UNICEF- Helping Children and Seeing the Future

Ian Hua, Assistant Copy Editor

The future is a perplexing prospect. There are many things we see today that thrill us and make us hope for the future, such as incredible developments in technology and medicine, but the future could also be regarded with dread—living in a dystopian world with political corruption, moral strife, overarching poverty, environmental problems and war. Even so, many people and organizations still have hope for the future, and work dutifully to try to better it. MacDuffie is no stranger to such a mindset, as is visible in efforts for community service, equality, and environmental awareness through various clubs. This year, another such organization has recently come to MacDuffie to help improve our current and future world: UNICEF.

UNICEF, or the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, works towards helping all children receive basic necessities and education. According to the official UNICEF website, the organization believes that “All children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential—to the benefit of a better world.”

UNICEF High School clubs are a small part of UNICEF’s vast outreach (the organization works in 190 different countries and territories), but their job is significant: to “educate, advocate, and fundraise.” To UNICEF, High School clubs contribute work that is vital to UNICEF’s ability to save children.”

The UNICEF club at MacDuffie was started by Junior Cindy Nguyen, who has some background with helping and serving children. She said in an interview that “my family is… very connected with the charity work, and I’ve also been on some UNICEF trips to Africa.” Because of her firsthand experience with aiding those in need, Nguyen said, “I wanted to implement something on our community that will… inspire people to help others.”

Now that UNICEF is at MacDuffie, Nguyen has plans to “educate, advocate, and fundraise.” The community has already seen one fundraiser, the “Legendary Rap Battle” last Halloween, and there are going to be plenty more.

Nguyen said “UNICEF has a theme… every month, and then based on that theme we develop different events, like for [October] it is trick or treat for UNICEF, because of the Halloween theme.” Nguyen also said other months have various themes geared towards “raising awareness for children’s health all over the world.”

In describing personal goals for the actual members in the club, Nguyen said, “We have a very new group of people, [and] not everyone knows each other, so I just want the members to be… united together, and be more involved in different activities of UNICEF.” She says that the club is “on the right track,”  and believes “if we can strengthen the connection in the group then for next year it will be so much better.”

Club advisor and English teacher, Meaghan Quinn, also agrees, believing that unity in purpose and beliefs will strengthen the club and allow it to make a substantial difference.

Making a difference is the goal of many, but UNICEF is unique in focusing primarily on children in order to accomplish this. Not only does it focus on temporal needs of children in the present, but UNICEF also works to improve children’s education and overall life quality to give them a fair chance at life in the future.

Nguyen added, “Everyone has different goals and dreams—some want to be scientists… and some want to just help the world, and…especially for people who don’t have a proper healthcare and stuff… if we do something about it, they might come up to be… a good person.” Quinn reiterated this, saying that, though it seems cliche, children are our future. Thus, we should treat them as such.

After all has been said and done, all that remains is a need for help from others. While UNICEF does work with global powers and the United Nations, it’s still essential that the simple majority do their part to help.

For us at MacDuffie, we can easily put forth effort to help the UNICEF club here. Nguyen said that in fact, even though High School clubs are a very small part of the whole organization, the money that they make accounts for about 30% of all UNICEF receives and uses to serve. Therefore, a simple donation or small amount of time can go a long way.

While we hear similar advice often, it is still sometimes hard to commit, even for a brief period of time. In addressing this, Nguyen said, “People have to grow an interest to helping people; that’s why we’re educating people…a lot of people talk, but not a lot of people actually [do what they say].

So then, what must we do? According to C.S. Lewis, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”

Nguyen agrees, saying “Everyone has big dreams and goals, and they say they want to help others in the future, but then, I think the biggest setback is…their personal life. They might not have enough time, they might not have enough commitment to actually help people…  so I feel like if people overcome that and make it as a part of their life, then a lot can be changed.”

The concept and the belief that human rights should be given to all children drives UNICEF towards its goal. For this, our help is needed. Among all of the discord and tragedy today, try to look into the future. Strive to connect with children in all communities around the world along with UNICEF in order to better their lives now, and our lives then.

The UNICEF official logo. Image from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:UNICEF_Logo.png