The U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s CEO and President, Caryl Stern, kicked off the Northwest Region’s Children’s Human Rights Seminar Series at Stanford on October 6th. Community members, donors, UNICEF high school clubs, and Stanford students and faculty were in attendance. The Children’s Human Rights Seminar Series took place on Stanford University campus and was open to the public. The series was a collaborative effort between U.S. Fund for UNICEF San Francisco through the Global Citizenship Fellow and FSI Stanford Program on Human Rights.
The series’ focus on children’s human rights sheds light on several global issues that hinder a child’s ability to survive and thrive. Children are an especially vulnerable population in society, who are often denied of their basic human rights: nutrition, access to clean water, sanitation, and education. UNICEF’s work reaches out to marginalized children in communities all over the world.
- Currently there are five level 3 emergencies happening around the world. UNICEF handles these escalated emergencies, such as Ebola, in addition to their developmental priorities across the globe. Because of this, now is a crucial time for education and advocacy on UNICEF’s work.
- 17,000 children die every day from preventable causes. Although UNICEF and its partners have helped halve that number while the population has tripled, Caryl states: “any number more than zero is unacceptable.” UNICEF is focused on issues beyond a child’s survival – UNICEF wants to build futures for these children.
Caryl ended her talk with a touching story which left several people teary-eyed. She sets the scene of a four-year-old child following her and the rest of her team around all day while they visited a Syrian refugee camp. Caryl soon realized that the child had not eaten so she gave him a biscuit from her lunch. As soon as the little boy had the biscuit in his hands, he immediately split it into three pieces and shared them with his two siblings. This little boy who had close to nothing was sharing his meager portion with his family. As Caryl so eloquently stated, “Each of us can find that one thing to make a difference.”