Last week, Greta Thunberg was given $100,000 by Danish development organization, Human Act and this week, the Swedish climate activist and environmentalist decided to give the entire amount to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“I’m asking everyone to step up and join me in support of UNICEF’s vital work to save children’s lives, to protect health and continue education,” Thunberg said in a statement.
Last Thursday, Thunberg launched a campaign with Human Act to focus on children’s rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her campaign coincides with UNICEF’s efforts to protect vulnerable children from the pandemic’s impact.
“Like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child-rights crisis,” Thunberg added in an online statement.”It will affect all children, now and in the long-term, but vulnerable groups will be impacted the most.”
View this post on Instagram
Very honoured to receive Human Act Award. The prize money – 100 000 USD – will be donated to @unicef . @HumanActDk will match this donation with an additional USD 100,000 for the total sum of USD 200,000. So today we are launching a joint global funding campaign – Let’s Move Humanity for Children in the Fight Against Coronavirus – to support UNICEF´s efforts to protect and save children’s lives during the corona crisis. The poorest and the most vulnerable people are always the hardest hit by a crisis. Just like the climate crisis, the consequences of the corona pandemic will be most damaging for children in poor countries, in the poorest neighborhoods and for those already in disadvantaged and vulnerable situations. More than 1,5 billion children are today affected by school closures. This has a direct effect on millions of children and young people’s possibilities to learn, to a lunch meal and get access to water and sanitation. More than 300 million school children rrely on schools as a source of daily nutrition. Millions of children do not have access to distance learning. The digital divide is an example of global inequalities that affects the most vulnerable children. Even if children so far generally have been spared the most severe symptoms of the Covid-19 virus, children's lives and heath are already at risk. This is mainly due to lack of access to healthcare services – both for children and pregnant women – because of vaccination campaigns being suspended as well as lack of nutrition. With the global health care services becoming overwhelmed there will be many additional child deaths in 2020. This is a global crisis and for millions of children the impact will be life long. We need to act now – for the sake of every child. The time is now, and we need your help to protect children. Donate today at https://uni.cf/fight-coronavirus (link in bio). Thank you!
Human Act pledged to match Thunberg’s donation, contributing a further $100,000 to launch the campaign. Thunberg hopes the money will be funnelled through to support UNICEF’s efforts to protect children from food shortages, violence, strained healthcare systems, and lost school days.
A report released by UNICEF in mid-April revealed that up to 66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic, and that closed schools across 188 countries have prevented more than 1.5 billion children from attending schools and accessing education.
“What started as a public health emergency has snowballed into a formidable test for global development and for the prospects of today’s young generation,” the report stated.
It also revealed more than 350 million children who usually rely on school meals for their daily nutrition have been forced to find food from other sources. The challenge is compounded by the growing unemployment faced by adults, and the lockdown measures disrupting food supply chains and open food markets.
“The harmful effects of this pandemic will not be distributed equally,” the report stated. “They are expected to be most damaging for children in the poorest countries, and in the poorest neighbourhoods and for those in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations.”
Yemen, a country of almost 30 million, has only 208 ventilators. Last week, UNICEF revealed that more than five million children under the age of five will face heightened threats of cholera as the country continues to experience increased heavy rains.
UNICEF operates across 190 countries around the world and works to secure children’s rights, including their education, food, safety and wellbeing. The campaign between Thunberg, Human Act and UNICEF will provide soap, masks, gloves, hygiene kits, protective equipment and other essential items to the poorest, under-resourced countries.
Executive Director Henrietta Fore called the coronavirus pandemic “The greatest struggle the world has seen in generations.”
“Children and young people are among the most severely impacted by the knock-on effects of COVID-19, so it is only natural that they would want to do something about it,” Fore said in a statement. “Through her activism, Greta Thunberg has proven that young people are ready to take a stand and lead change in the world. UNICEF is very pleased that Greta and her supporters have not only chosen to take a stand against this pandemic, but to do so in partnership with UNICEF.”
Overnight, Fore posted an article on Twitter, highlighting the mental health consequences for children that “could far surpass the immediate health and economic impacts of the #COVID19 pandemic.”