May 2003
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DO something and make a difference this summer
By Farah Kurji, SNN Editor, Hugh Boyd Secondary, Richmond, BC

Even after an end to the war in Iraq children are facing a threat to their well-being; change is needed fast.

Since the war ended, UNICEF has supplied water equipment, medicine, food and "School-In-a-Box" kits. However, there is still much to do as UNICEF appeals for $166 million to help the Iraqi children. To date about one-third of these funds have been allocated through various campaigns run by volunteers.

UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy reported that, "Iraq's future depends on the health and well-being of its children. At the moment we are failing them. They should be our first priority not only in words, but in action. And frankly I'm not seeing nearly enough action for children."

Another main priority for UNICEF is to get Iraqi children back in to schools as soon as possible. "School-In-A-Box" kits have been packed and contain basic necessities for the opening of temporary schools. Each kit contains pencils, paper, chalkboards, bags and instructional aids to support 80 children. As of March 2003 sixty percent of girls and fifty percent of boys did not attend secondary school.

"Nothing will do more to immediately improve the well-being and protection of Iraq's children than getting them back in the classroom," Bellamy said. "Classrooms give children a positive focus, they allow the sharing of vital information, they keep children off the streets, they protect them from exploitation, they relieve parents and help them focus on their own recovery."

Unless priority is put on protecting children in Iraq, thousands of Iraqi children will be denied an education and more importantly they will be threatened by disease, abuse and exploitation, causing many to die. These children need your help!

So what can you do to help this summer with time off? UNICEF relies heavily on their volunteers in this fight in Iraq, as it does not take a lot to do a little. Here are some ideas:

  • Car washes
  • Concerts
  • Bake sales
  • Dances
  • Garage sales
  • Bottle drives

If you'd like to learn more contact the local UNICEF office in your community.


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