The connection is real: Your purchase of a UNICEF Inspired Gift can change a child's life by bringing them the nutrition, medicine and learning materials they need to realize their full potential. Meet children below who are far better off thanks to vital supplies you can send in honor of a friend or loved one.
UNICEF relies on donor support to identify and treat severely malnourished children and provide other assistance to their families. Above, health workers at a UNICEF-supported hospital in Juba, South Sudan, check Afra, 2, who is recovering from malnutrition thanks to a regimen of therapeutic milk — an Inspired Gift option in the Nutrition category. After five years of civil war, malnutrition rates have reached critical levels as violence has displaced more than 4 million people, over half of them children. Afra's mother fled Bentiu with her and her siblings to escape the fighting. "Most of my family are up north, but my sister is here looking after my other children while Afra is getting help," Afra's mom, Theresa, says. "The doctors on duty say that in one day Afra is already looking better." ©UNICEF/UN0232173/Njiokiktjien VII Photo
Faozea is a 14-year-old refugee from the Central African Republic, where violence has displaced many children. She now lives in the Danamadja refugee camp in Chad, where UNICEF is helping her go to school and feel confident, no matter where she is in her monthly cycle. In many countries, schools lack the supplies and sanitation facilities girls like Faozea need. "It was hard for me to come to school when I had my periods," she explains, but that was before UNICEF provided her with personal hygiene supplies. Now, thanks to the reusable sanitary pads and detergent that come with every emergency family water and hygiene kit, Faozea can focus on what really matters. "It’s important for me to stay in school so that I can become a teacher." A Girls Empowerment Pack for $35 provides reusable pads, holders and storage pouches, enough for five girls to share. ©UNICEF/UN0122318/Faffin
UNICEF's annual distribution of warm clothing and other winter gear is already under way, aiming to reach kids and families facing hardship as temperatures drop to freezing. More support is needed to enable UNICEF to reach every child in need. Syrian refugee Hasan, 1, pictured above in his father's arms, received support through the program last winter. When UNICEF delivered supplies to protect him from the cold last winter, Hasan and his family had been living in an informal tent settlement in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley since fleeing Syria to escape the brutal civil war. @UNICEF MENA
Fatoumata of Bougouni, Mali, pictured above with newborn twin daughters Foune and Wassa, is the mother of five children, all of whom have received a full course of immunizations through a UNICEF-supported program. "All my five children are very healthy," she says. "It is because of the vaccines." The Inspired Gift of 100 doses of the measles vaccine, which costs just $40, is enough to protect 50 children and make this holiday far more meaningful for anyone on your list. ©UNICEF/UN0198195/Njiokikjtien VII Photo
UNICEF Inspired Gifts are a way for donors to support these efforts by purchasing supplies vulnerable children can't survive or thrive without.
Top photo: UNICEF is distributing warm clothing and other gear to Syrian refugee children and other kids in the Middle East and North Africa who are facing hardship this winter.