|Fay Vassilakis, President of the United Nations Delegations Women's Club, and UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, with the $120,000 cheque from the Club for the building of schools in Darfur.|
By Bob Coen
NEW YORK, USA, 27 October 2005 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman today accepted a cheque for $120,000 from the United Nations Delegations Women’s Club, for the construction of schools in Sudan’s conflict-ridden region of Darfur. The Club raised the money through an international bazaar held earlier in the year that featured raffles, food and hand crafted items from five continents.
“I want to say thank you to you all for your support of children, for your support of UNICEF and for your support of a part of the world that has really been largely neglected,” said Ms. Veneman, addressing members of the Club at the handover ceremony. “I know that what you have given to us today will be put to very good use for the children of Darfur.”
Nane Annan, wife of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and honorary member of the Club, said: “The longer the children are denied the prospect of a future, the deeper the seeds are sown for continued conflict beyond this generation and into the next. What you are providing is a safe haven for these children.”
The money will help build schools in Arara village in West Darfur. The village’s schools have been completely overwhelmed by the influx of thousands of people who have fled fighting in other parts of the region.
The United Nations Delegation Women’s Club comprises the spouses of member states’ Permanent Representatives to the UN.
The conflict in Darfur has impacted the lives of approximately 1.6 million children, 510,000 of whom are under five. These children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of hunger, disease, violence and exploitation. UNICEF has supported the construction of 2,182 temporary classrooms in Darfur; despite the conflict there are now more children in school than ever before.