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the modern student-run media outlet.

REINVENTING STUDENT JOURNALISM.

  • Writer's pictureVioleta Banica

UNICEF @ ISB

The 24th of October marks a monumental day for United Nations (UN) history. It represents unity and hope – a sentiment that is oftentimes much needed in a world that can seem cruel and unforgiving – and stands as a reminder of the UN’s origins. Although initially having only 51 founding members, the UN is celebrating their 78 year anniversary with 193 member states. 5 primary students together with 6 secondary students, including our elected head boys and girl, had the honour and privilege of visiting the UN House and getting to speak with Mrs. Anna Riatti, UNICEF Representative to Romania.


The younger children were enamoured with the array of trinkets they were given to remind them of this remarkable trip; a keychain, bracelet and notebook, while the older students felt the buzz of excitement of being in such an important institution. Mrs. Riatti highlighted on multiple occasions the importance of empowering and educating children and teenagers, and the excursion served to fulfil this goal entirely. Geared less towards being a ‘meeting’ and more towards being a discussion, the students were introduced to the critical importance of UNICEF’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and gave the children an opportunity to be their generation’s voice. After listening attentively to a simple explanation of the otherwise complex and indispensable workings of UNICEF, and an interactive game for the children to test their knowledge, Mrs. Riatti began a riveting discussion regarding UNICEF’s ambitions and current concerns.


Among other projects, UNICEF is working to ensure that there are enough services for children at a local level; Romania has a solid framework, taking in consideration laws and regulations and also the fact that it is a more economically developed country (MEDC), meaning the funds are technically existent, but the implementation of laws can sometimes still be lacklustre, and it is important to monitor the allocation of resources. In the education department, UNICEF works tirelessly to promote inclusion in mainstream schools for children with disabilities and ethnic differences, guarantee education for as many children as possible, develop emergency programs for refugee children to ensure they continue receiving an education, all while promoting civic engagement.


When asked by a younger student if she “makes children happy”, Mrs. Riatti herself couldn’t resist a soulful smile. UNICEF’s values are mirrored in her gentle words and firm actions – the sensation of knowing you’ve connected with someone and marked their life for even a moment is unparalleled. Everyone who has had contact with such an experience has an immediately noticeable readiness to help.


Mrs. Riatti urged us to get involved with the community around us. We are the captains of our ship – change begins with us. Whether that be by volunteering to help those in need, or holding leaders accountable when necessary, 2030 is just six years away – the date by which UNICEF’s goals are expected to be met. Progress is steadily being made, but change does not always come easily. At a recent SDG Summit, it was recognized that the pace at which progress is being made is not rapid enough. Unexpected challenges, including government commitment and financial resources, have stunted progress. There is a perceived period of austerity that further places UNICEF and its goals in jeopardy. With governments trying to minimize the amount of money going to the social sector, it is important now more than ever to advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals and communally contribute to the progress of UNICEF’s 17 goals. What better way to do this than by using media, a point highlighted by Mrs. Riatti, which can be critical in spreading a message? In an ever-changing and digitizing world, media can be a double-edged sword. Using it to combat misinformation and propagate facts, empathy and understanding can be a way to wield this double-edged sword.” - Liza Gilca, The Nest


The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, or UNICEF, has a long history that dates back to its founding in 1946. Initially focused on providing emergency relief to children in post-World War II Europe, its primary goal has since expanded to include a wider range of initiatives targeted at enhancing children's well-being globally. In recent years, UNICEF's work has placed a substantial emphasis on Romania in particular.

In an effort to tackle the more prominent issues in our country, Anna Riatti stated that UNICEF is shifting its focus onto dissipating destitution, prioritizing qualitative educational systems and advocating for inclusivity in education for kids with disabilities, as well as revamping the healthcare industry, supporting immunization campaigns, health education, and maternal and pediatric care.


It’s been 8 years since the SDGs were first developed at the historic UN Summit in September 2015, aiming for the completion of the 17 goals by 2030, and yet with almost 6 years left, there are still areas that stipulate additional contribution in order for these goals to be achieved. Our involvement in reinventing the world begins right here, in school, where the 17 goals have been subtly implemented into lesson plans and other activities. Sustainability, volunteering, and advocating for human rights are all things that we should be fighting for today.


Our head girl provided some insight, describing her experience, “This Thursday we were invited to represent the school at an awareness conference with UNICEF. They told us about what it means to be part of this organization and discussed the current implications in Romania. They were eager to discuss the improvement of the country and how they have contributed so far. I was very grateful to be able to be a part of this experience, learn more about the things that are detrimental to the growth of Romania and how we, as teenagers, can take action.”


On a more serious note, UNICEF is mitigating the horrendous effects of the Israel-Palestine conflict. A quote, directly from the chiefs in charge of the protection of children in both states.


“In the Gaza Strip, UNICEF and its partners are on the ground delivering immediate humanitarian support, including medical supplies, fuel as well as mental health and psychosocial support. With the humanitarian situation rapidly deteriorating, humanitarian actors must be able to safely access children and their families with lifesaving services and supplies – wherever they may be.


UNICEF is calling for immediate cessation of hostilities and reminding parties of their obligations under International Humanitarian law to afford special protection to children. Every single child, no matter who or where they are, must be protected.”


In retrospect, the world changes continuously and we’re left to deal with whatever issues come our way. Even on the brink of conflict, we have to stand together and understand the deeper implications of the situations in which we are put in. Seemingly feeble things, such as recycling or advocacy, can create a shift in the mentalities of the people around you. In four days, we celebrate 78 years of the United Nations, and we hope that each and every one of our readers becomes a part of their mission to better the world we live in.


With love,

ISBTV & The Nest



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