From our classroom in NYC to 42 new classrooms around the world

March 21, 2012
Purvi Padia is a UNICEF Next Generation Steering Committee member Being the mother of an almost four-year-old boy, I thought it was important that he start understanding how fortunate he is and that it is his civic responsibility to give back to those who are less fortunate. Philanthropy and compassion are things I believe can be instilled at a very young age. I wanted to do this in a way he could relate to and thought what better way than giving him an outlet to help other children around the world.

© Purvi Padia | Preschoolers learning about School-in-a-Box

I thought the UNICEF School-in-a-Box was the perfect introduction to UNICEF for preschoolers. UNICEF's innovative School-in-a-Box helps set up a temporary school for at least 40 children during times of emergency. The box contains books, pencils, erasers, scissors, and even a radio, while the aluminum lid of the box doubles as a blackboard—literally allowing UNICEF to set up a school for children anywhere—whether it is in a tent or under a tree! Since the mid-1990s, UNICEF has delivered the School-in-a-Box to emergency situations all over the world, providing the chance for children to continue their education during the most extreme crises. So, I decided to implement a UNICEF/School-in-a-Box Week at my son's preschool and give children the opportunity to interact with the box and learn how it helps children around the world in times of disaster and crisis. We also created a zoom in and zoom out photo activity in class, where we showed the kids pictures and discussed how children live in other parts of the world. We also sent information home to all the parents advising them of the program and asking for their support. All parents also had the opportunity to see the School-in-a-Box and ask questions about the program and UNICEF. I was so excited about the response from the children, the parents and the entire school community. Everyone was very interested in the program and wanted to help. We raised over $10,500 that will help UNICEF provide over 42 School-in-a-Boxes. That's an amazing 1,693 children that will have the opportunity to continue a classroom/learning experience during an emergency. It was an awesome experience for an incredible cause! You can also help UNICEF provide a School-in-a-Box and other lifesaving supplies to children in emergency situation. Please visit: