OTTAWA, Dec. 9, 2014 /CNW/ - In a year of unprecedented humanitarian crises with children affected by conflict and health emergencies from West Africa to the Middle East, this holiday season UNICEF is calling on Ottawa residents to continue their generous support of children through the organization's Survival Gifts program. Last year, Ottawa residents purchased 1,478 life-changing gifts, totaling $57,904 to help vulnerable children, with the most popular gift among Ottawans being Soccer Balls.
"The warm hearts and generosity of the people of Ottawa has made a significant difference in the lives of children around the world. We're so grateful for the opportunity to provide people with unique and life-saving options for gifts," says Sharon Avery, UNICEF Canada's Chief Development Officer. "Ottawa continues to be a vital supporter of children around the world with every purchase of gifts like Plumpy'Nut, bed nets and school supplies."
"It's wonderful to hear from families that sit down with their children and choose education gifts like school books and supplies to give to teachers and mosquito nets or immunizations to give to a family member who works in health care. It's a great way to teach children about generosity and talk with them about how children live in other parts of the world, while changing the lives of children in need," says Avery.
In Ontario, residents sent 19,507 Survival Gifts to children in need in 2013, totaling $758,394. And, overall Canadians sent 41,922 gifts, valued at more than $1.8 million, to vulnerable children across the globe.
Most popular gifts with Ottawa residents:
- Soccer Balls – At $14, each purchase provides two soccer balls to help children in developing countries. Ottawa residents purchased 118, which provided 236 soccer balls for children. Gifts of sport teach teamwork and help heal the effects of trauma.
- Bed Nets – Ottawans provided 86 packs of bed nets in 2013. For only $9, this gift provides two bed nets that help to protect four children from mosquito bites that cause malaria, one of the leading killers of children under age five.
- Literacy Pack – In 2013, Ottawa residents purchased 71 of these packs. Each Literacy Pack this year, at $42, reaches 19 children and includes 14 exercise books, 28 pencils and five storybooks.
Statistics and gifts that help—for the health care worker on your list:
Malnutrition: 50 per cent of childhood deaths under age five are caused by malnutrition
- 21 packets of Plumpy'Nut treats seven children with acute malnutrition ($10)
- A Baby Scale helps 150 babies by preventing malnutrition before it starts ($38)
Malaria: In 2013 alone, malaria killed 450,000 children under the age of five
- 10 Bed Nets help protect 20 children from deadly mosquito bites ($45)
- 113 Anti-Malaria Tablets help 19 children avoid the deadly disease ($11)
Water: 1,600 children die every day from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation
- Water Purification Tablets (2,857 tablets per purchase) will help 39 people ($19)
- A Local Water Pump for a community will help 3,000 people access clean water ($525)
Statistics and gifts that help—for the teacher or student on your list:
Education: 57 million children are not in school, reducing their chances of health and success
- Send a Child to School pays for education and supplies for one child ($80)
- A Literacy Pack with 14 exercise books, 28 pencils and five story books ($42)
Statistics and gifts that help—for the global citizen and activist on your list:
Birth Registration: One in three births is not registered, robbing children of health care, education and protection and putting them at risk of child labour and trafficking
- Birth Registration for 44 children ($30)
Child Marriage: More than 700 women alive today were married as children and girls remain at great risk
- The End Child Marriage gift funds community advocacy and improved education for girls ($100)
Child Soldiers: An estimated 300,000 children are engaged in armed conflict around the world
- Rehabilitate a Child Soldier gift provides social reintegration programs including education, vocational training and psychosocial counseling for a former child soldier ($94)
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, nutrition 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 www.unicef.ca.
Image with caption: "Soccer balls are a very popular gift in UNICEF's Survival Gifts Catalogue. Gifts of sport teach teamwork and help heal the effects of trauma. (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141209_C7383_PHOTO_EN_9199.jpg
SOURCE: UNICEF Canada
For further information: To arrange interviews or for more information please contact: Tiffany Baggetta, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8892, 647-308-4806 (mobile), [email protected]