.S. to support a grassroots movement of community members who are passionate about UNICEF’s lifesaving work. As part of our fellowship, we work closely with high school and college UNICEF clubs to mobilize young people around issues affecting child survival and development. One particularly active and passionate young man, Winston Lee, is the president and founder of Valencia High School’s UNICEF Club.