UNICEF receives Government of Canada support for health, education & protection programs in Syria and region

OTTAWA, April 13, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, at a press conference, The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced Government of Canada funding commitments for the Syrian crisis as part of the Syria Emergency Relief Fund, including more than $34 million for the United Nations Children's Fund's response in Syria and the surrounding region. David Morley, UNICEF Canada's President and CEO took part in today's announcement and had the following response:

"The Syrian crisis has put millions of children in the crosshairs of a conflict not of their making. Many of them have known nothing but violence and fear as an estimated one in three Syrian children were born since this crisis began. 

Five years of war have left an entire generation of children uprooted, at risk, and uncertain of their futures and the future of their country. Many have fled their homes, their schools have been destroyed and they have witnessed unspeakable violence. Those who fled Syria are living as refugees in camps and host communities and dream of peace so they can go home. Those still in Syria are living in a warzone. 

But there is hope. The ongoing generosity of Canada and Canadians from coast to coast to coast will be both life saving and life changing for millions of children.

Specifically, the funding announced by Canada will allow us to help the most vulnerable and the hardest to reach Syrian children with critical immunizations, life-saving support, and education and protection from violence.

We wouldn't be here today with this incredible opportunity to help so many more children and families if it wasn't for the broad generosity of Canadians from across the country. Canadians not only welcomed Syrian refugees here, but also opened their hearts to the millions of children and families suffering in Syria and the surrounding region. It is truly humbling how such a wide variety of Canadians answered our call for help: school children, parents, individual Canadians, private sector partners, and philanthropists who not only made individual donations, but reached out to inspire their communities and networks to donate as well. We should all be very proud of our collective efforts to do more and better for Syria's children."

UNICEF to reach millions of children with Canada's commitment

Today's announcement by the Government of Canada on their allocation of funding for the Syrian crisis response includes funding for UNICEF to reach millions of children with education, protection and life-saving programs:

  • $21.8 million for UNICEF to support up to 84 Makani centres in Jordan, which use an integrated approach to expand protection, learning and youth engagement opportunities for vulnerable children. Funding will provide up to 30,000 children with education opportunities, life-skills and psychosocial support services, as well as 19,600 vulnerable children currently ineligible for formal education with catch-up classes.
  • $6 million for UNICEF to increase education opportunities and provision of school supplies and self-learning material to 400,000 vulnerable children in Syria, including those living in hard-to-reach and besieged areas.
  • $4 million for UNICEF to support a nation-wide immunization campaign in Syria and help provide routine vaccination to up to 2.9 million conflict-affected at-risk children.
  • $2.35 million in grant funding to UNICEF to provide life-saving assistance to asylum seekers stranded at the Jordan/Syria border, commonly known as the "berm".

UNICEF's response to the Syria crisis

In 2015 alone, UNICEF and a large network of local and international partners were able to deliver assistance to millions of children in need inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.

Inside Syria, where UNICEF has close to 200 staff, UNICEF has ensured that:

  • More than 7.9 million people were provided with access to safe water.
  • Two rounds of polio vaccination campaigns reached more than 2.9 million children. No new polio cases have been reported in the country since January 2014.
  • More than one million children, including in hard to reach areas, accessed learning material through the printing and distribution of text books. This was done at a time when printing was no longer possible locally because of damage to infrastructure.
  • Nearly 841,000 children received psychological support.

In neighbouring countries—Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey—UNICEF and partners:

  • Provided more than 2.5 million people with safe drinking and domestic water.
  • Vaccinated more than 16 million children under five against polio.
  • Helped more than 630,000 refugee children enroll in formal education.
  • Provided more than 377,000 children with psychosocial support services
  • Provided around 184,000 children under five with multi-micronutrient supplements including Vitamin A.
  • Reached more than 139,000 children with winter supplies including blankets, clothes, heating supplies, cash and vouchers.

B-roll video and high-resolution photo resources about the Syrian crisis are available here

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. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.


Image with caption: "With today's announcement, the Government of Canada has made funding education a continued priority in its response to the crisis in Syria. As part of its package of support, Canada will be funding the distribution of UNICEF self-learning kits, seen here being distributed by UNICEF Representative in Syria, Hanna Singer, and UNICEF staff. (C) UNICEF/UNI198149/Soulieman (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160413_C6665_PHOTO_EN_664995.jpg

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), tbaggetta@unicef.ca


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