Wednesday, April 25, 2007
On April 25, 2007, Rachel Swanson, program coordinator of the Volunteer Services at UNICEF, gave an informative and creative speech regarding UNICEF, its goals, and volunteer opportunities. As students were enjoying their punch and cookies, Ms Swanson began her presentation by calling up ten volunteers to the front of the room. She asked them to take a guess as to what percentage of the world’s population of children survive on less than two dollars a day. The answer: thirty-three percent of the world’s population is children, and fifty percent of those children’s families earned less than two dollars a day. This activity was meant to illustrate the purpose and objectives of UNICEF.
With the aid of her PowerPoint slides, Ms Swanson talked about the history behind the organization and how it came into existence. UNICEF, which stands for the United Nations Children’s Fund, began in 1946 to help those people all over the world who suffered from such problems as malnutrition and disease as a result of World War II. Their mission eventually changed to include meeting the needs of every child around the world and helping to expand their opportunities. An important document she mentioned was the “Convention on the Rights of the Child,” which stated the rights that every child was entitled to, including “the right to survival” and “the right to develop to the fullest.”
UNICEF works to protect these rights for all children through the work that they do. The organization provides support to children in the following areas: immunization, education, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and emergencies. UNICEF helps countries where children are iodine-deficient. Originally 110 countries had suffered from iodine deficiency, but with UNICEF’s aid, the number went down to 54 nations. Ms Swanson then discussed two activities established by UNICEF: “School in the Box,” and “Kick AIDS out of Kenya.” “School in the Box” helps communities that lack a school for children. UNICEF volunteers attend to the community’s children with a case that contains pencils, erasers, and all materials that are needed to educate the children in that community. People who participate in “Kick AIDS out of Kenya” attend soccer games in Kenya and educate girls who play at these games about AIDS/HIV and how to protect themselves from contracting this disease.
Ms Swanson then informed students about the many ways to get involved with UNICEF. She spoke about the website that students can log onto for volunteer opportunities, and also that UNICEF has advocacy and educational groups in which Pace students can participate.
This event was co-sponsored by Golden Key International Honur Society and the UNICEF C.H.I.L.D. Project (C.H.IL.D being the acronym for Cause: Hope, Inspire, Live, Dream) and was held in Butcher Suite. If you are interested in joining the UNICEF club, stop by the Honors College office.