Canadian humanitarian's life-saving boots inducted into the Bata Shoe Museum
TORONTO, Nov. 1, 2012 - After travelling over 100,000 km through some of the most dangerous, remote and devastated parts of the developing world to deliver life-saving supplies to tens of thousands of children in need, a special pair of boots owned by Canadian Nigel Fisher, the current Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Haiti, were inducted today into the Bata Shoe Museum.
The induction was celebrated by the boot's former owner alongside David Morley, President and CEO, UNICEF Canada and Sonja Bata, Founding Chairman of the Bata Shoe Museum. The event coincides with the organization's latest national campaign "No Child Too Far" that highlights the impact Mr. Fisher and other Canadians working for UNICEF have had in saving the lives of the world's most vulnerable children.
"These boots represent the commitment of the UNICEF team, past and present, to do whatever it takes to reach the poorest, most vulnerable children in the world. Since we opened our first Canadian office in 1955, everything we've worked towards has been led by the belief that every child deserves every opportunity - without exception," said Morley. "We're tremendously honoured today to celebrate the dedication of UNICEF staff like Nigel and the generosity of Canadians who, like us, believe nowhere is too far to go to make sure a child survives."
In celebration of the induction, for every new email signup to UNICEF Canada's No Child Too Far campaign, a life-saving tetanus vaccine will be donated by BD-Canada.
Impact on millions of children
Mr. Fisher's boots have witnessed some harrowing moments over his 30 years with the UN and UNICEF. These include navigating through the perilous rubble of Port-au-Prince after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and negotiating with the Afghan government, the opposing Northern Alliance and the international coalition to ensure the polio vaccination campaign could proceed in Afghanistan following the start of a bombing campaign during the war that broke out in the fall of 2001. They were with Nigel as he visited a UNICEF-supported shelter for girls in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo, who had been brutally raped by militias, some of them captured for years, many with babies and again while he trekked across central Afghanistan in 2002 to visit the first schools for girls in remote communities and newly-opened health centres accessible to women for the first time.
"To have been a part of an organization that has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization is truly an honour and we're grateful for the Bata Shoe Museum's recognition and the unique opportunity to share this with Canadians through the induction of my boots," said Fisher. "As we celebrate UNICEF's past accomplishments, it also gives us a chance to reaffirm our commitment to reducing the number of daily preventable child deaths from 19,000 to zero with the help of generous Canadians everywhere."
The induction of the boots comes a day after National UNICEF Day, the organization's largest fundraising drive to raise money for millions of children around the world who rely on UNICEF's support for critical, life-saving resources.
"The Bata Shoe Museum is delighted to accept Nigel Fisher's boots worn during his many global UNICEF missions bringing life saving supplies to millions of needy recipients, said Mrs. Bata. "We are pleased that they will become part of our permanent collection of notable people who have made a difference in our world."
Many Canadians typically associate UNICEF with the "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" campaign that began in 1955 that raised over $100 million, thanks in large part to the generations of children who brought the iconic orange box with them on Halloween night. Starting in 2006, the campaign moved online to make it easier for Canadians to donate. Canadians can also support UNICEF year round by purchasing a 'Survival Gift', a selection of 54 aid and development items essential for child survival and development like vaccines, clean water kits, books and play items like soccer balls and art kits. For those interested in make a long-term commitment, monthly donor opportunities are also available.
Fisher's boots will be on display along with traditional footwear worn by children from around the world, including India, North Africa and Afghanistan. The 'Snapshot Exhibits' will be located on the B1 level of the Bata Shoe Museum from November 1st to November 25th.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, and food security, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.
For more information about UNICEF, please visit unicef.ca.