21 November 2023

Breathing with Care

With the onset of winter in South Asia, air quality has started to turn toxic across the region. Recently, the air quality index [1] reached 500 in Delhi and Lahore, causing governments to temporarily close schools. Other South Asian cities also consistently rank high in the list of most polluted cities globally. The main culprits include vehicle…, Impacts of air pollution on children, UN0662130 Children are especially vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe faster and more often through their mouths, taking in more pollutants than adults. Studies have shown that air pollution can affect children’s brain development during the critical early years of life and, in some cases, cause stunting. In 2019, 20% of newborn…, Recognising symptoms of exposure to air pollution, UN0400941 Here are some symptoms that can result from exposure to air pollution. Talk to your doctor immediately if your child is showing any of these symptoms: Dry/irritated eyes, headache, fatigue, allergies, or shortness of breath. In infants, look out for signs of exertion while breathing. People with asthma might experience more severe…, Tips to protect your children from air pollution this winter, UN0844539 Living in cities like Delhi, Dhaka, Kathmandu, or Lahore means dealing with toxic air quality regularly. Here are some additional strategies to cope: Monitor air quality: Stay informed about daily air quality levels in your area using reliable apps or government websites. Free apps like Plume or IQAir can be downloaded on to your phone.…
18 July 2023

Painting with purpose

The narrow, muddy alleyways of Korail slum in Dhaka lead to a small room packed with about 40 children. The mood inside this room with tin walls is happy and cheerful, oblivious to the otherwise gloomy surroundings. Nine-year-old Mim and her friends watch a series of images projected on the wall. Pictures from Bangladesh – fishermen in a boat,…, This fun, interactive art session helps to bring more children to the hubs and connect them to critical services., UNICEF/UN0851640/Mawa Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself. Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself., Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself., UNICEF/UN0851635/Mawa Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself. Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself., Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself., UNICEF/UN0851645/Mawa fun, interactive art session Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself. Mim takes her turn to make the hub brighter and welcoming to more children like herself. Linda Valente Da Silva Acouri, a Brazilian artist who specializes in engaging children through art, shuffles through…, An unusual but effective tool, The art exercise in the community hub has been commissioned by UNICEF and Bangladesh’s Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to make the hubs welcoming, draw more children in to access social services and to help the children to feel a sense of ownership as they work with the artist to express themselves and brighten up the space. “Prior to each…, Bright colours, happy faces: As children paint and make the hub more visible, they open the door for more of their peers to come to the hub., UNICEF/UN0851646/Mawa Bright colours, happy faces Bright colours, happy faces, Bright colours, happy faces: As children paint and make the hub more visible, they open the door for more of their peers to come to the hub., UNICEF/UN0851644/Mawa Bright colours, happy faces Bright colours, happy faces, Bright colours, happy faces: As children paint and make the hub more visible, they open the door for more of their peers to come to the hub., UNICEF/UN0851639/Mawa Bright colours, happy faces Bright colours, happy faces Bright colours, happy faces In a country where 45 million children experience violence at home, about 6.8 million are engaged in child labour and half of girls are married before their 18 th  birthday, the need for child protection services is apparent. “Sometimes it’s…, Scaling up solutions to protect children, Linda and the VACW coordinators have trained 70 local artists, taking them through how she gets children to open up and participate during the art sessions. Together, she and the local artists have now engaged about 50,000 children in 700 community hubs across Bangladesh, focusing on underprivileged children. Although they live right in the heart…, In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence, UNICEF/UN0851638/Mawa In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence. In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence., In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence., UNICEF/UN0855634/Mawa In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence. In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence., In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence., UNICEF/UN0851642/Mawa In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence. In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence., In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence., UNICEF/UN0851643/Mawa In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that help to prevent child marriage, child labour and violence. In the UNICEF-supported hubs, children are connected to services that…, A burst of colour lights up the day, After taking turns painting bit by bit the little artists in the room are happy to see the finished product. Throughout the session Linda continues to guide the children, reminding them to wait their turn if their friend is painting in the same spot they want, to share and to take care of the painting materials. Today’s art session has made the…
04 May 2023

