Surge of displacement in Pakistan continues

Only a few days have passed since we last checked in on the growing crisis in Pakistan, but those few days have been enough time to change thousands of lives. In the month of May alone, more people have been displaced in Pakistan than were displaced over 3 years in Darfur.

Since August of last year, conflict between pro-Taliban militants and Pakistan's government forces has seethed in Pakistan's northwest frontier region. Over the last month, as fighting has intensified, the number of people who have fled their homes has swollen to 2.4 million. That's the single largest movement of people in Pakistan since the partition that created the country.

Most frightening of all, it's estimated that 65% of the displaced are children.

Pakistan (May 29, 2009), a displaced girl waits with adults for food during a distribution in the Chota Lahore camp in Swabi District in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). The camp is one of the many created in the past few weeks to accommodate people fleeing the current conflict.
© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0565/Marta Ramoneda
Pakistan (May 29, 2009), a displaced girl waits with adults for food during a distribution in the Chota Lahore camp in Swabi District in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). The camp is one of the many created in the past few weeks to accommodate people fleeing the current conflict.

UNICEF is doing its best to blunt the impact of the crisis for these children, but because of the quick timeline and incredible numbers of people, some real challenges exist. Many of the displaced have chosen to stay with friends or relatives, or rent space in host communities, which means distributing resources and keeping track of movement is made a bit harder. It's estimated that of all the children displaced, only 25% are actually in camps, where agencies like UNICEF can be sure that they are fed, protected from exploitation, and kept healthy in the midst of all the chaos.

Team UNICEF: 2009 ING New York City Marathon

Are you a runner? Be apart of a movement, the biggest movement in New York! This year UNICEF is participating in the 2009 ING New York City Marathon in November. We're looking for committed individuals to join Team UNICEF!

Rwanda: Flanked by boy runners, a UNICEF Representative stands at the starting line of a five kilometer cross-country race.
© UNICEF/NYHQ1996-0173/Giacomo Pirozzi
Rwanda: Flanked by boy runners, a UNICEF Representative stands at the starting line of a five kilometer cross-country race.

As the organization that has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization, UNICEF is committed to doing whatever it takes, to ensure the survival of children and ensure Team UNICEF successfully reach its goal. Each member will be raising a minimum of $3,500. Everyday 25,000 children die from preventable causes; Team UNICEF is helping us turn that number to zero.

The deadline to apply is Friday, June 19, 2009. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for one of Team UNICEF's guaranteed runner entries, please visit www.unicefusa.org/nycmarathon today!

Below are a few of the many benefits of running for Team UNICEF:

  • The opportunity to help UNICEF turn the 25,000 preventable deaths of children into zero
  • Support and advice from a dedicated fundraising team.
  • Information about UNICEF's work and how the donations to Team UNICEF help children around the world
  • A fundraising package
  • UNICEF goodie bag
  • A cheering team along the route
  • A UNICEF running shirt
  • T-shirts for your supporters on the day of the marathon
  • An online fundraising tool
  • A pasta dinner on Friday, October 30th

Please email volunteer@unicefusa.org with any questions regarding your interest in joining Team UNICEF.

Where's the UNICEF Snowflake?

Throughout the holiday season, the UNICEF Snowflake is suspended above the intersection of 57th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City. It serves as a symbol of hope for children around the world, and reminds us to never forget the 25,000 children that fall prey to preventable causes every day across the globe.

When the Snowflake is taken down in mid-January, it returns to its just-as-glamorous home away from home... a cozy warehouse in Harlem, New York. Stored in five giant crates (3 branches per crate, and one for the core), the Snowflake is tucked safely away for the year with many of the other holiday decorations that transform New York City into a winter wonderland.

Anne Linder in front of one of the 5 crates that hold the UNICEF Snowflake.
U.S. Fund for UNICEF/2009
Anne Linder in front of one of the 5 crates that hold the UNICEF Snowflake.

In preparation for its 2009 debut, the Snowflake will be inspected for damages. Any broken or damaged crystals will be replaced (a cold winter can take its toll!) and new engraved crystals will be installed.

The UNICEF Snowflake will reappear in mid-November; polished, rested and recharged for its light to be seen around the world.

Be sure to visit unicefsnowflake.org to learn more.

