Holiday Gifts That Give Kids a Better Future
All children have the right to dream big. But in the world's toughest places, the past couple of years have reduced the dreams of a better future to a mere bid for survival in the present. They're held back by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the continued threat of climate change and natural disasters and the forced displacement from homes and communities.
What does a better present look like for these children? It is one where their communities get vaccines, soap and safe water to protect them from diseases including COVID-19, and good nutrition that's crucial for a healthy start to life. And, of course, kids won't ever see a brighter tomorrow if they can't get an education today.
This holiday season as we reflect upon the joy of having close friends and loving family, let's all remember the vulnerable children who need a reason to hope. By dedicating an Inspired Gift to someone on your holiday list, you can help UNICEF deliver supplies kids in need so often do without. Priced at just $50, the Bundle of Hope comes with therapeutic food to treat malnutrition, vaccines, water purification tablets, soap, pencils and exercise books. It's everything children need to grow healthy and keep learning.
With Inspired Gifts, you can make a life-changing difference in honor of friends and loved ones who feel just as strongly as you do that every child deserves to survive and thrive. In addition to the Bundle of Hope, the Inspired Gifts collection offers all the necessities of a healthy and fulfilling childhood: winter clothes to keep children living in temporary settlements warm, school supplies, medicine, nutritious food, shelter and much more.
Celebrate the holidays by giving kids the gift of hope.
Children need our help because when any disaster strikes, they pay the heaviest price. The 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Haiti that rocked the southwestern departments of Sud, Grand’Anse and Nippes on August 14, 2021, has been no exception. An estimated 1.2 million people have been affected, including 540,000 children, including the young boy from Latibolière above.
Even before the earthquake, Haiti was one of the hardest places in the world to be a child. It's a constant struggle for families to protect their children from high malnutrition rates, displacement caused by gang-related violence and, for nearly two years, the ongoing effects of COVID-19. But now Haitian children whose families lost everything are in even greater jeopardy. In the three areas devastated by the earthquake, nearly 50 percent of health care facilities lost water services, and some 60 percent of residents lost access to safe water.
Thanks to its global humanitarian warehouse, which can ship supplies anywhere in the world within 72 hours, UNICEF hit the ground running to provide relief to those affected by the earthquake. UNICEF and partners rapidly mobilized to truck safe water to devastated communities and provide emergency family water and hygiene kits, including water purification tablets, soap and handwashing supplies, to protect children from contagious, waterborne diseases.
UNICEF relies upon generous donor support to provide these lifesaving essentials in Haiti. The UNICEF Inspired Gifts Emergency Relief Collection includes several kits that ensure UNICEF can continue to help Haiti's families recover and stay ready to respond whenever and wherever the next disaster strikes.
Another crisis your Inspired Gifts purchases can help alleviate for children this Giving Tuesday is the resurgence of polio. More than 90 percent of the world's population is now free of the wild poliovirus. But to ensure everyone's continued safety, UNICEF and partners maintain strict vigilance in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where fluctuating vaccination rates still expose children to the highly infectious, paralyzing and sometimes fatal disease. In early 2020, when COVID-19 kept parents from bringing their children into vaccination centers, UNICEF, WHO, USAID, Rotary International, the CDC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation redoubled their efforts to immunize young children like the boy and girl pictured above from the southern DRC.
Between October 2020 and April 2021, UNICEF helped vaccinate close to 6 million children, many of whom are soon due for their next dose. To help the Congolese government prepare for the upcoming national vaccination campaign amidst ongoing COVID-19 concerns, UNICEF is assisting with both vaccine purchasing and roll out while helping to upgrade the country's cold chain equipment and convince parents that the threat of a polio surge makes vaccinating their children more important than ever.
Total immunity against polio requires the vaccination of every child in every household — and you can help. The Inspired Gifts collection features polio vaccines plus all the other immunizations against life-threatening yet preventable diseases no child should be without. The Immunization Collection includes measles vaccines for $41, as well as others that guard against tuberculosis and yellow fever.
Every disaster includes a set-back for children's education. An entire generation of children has seen its education interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those especially vulnerable are children who lived in crisis even before the pandemic hit.
Asal (above) fled with her parents to Afghanistan when she was only a toddler. Since then, the family has spent much of her early years traveling to Turkey, Greece, Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia, where they now plan to settle as winter sets in. Her father worked as an engineer in Kabul before safety threats forced the family to pull up stakes. Despite the difficulties of raising their children on the move, Asal's mother, a college-educated woman who speaks five languages, has big ambitions for her daughter, which the six-year-old shares. "I am happy to go to school today. I like drawing the most. My mother taught me English, and now I will learn Bosnian," says Asal, who feels well-equipped thanks to her new UNICEF school bag stuffed with supplies. "When I grow up, I want to be a doctor.”
In response to COVID-19, a new Inspired Gift was released to provide all the necessary supplies children need to learn and stay healthy and safe. Just $60, this bundle of supplies includes water purification tablets, a sealable water bucket, soap, exercise books, pencils and even a solar-powered radio to connect kids who are working from home or in a classroom with educational broadcasting.
Following years of conflict in Syria, causing displacement and depleted financial resources, many uprooted children like Khalaf, 6, Marasil, 8, and Jalal, 6, (above) have returned to their homes. The children have relied mainly on humanitarian assistance for their basic need since fleeing violence in Sinjar, a southeastern town in rural Idlib, nearly four years ago with their mother, 39-year-old Siham.
“Although I’m grateful to be back home, our situation is tough,” says Siham. “This winter has been very cold, but now the children are so happy to have these new clothes that should keep them warm."
Right now, UNICEF is delivering clothes, blankets and other assistance to families in Syria and other countries across the Middle East and North Africa, and you can help. A UNICEF Inspired Gift of warm winter clothing for a child ranges from $26 for a set sized for an infant to a $65 set for a 16-year-old, including a jacket, trousers, fleeces, strong shoes or boots, a scarf and a hat.
Yeshialem Gebreegziabher, above, holds her daughter, Kalkidan Yeman, at Aby Adi Health Center in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, where fighting drove the mother and her two children from their home in Humera last December. From February to August this year, there has been a 100 percent increase in Tigray children under age 5 admitted for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) treatment — an estimated 18,600 compared to 8,900 in 2020. Gebreegziabher's 6-month-old is one, but thanks to treatment with Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food in the health center's stabilization unit for severely malnourished children, the baby significantly improved after just four days. UNICEF estimates that over 100,000 children in Tigray could suffer from life-threatening SAM in the next 12 months. In response, UNICEF has been providing nutrition supplies to accessible health centers, screening and treating children.
This Giving Tuesday, you can help by sending an Inspired Gift of good nutrition. A two-month supply of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food costs just $55. Also available: High Energy Biscuits, packed full of vitamins and minerals, protein, fiber, iron and healthy fats, as well as Therapeutic Milk, which is used in emergency feeding centers, refugee camps and hospitals.
Take action this holiday season by giving kids the gift of hope.
Photos from top: After years of conflict and displacement, the needs of Syrian children and their families have only grown with COVID-19 and the nation’s economic downturn. As winter sets in, children like Khalaf, 6, Marasil, 8, and Jalal, 6, who live in Sinjar in southeastern rural Idlib with their mother, Siham, are among those facing the most dire conditions. UNICEF delivers warm winter clothing and supplies to help them and all vulnerable children facing a cold winter. © UNICEF; © UNICEF/UN0512060/Crickx; © UNICEF/UN0510806/ZIAVOULA; © UNICEF/UN0535333/Djemidzic; © UNICEF/UN0497230; © UNICEF Ethiopia/2020/Mulugeta