It was a hard year, 2010. But UNICEF responded, and UNICEF defined what “responding” means
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Could you find Kyrgyzstan on an unlabeled map? Could you differentiate it from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan? I for one–when first hearing that ethnic fighting had claimed hundreds of lives and displaced nearly 400,000 people there –couldn’t even picture the country in my head.
Now, I can’t get the image from this week’s photo out of my head. It shows a brother and sister standing outside their burnt-out home in Kyrgyzstan’s southern city of Osh. Their house was destroyed during the recent violence, and their large family now shares a single tent.
For many Americans, the whole of Central Asia registers barely a blip on the radar screen. And that’s unfortunate, because the countries of Central Asia face a lot of serious challenges year-round. Child exploitation, HIV/AIDS, extreme poverty, high infant mortality rates and natural disasters are among the threats to children and families throughout the region. Tajikistan was even featured in the 2010 UNICEF Humanitarian Action Report, after it was hit with severe flooding and mudslides as well as water and energy shortages.
At least 100,000 people have now been admitted into Uzbekistan after violent fighting in neighboring Kyrgyzstan took hundreds of lives in the city of Osh
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Last fall, David Donaldson, Director of Education at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, and Kristi Burnham, Director of Volunteer and Community Partnerships, traveled to Kyrgyzstan for a field visit on Education Programs. Here is an excerpt of their recent presentation to the U.S. Fund staff on the need for funding in the region.
In this Central Asian country of over 5 million, where 98% of the population is literate and has access to television, UNICEF is developing innovative ways to reach populations affected by a depressed economy, poverty and a primarily agrarian society.
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