When I walked into the UNICEF suite one of the first things my guide showed me was a small ruler. A flap on one end fit into a hole on the other and you pull to measure the upper arm of a child.
The ruler starts off green, showing a healthy child. Yellow for a child that is somewhat malnurished. Red for a child in famine.
The red part of the ruler probably could have fit around my thumb and upon seeing this tiny hole and imagining how that would fit on a child’s upper arm I burst into tears.
My guide walked me around the room showing me the various stations they had set up – plumpy nut to send to malnourished children, the canister they send vaccines around in, the classroom in a box. This, she explained, comes with chalkboard paint so that if the actual school building has been destroyed they can use the box itself as a classroom.
And then we came to the display of drawings that children had done in the art therapy sessions that UNICEF provides.
Drawings of tanks and sad faces and guns and blood. Conflict. Trauma.
Children in need of all the help UNICEF can give them.
If you’re getting started on Christmas shopping, might I recommend vaccines for children in the Third World? Or perhaps sports equipment for kids living in refugee camps that still deserve to have a little fun? Maybe clean water for a community?
Go here to buy your loved ones a very special gift – Survival for a child in desperate need. They’ve even got a section of gifts under $20 that can go a long way if you’re looking for something for an office exchange, and even gifts that will be matched so you can feel doubly good.
I spent $10 and bought 22 packs of Plumpy Nut that will help a malnourished child gain some weight.