A president, a business owner and a civil engineer. What could they possibly have in common?
They’re all the dreams of children; the people they hope to be when they grow up.
Sadly though, the impacts of war and natural disasters can shatter the dreams of millions of children around the world. Especially in disaster zones and the frontlines of conflict where children suffer first and suffer the most. This is when and where hope is often the hardest to find.
A crisis not only creates a dangerous environment for children to live in — it also makes them vulnerable to disease, malnutrition, violence, and poverty. Many children lose their homes, family members and can no longer attend school. They lose hope for their future.
Thanks to amazing UNICEF donors, big or small, we can respond with lifesaving supplies anywhere in the world, within 48 hours of an emergency. Delivering glimpses of hope amidst the devastation. Because of people just like you who give what they can, when they can, we’re able to have a presence in 190 countries around the world. So, we’re often already there when an emergency strikes, and we don’t leave. We’re there for the long haul helping to build brighter futures for kids and their communities.
So, what does hope look like?
Hope looks different for every child around the world. And the special thing is, hope not only encourages children to reach their dreams, but it allows them to support their families and communities too.
Daniella Kahambu in her new classroom at Nziyi Primary School.
For 12-year-old Daniella, hope looked like new classrooms after her school was destroyed during the eruption of the 2021 Nyiragongo volcano. She’s a student at Nziyi Primary School located in the northern city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With the support from UNICEF donors, new classrooms have been built and allow more than 380 students to study in good conditions.
“I was afraid that I would never study again to fulfill my dream of being president of the Republic. I am happy because I will soon finish my primary studies and go to secondary school to be president of the Republic. I would like to be president to finally put an end to the war and allow all children to go to school and study in safety," she says.
Sophia’s mum kisses her hand as she recovers at the specialised children's hospital ‘Okhmatdyt’ in the country’s capital of Kyiv.
For 13-year-old Sofia in Ukraine, hope came in the medical supplies and care that saved her life after being struck in a shelling attack. Doctors in the hospital performed her operation with the sound of explosions in the background. She’s now recovering and still dreaming of becoming a psychotherapist.
Hamada working at the handbag workshop in Hanano neighborhood, Aleppo city, Syria.
In Aleppo, Syria, a city that has been hit hard by the inhumane acts of war, 13-year-old Hamada works in a handbag workshop. He hopes to one day be a civil engineer. “There is no time to play or see my friends because I finish work at midnight,” he says.
Hamada works to support his family who has been forced to flee and move numerous times due to conflict. Despite his circumstances, Hamada is still filled with hope for the future. He attends a UNICEF-supported remedial class three times a week after he finishes school and before he goes to work. The class teaches science, math, Arabic, and English and helps him gain a deeper understanding of the subjects he finds challenging at school.
Hamada and other classmates at the remedial classes in the Hanano neighborhood.
“The teachers are able to simplify any complicated subject. It helps me understand the difficult lessons,” said Hamada. “I know I have to study really hard to become a civil engineer,” he added.
Maurine Gomba is now able to tell her story through her sign language.
Sixteen-year-old Maurine Gomba (left), in Bertoua, in the East of Cameroon attends Action for the Development and Entrepreneurship of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. An initiative funded by UNICEF that supports young girls to learn sign language and to become independent.
Maurine dreams of owning her own company one day.
“My biggest problem at home was that I could not communicate with my family. Therefore, I was pushed aside, deprived of attention and affection, and left alone. Communication with sign language is now my strongest asset. I can say what I want to say, express my feelings. I ask my friends and family to come and take lessons too so that we can understand each other better. My big dream is to have my own company where I can employ deaf and hard of hearing people.”
Aimata, a mother, attends a vaccine clinic in the Cook Islands with her son.
Closer to home in the Pacific, hope also came in the form of immunisations. These protect children against the rotavirus disease and the pneumococcal virus, two of the major causes of death for kids under five in the Pacific.
Tukeitaua's mum (pictured above) says she got her son vaccinated because she wanted him to have the best protection against the disease and virus.
300 emergencies a year
On average UNICEF responds to 300 emergencies every year. In 2021 alone donors helped us to respond to 483 humanitarian crises in 153 countries. These included:
104 natural disasters,
84 socio-political crises
226 health emergencies (including the COVID-19 pandemic response)
27 nutrition crises and 42 other critical crises.
A record number of people globally – 235 million – required humanitarian assistance in 2021, and that number is expected to rise to 274 million in 2022.
That’s a lot of kids with some extraordinary dreams that just need hope to know they can make it happen! The cool thing about hope is that it not only helps children get the future they deserve. It can come from anywhere and anytime, but it always starts with you. If you can, please join us today and donate to help deliver life-saving supplies to kids when they need it most.
Deliver hope in an emergency - when kids need it most