Agamemnon Stefanatos

Watch Agamemnon's Story: "I Owe This to UNICEF"

As UNICEF turns 70 years old this month, we are celebrating some of the people whose lives have been changed by our work over seven decades. Agamemnon Stefanatos is one of these people. Today, he gives to UNICEF to help children in need. More than 60 years ago, he was one of those kids himself.


On Aug. 12, 1953, a massive earthquake struck the Greek island of Cephalonia, killing more than a thousand people and reducing all but the north end to rubble. Agamemnon’s mother Angeliki, nearly nine months pregnant, managed to survive by clinging to a fig tree. She gave birth to her son 10 days later, but was too sick to nurse.


UNICEF brought supplies and it made all the difference. Watch the family’s story:




Angeliki, now 90, recalls how vital the UNICEF assistance was for her and her baby: “They gave me a big box with new clothes, food, cheese, milk, chocolate, biscuits. And a big hope was born.”


Agamemnon believes he would not have survived otherwise. “It is the reason why I am here today,” he says. “I owe this to UNICEF.”


Following a successful business career in Canada, Agamemnon recently returned to his native island to open a hotel. His daughter Katia, inspired by her grandmother's stories, went to work for UNICEF USA in New York in 2006.


“I give money to UNICEF because I know they are doing a good job,” Agamemnon says. “There are millions of children who need help. It is important to give — generously.”


UNICEF continues to provide aid to children when they need it most. Since 2010 alone, UNICEF has responded to an average of 290 humanitarian crises each year, ranging from natural disasters such as Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and earthquakes in Nepal and Ecuador to the Ebola crisis in West Africa and armed conflicts in Iraq, NigeriaSouth Sudan and Syria


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