UNICEF University Group Helps Save Children's Lives
Despite the pandemic restrictions, young volunteers in Aachen are ensuring that UNICEF projects can be supported via donations.
Not since the Second World War have so many people been on the run from different life-threatening situations. More than 250 million children are growing up in conflict-affected areas, and many more are threatened by natural disasters such as droughts, floods, or epidemics. The coronavirus crisis has seen the situation of children in the poorest countries dramatically deteriorate. More and more girls and boys are affected by poverty, hunger, and exploitation. They need to be protected from the virus itself and from the consequences of the crisis.
For 75 years now, UNICEF has been making lasting progress for children with programs and policy advocacy. In 2020, 1.5 million severely malnourished children could be saved. The organization aims to protect children's lives without complex technology and expensive systems, often employing simple solutions to achieve crucial improvements. Decades of experience, studies, and innovative ideas mean they can offer assistance in local situations again and again.
In 2011, UNICEF University Group Aachen was founded. Young adults and students from various study disciplines are part of this group. "We support UNICEF by providing others with information and offering fundraising activities. To this end, for example, we give talks at schools and offer charity events," says Tom Theis from the group's board. Until the pandemic restrictions, so-called Peanut Butter and Jam concerts were regularly held, and a festival and other parties were also organized. "Due to the pandemic, however, the primary activity of the voluntary UNICEF groups – organizing campaigns to raise money for projects – has been largely shut down," explains student Theis, who is in his fifth semester of environmental engineering at RWTH.
"Nonetheless, we have been able to raise some funds with our activities in recent months, including a pub quiz on the fourth Advent weekend. We were also able to sell greeting cards at the Christmas market in cooperation with UNICEF Working Group in Aachen," Theis continues. Starting in May, a UNICEF project will be presented each month highlighting what financial support of any kind can provide. Theis emphasizes that the university group would be delighted to welcome further volunteers on site. The website offers information on volunteer work and also points out that everyone can support UNICEF with donations and sponsorships.