Regional Director's corner

Sanjay Wijesekera UNICEF Nepal Sanjay Wijesekera Regional Director, UNICEF South Asia Sanjay Wijesekera is in charge of leadership, oversight and guidance to the eight UNICEF country programmes: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He also represents UNICEF with governments, donors, the private sector…, Notes from the field, Afghanistan, Sanjay Wijesekera meets Nematullah UNICEF/UNI418591/Bidel Sanjay Wijesekera met Nematullah, a 2.5-year-old boy, recovering from severe acute malnutrition, treated with ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) and by a nutrition counselor at a UNICEF-supported health facility in Badghis Province, Afghanistan. On my first visit to Afghanistan as…, Bhutan, Sanjay_bhutan UNICEF Bhutan Sanjay Wijesekera visited the neonatal intensive care unit in Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital and met doctors took pride in their work and had great ideas, including introducing medical innovations to continue saving lives and provide the best healthcare to the people of Bhutan. Kuzu Zangpo La! It was…, India, Sanjay Wijesekera visited a family in Gujarat Sanjay Wijesekera visited a family in Gujarat to understand the empowering effect of the family care scheme and discussed UNICEF's continued support to the Government of India in creating change for children. It was energizing to meet with girls and boys, as well as community leaders and champions in…, Nepal, Sanjay_Nepal UNICEF Nepal Sanjay Wijesekera visited Jamunibas, a community that had struggled with drinking water scarcity and relied on non-potable water from private wells. To make it a “water-safe” community, UNICEF supported the installation of a borehole as a solution to the drinking water issue. Last week, Alice Akunga, Representative @…, Pakistan, Sanjay_pakistan Sanjay Wijesekera spoke at a seminar held at Aga Khan University Institute for Global Health and Development on Climate Change Environment & Health, emphasizing the critical need for collaborative action and greater effort to make health systems climate-resilient. I met Zimal who is 9 years old, and studies at the Government…, Follow Regional Director on Twitter,   Across South Asia, over 6,500 adolescent girls die giving birth every year, according to a new analysis by UNICEF, WHO & UNFPA. Governments & partners pledge life-saving services and skills for pregnant adolescent girls and young mothers in the region: https://t.co/eo8SPFSvMv pic.twitter.com/xlGo9maRvm — Sanjay Wijesekera (@S_Wijesekera…, In the news
10 April 2023

“I used to be scared of people because of how they treated us”

Hasib does not know his exact age. He guesses that he should be 12 now, and that he first came to Dhaka from his village in southwestern Bangladesh when he was just 7. He does not remember much of his childhood, but he remembers how sad and angry he felt when he had to leave his home, in search of a better life. His father had left the family, and…, Forced to fend for the family, Hasib sells books and chocolate Hasib sells books and chocolate, Hasib sells books and chocolate to travellers passing through the bus terminal to support his mother and younger sister., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Sujan Hasib sells books and chocolate Hasib sells books and chocolate, Hasib sells books and chocolate to travellers passing through the bus terminal to support his mother and younger sister., © UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Sujan Hasib sells books and chocolate Hasib sells books and chocolate Hasib lived on the streets with his mother Hasina for several years. With the arrival of his baby sister Mim, his responsibilities grew. At times, the family was able to rent a place to stay in the slums. “But they always threw us out when we couldn't…, A sanctuary for children who have nowhere else to go, Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub, Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub, practising his school work, resting and eating a healthy meal. At the hubs, children also receive counselling, and have the opportunity to play and learn with other children, UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Sujan Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub, Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub, practising his school work, resting and eating a healthy meal. At the hubs, children also receive counselling, and have the opportunity to play and learn with other children., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Sujan Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub, Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub, practising his school work, resting and eating a healthy meal. At the hubs, children also receive counselling, and have the opportunity to play and learn with other children., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Sujan Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub Hasib at a UNICEF Child Protection Service Hub “While we do not know the exact number of children in street situations in Bangladesh, every child who spends the majority of their time, day or night, on the street is one child…, Back to school and a place to stay, Hasib plays with his younger sister Hasib plays with his younger sister, Hasib plays with his younger sister Mim in the slum neighbourhood where they now have a room of their own., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Sujan Hasib plays with his younger sister Hasib plays with his younger sister, Hasib plays with his younger sister Mim in the slum neighbourhood where they now have a room of their own., UNICEF Bangladesh/2023/Sujan Hasib plays with his younger sister Hasib plays with his younger sister The pressure of providing for his mother and sister sometimes became too much for Hasib. When he first came to the hub, Makhsuda – a social worker at the hub – counselled him and his mother, and Hasib gradually became less distressed. When Hasib…, Social workers making a difference, Makhsuda – a social worker at the hub – continues to keep in touch with Hasib and his family Makhsuda – a social worker at the hub – continues to keep in touch with Hasib and his family. With her support, Hasib started going to school again. Hasib’s story shows how a skilled and motivated social worker can change the course of a child’s life.…