Every Child: 2021 UNICEF Newsletter

2020 – the year children needed you more than ever.

In times of crisis children always suffer the most. But throughout 2020, you were there transforming the lives of millions of children.

The year was marked by a dramatic increase in humanitarian needs, with the arrival of COVID-19, conflict and humanitarian disaster.

Throughout out all of these emergencies, you there helping children. Read on to learn how your donation helped children when they needed you most.

Yemen: You Stepped Up

Despite the horrors he’s been through, Shawqi is smiling again – and it’s thanks to you!  In 2020, Yemen’s ongoing conflict and the outbreak of COVID-19 quickly turned a crisis into a catastrophe.

One-year-old Shawqi nearly died, he was so weak and sick because of severe acute malnutrition. It was only thanks to his mother’s quick thinking and the amazing efforts of the staff at the nutrition clinic you help to support that Shawqi pulled through.

malnourished child
UNICEF Yemen/2020/Mahmoud Al-Falsatiny Shawqi Fahd. Shawqi (1) in the hands of his mother in the Maternal and Childhood Center in Zingibar, Abyan

Thanks to a donation like yours, Shawqi was given ready-to-use therapeutic food, which is a simple solution of peanut paste fortified with vitamins. It’s easy for children to eat and it doesn’t need to be cooked or mixed with water. Within a few days, a child as sick as Shawqi will start to feel better, within a few weeks they will be smiling and playing again. You never gave up on children like Shawqi.

With your help, we screened more than 2 million children under five for malnutrition. 154,891 of those children had severe acute malnutrition and were admitted to a therapeutic care, saving their lives.

Time and time again, your generosity has allowed us to step up our efforts and help protect communities from the worst effects of COVID-19.

You’ve been right there with us on the frontlines providing clean water to communities in need, and distributing basic hygiene kits. Throughout 2020, we faced a race against time to keep children alive but you were with us every step of the way.

COVID-19: How You Helped

Soap, clean water, life-saving messages on safe hygiene – you helped us reach millions of people in 2020, helping them to protect themselves and their families from the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus.

How do you stay safe from COVID-19 when you live in an overcrowded camp without soap like 10-year-old Muna does in Yemen? Muna tells us how!

Yemeni child filling up water can
Muna Zayed (right), 10, and her friend, Rahf, fill a jerry can at a water point in the Al Sha’ab camp in Aden. ©UNICEF/UNI324049

‘I go with my friend Rahaf to the main water tank to get water so my mother can cook for us. We go to get water together. We used to go to school together too before Coronavirus forced it to shut. Before I collect the water I wash my face. We try to keep the camp bathrooms clean to protect us from the virus.

‘We collect water quickly because if a crowd comes Coronavirus will spread. We have to wash our vegetables very carefully to protect ourselves. We also have to wash our hands very well. Even though we don’t have soap, we wash our hands well. I hope Coronavirus never comes to us.’

Lebanon: You’re Helping Children to Rise Again

Mira was at home in the early evening of August 4th when the Beirut port explosions hit her house.

‘When the impact hit, the first aid box exploded on my head,’ she remembers. ‘Then the door blew off its hinges. I remember that I just started screaming. My mother ran to me, pressed hard on my wound and gave me a drink of water so I wouldn’t faint.’

injured girl
Mira (10) with an injury on her head, receives a visit from UNICEF at her home in Beirut, Lebanon. © UNICEF/UNI360451/El Hage

The catastrophic explosion that tore through Beirut destroyed and damaged buildings across the city and left some 300,000 people, including 100,000 children without homes. It could not have come at a worse time as the country was gripped by a severe economic crisis and food shortages, made even worse by COVID-19.

But UNICEF was there to help – thanks to you. In the immediate aftermath of the blasts, UNICEF was on the ground in Beirut working with 70 partners to ease the lives of children. You continue to help us provide food and clean water to children, as well as help to deal with the mental trauma they have suffered.

You are also helping with emergency cash assistance for the most vulnerable and helping to rebuild damaged schools and health facilities. Thank you!

Syria: You Supported Syrian Mothers

When he was three, Anwar’s mother Haifa saved him from a rocket attack. She was six months pregnant at the time. For years after, as the family lived under siege, she battled every day to keep her children alive. ‘I will never forget, my children would ask me for food and I had absolutely nothing to give them,’ she says.

syrian siblings sit in their house
Siblings Anwar, 9, Nada, 6, and Mohammad, 3, are pictured at their one-room home in Erbin, Syrian Arab Republic. © UNICEF/UNI374874/Belal

Sometimes, all the family ate was grass. Today, Anwar is nine and has only ever known war. The room his family calls home is bare, with old carpets that scarcely cover the cold cement floor.

Their only source of warmth during the bitter cold winter months is a tiny stove. But a day doesn’t go by when Anwar and his siblings aren’t smiling, protected by the love of a mother who never stops fighting for them.

Despite everything she has been through, Haifa paints a strong and hopeful smile on her face and continues to care for her family, hoping to help them make a better future for themselves.

‘I wake up every morning thankful for having survived everything I have been through. I believe that tomorrow will be better,’ says Haifa.

During the past winter season, you helped UNICEF to support thousands of children inside Syria. Thanks to you they got warm clothing, blankets, food, water and hygiene supplies.

South Sudan: You Helped Jenty Smile Again

Eleven-month-old Jenty was a one of over a million children suffering from the ‘silent hunger emergency’ that gripped countries including South Sudan last year. Jenty was weak and listless when her mother Margret arrived with her at a centre funded by UNICEF.

The baby was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition. ‘She was given ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), and very quickly she got her energy back. You can see how much she likes it,’ says Marget. A donation like yours provided the peanut paste that saved Jenty’s life.

smiling little girl
Jenty is eating some of her RUTF while playing in the play area at a nutrition centre in Yambio. © UNICEF/UN0372529/Ryeng

At the nutrition centre Jenty attends, there is also a play area for children with a mix of bought and locally made toys. Regular workshops are also held to teach mothers and children how to make toys from locally available materials.

When children are malnourished, their brain development slows down. During play, the brain is stimulated, which is important for quicker recovery and better treatment outcomes.

With your help, we are now rolling out this programme across South Sudan. Thank you!

Donate Now

Unfortunately, millions more children are living in emergency situations. And now with the arrival of COVID-19, the situation is even more perilous.

Without your support, they’ll face illness without medicine, war without protection and hunger with no relief in sight.

Please donate what you can today.