NEW YORK, 30 April 2020 – Climate activist Greta Thunberg today launched a child rights driven campaign with Danish NGO Human Act to support UNICEF’s efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic and protect children from its direct and knock-on consequences. These include food shortages, strained healthcare systems, violence and lost education.
“Like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child-rights crisis,” said Thunberg. “It will affect all children, now and in the long-term, but vulnerable groups will be impacted the most. 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.”
The campaign is being launched with an initial donation on behalf of Human Act and the Greta Thunberg Foundation to UNICEF of $200,000. Greta Thunberg was recently awarded for her global activism by Human Act who granted her foundation the prize money of $100,000. This sum will now go to UNICEF along with an additional $100,000 from Human Act.
“With hundreds of millions of children out of school, lacking proper handwashing facilities, and missing out on essential vaccines, UNICEF’s life-saving work for children all over the world has never been more critical,” said David Morley, President & CEO of UNICEF Canada. “Like Greta, Canadians can join us to help give every child the childhood they deserve.”
Canadians can make a difference in the fight against COVID-19 by texting code “UNICEF” to 45678 to donate $10 to reach and help millions of children around the world.
Proceeds from the campaign will go directly towards UNICEF’s emergency programmes to fight COVID-19, including through the provision of soap, masks, gloves, hygiene kits, protective equipment, life-saving information and other support to healthcare systems.
A report issued this month by the United Nations warned that children risk being among the biggest victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. While children have been largely spared from the direct health effects of the disease up to this point, the crisis is having a profound effect on their overall wellbeing. All children, of all ages and in all countries, are being affected, in particular by the socio-economic impacts and, in some cases, by the mitigation measures implemented to stem the spread of the disease.
UNICEF’s global COVID-19 response focuses on working with partners to help reduce the transmission of the virus and mitigate its impact on children while ensuring that essential services for children continue. This includes:
- Ensuring access and availability of key supplies and services for children, women and vulnerable populations.
- Scaling up messages about handwashing with soap.
- Supporting governments with the procurement of personal protective equipment for health care workers, including gowns, gloves and masks as well as oxygen concentrators and medicines.
- Supporting distance learning opportunities for children who can’t access school.
- Providing mental health and psychosocial support to children and families affected.
- Helping maintain essential immunization and other services for children.
“The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest struggle the world has seen in generations,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “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. 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.”
Notes to editors
Multimedia content can be downloaded here.
About the campaign
Access the campaign landing page here: www.unicef.org/coronavirus/join-greta
About Human Act Foundation
Human Act is a Danish NGO working internationally to fight extreme poverty and to promote freedom, peace and justice for all.