Take the TeachUNICEF survey

Last week we posted a survey to gather feedback and provide direction for the future development of TeachUNICEF. In the upcoming academic year TeachUNICEF will be developing K-12 resources as well as modifying the website. Your feedback is extremely important. What do you think of our resources? What global issues would you like TeachUNICEF to address? How can we improve our website? Please take a moment to answer the brief survey which consists of 15 questions at www.teachunicef.org.

Thank you!

Children on the run in Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Lately we've been focused on the crises in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The two quite different countries have something big in common at present"in both places children are suffering terribly as a result of very adult conflicts. Fierce fighting between government forces and militants has forced scores children and families to desperately flee their homes in search of safety.

pak1a-UNI58003.jpg
© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0508/Antonia Paradela
Pakistan, 2009: Children wait with their families to register at the Jalala Camp for the displaced in Mardan District in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), one of three camps created in the last week to accommodate people fleeing the current conflict.

In Pakistan, more than 1 million people have been displaced by the violence. Over half of those are children. Imagine what it's like being a child caught up (or running from) armed conflict. Adults you look up to are acting panicked. You hear guns being fired, bombs exploding nearby. You may see people wounded and contorted in pain. You may even see people you love killed.

New teachers' resources on gender equality

TeachUNICEF resources

TeachUNICEF posted a new Middle and High School unit: Doly's Story: Adolescent Girls Take Action. This free standards-based interdisciplinary unit introduces students to ways local organizations for adolescent girls are helping to promote gender equality throughout the world. Doly's Story: Adolescent Girls Take Action contains a video case study, two lesson plans, visual aids, and handouts for small group work.

In lesson one, students watch a video case study about a girl named Doly from Bangladesh and learn about her work in a Dhaka neighborhood. In lesson two, students will read and discuss case studies about promoting gender equality. Each case study highlights the work of an adolescent girl and a supporting organization. Service tips and extension activities are provided throughout the units.

To download Doly's Story: Adolescent Girls Take Action for free, click here. For more units and lessons plans, please visit teachunicef.org.

Kristof commentary aligns with 'Zero'

The biggest barrier to solving a problem is often not fully grasping its nuances and complexities. That's why the opinion pieces by acclaimed New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof are so important when trying to understand global poverty and the strategies devised for alleviating it. While ending global poverty may sound like "pie-in-the-sky" optimism, Kristof's ability to demystify the problems that hinder sustainable development goes a long way toward helping correct them.

Kristof's latest installment of dispatches center around his third "win-a-trip" contest

Obama calls for steps that will help us get to "zero"

President Barack Obama has announced that his Administration is crafting a comprehensive Global Health Initiative. He is seeking an integrated approach to global health that will include, in his words, efforts "to combat diseases that claim the lives of 26,000 children each day." He intends to invest in measures to "reduce mortality of mothers and children under five, saving millions of lives."

Hero or Zero?

"From zero to hero""we're all probably familiar with the concept. Even as children, with towels standing in as our billowing capes, and hole-punched newspaper for our custom-fitted masks, we aspire to rise from zero to hero.

But UNICEF is putting a spin on this idea by presenting zero as the new hero. Zero is what it means to save lives. You see, everyday, 25,000 children die from preventable diseases. UNICEF is working to get that number to zero. One way is through the TAP project, which raises money to get safe, clean drinking water to kids around the world. So it turns out that everyday heroes"like TAP project volunteers" believe in zero.

Hero or Zero? You no longer have to choose.

Faces of Freedom photo exhibit

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF and RugMark Foundation USA are cosponsoring Faces of Freedom, a photography exhibit touring North America throughout 2009. This collection of photographs, taken by acclaimed documentary photographer U. Roberto Romano, depicts illegal child labor in South Asia's handmade rug industry and RugMark's innovative efforts to eradicate it.

Visit facesoffreedom.rugmark.org for the complete exhibition calendar and a preview of the photos.
© facesoffreedom.rugmark.org
Visit facesoffreedom.rugmark.org for the complete exhibition calendar and a preview of the photos.

Every day, 25,000 children die from preventable causes, simply because they don't have access to clean water, immunizations, proper nutrition, or protection from exploitation and during emergencies. The lifesaving work of UNICEF and likeminded organizations such as RugMark are bringing us closer and closer to the day when the number of children dying from preventable causes is finally zero.

Faces of Freedom will be on public display in the San Francisco Design Center from May 13 to June 13, as well as the Danny Kaye Visitor's Center, located in the lobby of UNICEF House in New York City, from September 23 to October 16. Visit facesoffreedom.rugmark.org for the complete exhibition calendar and a preview of the photos.

Pages