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Typhoon Bopha: a Survivor’s Story

13-year-old Mary (not her real name) survived Typhoon Bopha by holding onto a pig’s foot as she was swept away by the floods. She lost consciousness during the ordeal and woke up full of scars and covered in mud. © UNICEF Philippines/2012/JMaitem

— December 4, 2012, was a day that changed the lives of more than 250,000 Filipino children living in the worst affected areas of the southern Philippines. Super Typhoon Bhopa made landfall in the early hours of the morning, in a region that is rarely visited by typhoons. Here is the story of one young girl who lived through the storm.

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Battling Epidemics of AIDS and Violence

U.S. Fund for UNICEF Board Member Gary Cohen talking about Together for Girls at the AIDS 2012 Conference in Washington, D.C.

— In honor of World AIDS Day and the annual “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence,” UNAIDS and Together for Girls joined forces to hold an event called “Ending the Dual Epidemics of HIV/AIDS and Gender-Based Violence.” GBV and HIV/AIDS are each serious threats to children, but combined, GBV and HIV/AIDS disproportionately and brutally hurt women and girls. UNICEF is a major player around the world helping communities prevent GBV, and helping women and girls receive the assistance they need to survive violence and AIDS.

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IKEA Offers Gifts that Give Back

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— Mr. Broccoli and his friends are back this year to celebrate IKEA’s annual “Soft Toys for Education” collection, and they’re joined by three new forest friends from the VANDRING series. From November 4 to December 29, for every purchase from the “Soft Toys for Education Campaign” collection, the IKEA Foundation will donate one euro (approximately $1.30) to support UNICEF’s and Save the Children’s global education programs.

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An Evening with Pau

Pau Gasol speaking to UNICEF supporters

— While the 12-12-12 concert for Sandy Relief was taking place at Madison Square Garden, a few blocks away UNICEF Ambassador Pau Gasol was meeting with U.S. Fund for UNICEF supporters as a reminder that millions of children around the world also need our help. Pau, who has been working with UNICEF for ten years, discussed his recent field visit to Chad (a trip he made after winning a silver medal with Spain in the London Olympics), where he experienced firsthand the efforts UNICEF is undertaking to combat the nutritional crisis in Africa’s Sahel region.

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Honoring Ravi Shankar (1920 – 2012)

— Legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar, who with friend and fellow musician George Harrison created the remarkable Concert for Bangladesh to support UNICEF relief efforts in that country, passed away yesterday at age 92. “The world has lost a hero,” said Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

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Report from the Philippines

Residents are seen in the typhoon-hit town of Baganga, Davao Oriental on December 8, 2012. © UNICEF Philippines/2012/JMaitem

— As we’ve been posting on our FieldNotes blog, the typhoon that hit the Philippines on December 4 was truly devastating. We recently received a situation report from the UNICEF office in the Philippines, and wanted to share with you some updates.

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