PROJECT AND ART EXHIBITION
celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations
Project Spotlight: Esperanza in Spades in Ecuador
by Elisabeth Philippe
“It does not matter where we help. Children in need have no nationality, no borders,” said Genoveva Wallach in espousing the UNWG Secretariat Group’s mission across hundreds of projects. Grupo deAcción Social Esperanza - Valle de Los Chillos in Fundacion Alinambi, in Conocoto, an impoverished area near Quito, Ecuador, which she visited recently, offers a ready example.
The Foundation provides education, training and shelter to nearly 200 children ages 2-to-14, many whose parents are in prison. With a clear goal to move street kids into a safer environment, the grassroots organization marks its 20-year anniversary this year. The Foundation has proven that it is not only sustainable, but it is also giving children a better chance at life. Based on the number of gardening, sewing and carpentry projects that line the facility, the youth gain skills and reveal talents even they might have thought unimaginable. By recycling paper, they have even produced cards for sale.
Lessons of responsibility, respect for justice, human equality and the value of diversity, have taken hold like the firm roots of the vegetables and fruits cultivated in the 2,500 m2 of farmland. Homeless children receive shelter and through the efforts of Lorenzo Jumbo, Founder, remain with their siblings – a situation unique among orphanages in the region. UNWG Secretariat Group’s fundraising initiatives put food on the tables and stock ingredients for the bakery. Other funds enable the children to make school uniforms out of newly-purchased fabric and produce woodwork. Resources remain scarce, however, and this is why our support is vital.
While nutrition tends their bodies, moral values their spirits and classroom activities their minds, it is the personal interaction with a group of dedicated women in the area who have lunch with the children at least once a month who perhaps have made the most indelible impression. “The children love it,” said Genoveva, who like many internationally-based volunteers, visits every year.
“We like to go and make a point of it,” she said. “We put a ‘face’ to the project and importantly, children understand that while we are many miles away, there are 200 women like me who care for them.”
Thousands of Syrian children fleeing country alone, UN agency warns.
Over half of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are children
Photo courtesy of Reuters
20 September 2013 – More than 4,000 Syrian children have crossed borders into neighbouring countries without parents or adult relatives, the United Nations children’s agency said today, warning that without the protection of guardians, they remain extraordinarily vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson Marixie Mercado told journalists in Geneva that many of the children “were working to provide income back to families, and were desperate to get back to school.”
Of the 4,150 Syrian children identified and registered, at least 1,698 are in Lebanon where in the Beka’a Valley area, many are swept up and used for agricultural child labour. In Iraq, the UN agency estimated that there were 300 newly arrived, unaccompanied and separated children in the north. Jordan is home to about 1,170 children, including some as young as nine-years-old. Most of these children, Ms. Mercado said, are in Za’atari camp, which despite being a makeshift camp housing more than 120,000 people is Jordan’s fourth largest city. “Each of those children had witnessed, or been a victim of horrific levels of violence,” Ms. Mercado said, adding that some children ran for their lives from the fighting, while others went to find relatives who had earlier left. Still others were being sent away to avoid conscription.
UNICEF was working with partners to identify the children and make sure they are being protected, as well as to provide medical, psychosocial and educational support. She told a story of 11-year-old Aya who lived with her uncle in a settlement in an almond orchard, taking care of her younger siblings. “She started going to UNICEF-supported recreational activities, and last Thursday, for the first time, she spoke about seeing her father hacked to pieces in front of her,” Ms. Mercado said.
In New York today, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos voiced the hope that Syria’s agreement to hand over its chemical weapons would prompt countries to pledge more money for the world body’s relief efforts
50 years of the United Nations Women's Guild Calendar Towels
The United Nations Women’s Guild is a voluntary organization of women connected to the United Nations that works for the benefit of children in need around the world. The Guild, a non-profit, charitable organization has been sustaining small programs and raising funds for children in need mainly in developing countries for over 63 years. Your purchase of this Calendar Towel, which is sold along with other items at the UNWG Gift Shop located in the visitors' section at United Nations Headquarters in New York, as well as through mail orders, enables UNWG to continue this important work. Click the button below for a slideshow of 50 Years of our Calendar Towels.