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Helping children in Syria cope with violence and loss

Syrian refugee children attend a remedial class, in a child-friendly center, in North Lebanon.

— Sixteen months after the start of the unrest, assaults against civilians, human rights violations, mass arrests, torture, and execution-style killings of families, including children, continue to be a reality in Syria. To protect children from the ongoing violence and to help them regain a sense of normalcy, UNICEF and its partners are providing humanitarian assistance to families caught in Syria, as well as to those who have fled Syria to the neighboring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq. Getting displaced children back to school is a central focus of UNICEF’s efforts. School is not only important for educational purposes but also for children to make friends and develop routines to help them cope with trauma and loss. Despite repeated calls for an end to the violence in Syria, children continue to suffer as a result of the crisis. As more and more families flee the country, UNICEF urgently requires additional funding to be able to reach more Syrian children in need in the region.

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Progress on legislation to support water and sanitation programs

© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0811/Grarup

— This week, the bipartisan Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2011 (S. 641) unanimously passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee! Our thanks to the Committee’s leaders, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), as well as the bill’s sponsors, Senator Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Corker (R-TN).

Your voices helped make this progress possible! But the job is not done – the legislation still must pass the full Senate, and the House of Representatives still needs to pass a companion bill of the same name (H.R. 3658). You can help – keep contacting your Members of Congress to ask them to support the Water for the World Act.

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Caryl Stern: Keeping the promise

U.S. Fund for UNICEF President and CEO Caryl M. Stern joined volunteers in welcoming U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Committing to Child Survival: A Promised Renewed event. | Photo by Stephen Elliot

— Zero has never been closer. Last week, more than 700 leaders from 80 countries came to Washington, D.C. to pledge to work together to end preventable child deaths within a generation. I felt deeply proud to see so many people bolstering the fight for child survival. Ending preventable child deaths takes hard work, advocacy, persistence, and endless amounts of energy. Let’s use the invigoration of last week to propel our mission forward. There will be setbacks, of course, and there will be emergencies and other unforeseen events that demand our attention. But we cannot allow ourselves to stray from our top priority — reaching a day when zero young lives are lost to preventable causes.

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Simple strategies can prevent children’s deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea

Jenny, 2, lies in bed with a respiratory infection in the paediatric ward of National Referral Hospital in Honiara, on Guadalcanal Island, Solomon Islands. UNICEF supports the hospital with training and supplies. © UNICEF/NYHQ2006-2556/Giacomo Pirozzi

— Over these past few weeks we have been gathering momentum as we continue our work towards the goal to end the deaths of children from preventable causes. One example of the enormous potential we have for saving children’s lives is in the prevention of pneumonia and diarrhea—the two primary killers of children under five. UNICEF recently released a report outlining effective prevention and treatment strategies for both illnesses. Here are some of the strategies UNICEF uses to save lives.

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UNICEF Volunteers welcome the world’s leaders

© U.S. Fund for UNICEF

— On June 14, 2012 the Child Survival: Call to Action forum took place in Washington, as leaders from around the world joined forces with a renewed promise—to end preventable child deaths. But the day was also about UNICEF Volunteers, as they, along with others, welcomed the arrival of nearly 700 leaders in government, the private sector, and civil society, from more than 80 nations. As these leaders stepped onto the Georgetown University campus, the striking “sea of blue”— more than 90 UNICEF volunteers wearing cyan blue, some as young as two years old—enthusiastically greeted them with vibrant signs and photos representing the 21,000 children under five who die each day from preventable causes.

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A special gift for Father’s Day

Unpacking ready-to-eat therapeutic food. Photo by UNICEF/KENA00396/Shehzad Noorani

— If you haven’t gotten a Father’s Day gift yet, it’s not too late. You can still get a meaningful gift that helps save lives from UNICEF Inspired Gifts. These gifts are actual items that are shipped from our warehouse to where children need them the most, and they include things like mosquito nets, therapeutic food, soccer balls, and even a bicycle for delivering health care.

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