UNICEF’s NextGen Global Principals are spearheading a drive to raise funds for Blue Dot Center havens as the crisis in Ukraine continues. Campden FB talks to James Elder, UNICEF’s spokesperson on the frontline about how ultra-high net worth families and individuals can help.
“It’s harrowing,” says James Elder (pictured left), UNICEF’s spokesperson in Ukraine on the reality of the ongoing conflict. “I spent days at the train station and at the border, speaking to people. It’s awash with sorrow and stress. Spouses embracing, fathers explaining to children why they are leaving, waving goodbye…
“No one wants to leave. Families had to make difficult decisions to leave the country to protect their children. This war has exacted a horrific toll on Ukraine’s children and families. In less than two weeks, at least 37 children have been killed and 50 injured, while more than 1 million children have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries.”
With the acceleration of conflict, the number of people in humanitarian need has increased dramatically, with an estimated 12 million civilians in need of urgent support within Ukraine, including around 2.1 million children. In response, UNICEF has reactivated the Blue Dot Center safe spaces with a view to provide vital support for up to 5,000 people per day, per site.
A mother and her young child receiving support at a Blue Dot Center - Photo Credit: Alex Nicodim
“Located at key points along migration routes, Blue Dot Centers are hubs that bring together essential support services for children, women and families on the move,” says Elder.
“Blue Dot hubs provide parents and caregivers with valuable information and practical support to help them in their onward journeys, whether to friends, family or the assistance of communities and governments who are generously welcoming those fleeing conflict. For children, Blue Dot hubs provide a safe, welcoming space to rest, play and simply be a child, at a time when their world has been abruptly turned upside down, and they are facing the trauma of leaving family, friends and all that is familiar.”
First launched during the refugee and migrant crisis of 2015-2016, the Blue Dot Hubs have proven to be an effective way to help those in need and enable family reunification.
It was great to be on a call with some of our partners today and hearing more about @UNICEF's response in #Ukraine. So inspiring to hear from our team in @UNICEF_UA, who are calm and committed to delivering for children. We must continue to support their work. pic.twitter.com/gF9Gmncbsp
— Carla Haddad Mardini كارلا(@CarlaUNICEF) February 28, 2022
UNICEF and partners are currently working to provide 26 Blue Dot Hubs across Poland, Moldova, Romania, Belarus, Hungary and Slovakia. They will be situated at strategic points along migrant routes including border entry/exit points, registration sites and some urban centres. Blue Dot Hubs are organised and run in close coordination with national and local authorities in selected strategic sites, and in close collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR and other protection partners.
“Unaccompanied and separated children, who have lost the care and protection of their families, are likely to be more vulnerable to child trafficking than children displaced with their families,” says Elder. “The risks of abduction, trafficking for sale and exploitation, and illegal adoption of children may be even greater where there are pre-existing child rights violations and large numbers of people crossing borders.
Children and families enter Romania from Ukraine at the Siret border crossing - Photo credit: Adrian Holerga
“Displaced women and children are at risk of gender-based violence when sheltering, moving and when seeking asylum. There are already reports of sexual assault/harassment at borders, and conditions in shelters/underground protection locations present real risks of sexual violence, amongst other things.
“UNICEF is working with UNHCR and all host governments to promote the protection of asylum seekers and mitigate the risks of violence and exploitation. This includes protection from sexual exploitation and abuse by all actors providing assistance.
“Globally and in-country, UNICEF has developed the partnerships, reach, supply chains, infrastructure, and technical know-how, powered by committed and dedicated staff, to reach children and communities in need.”
"We’re doing everything we can to help children in need but the war must end. Peace is the only sustainable solution."
UNICEF NextGen Global Principals, a global volunteer community of young leaders, creatives and philanthropists, are committed to help raise $450,000 to establish three Blue Dot Centers.
It costs $150,000 to establish a center for one month and about $115,000 to maintain each month they’re required to remain operational.
“We’re doing everything we can to help the children and families in need but the war must end,” says Elder. “Peace is the only sustainable solution.
“Right now, resources are urgently needed in order to safeguard the rights of million of children to safety, health, education, psychosocial support, protection, as well as water and sanitation services. We are scaling up our response in Ukraine and neighbouring countries to meet increasing needs.
. @tobyfricker part of UNICEF emergency response team at Sighet where the first Blue Dot zone is up and running. #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/ex12zMEF15
— UNICEF UK Media (@Unicefuk_media) March 4, 2022
“UNICEF is appealing for $349 million to provide critical life-saving support for children and their families. This includes $276 million to respond to immediate needs within Ukraine and $73 million for humanitarian needs in neighbouring countries. This funding will help to support over 3.5 million people, including 2.2 million children.
“Funds will be allocated to provide much-needed services and support to children and families within Ukraine as well as in neighbouring countries. These include delivering critical lifesaving supplies. So far, 6 trucks carrying nearly 70 tons of supplies have arrived to Ukraine. The supplies include personal protection equipment and medical, surgical and obstetric kits.
“Across the border, three trucks were dispatched from Copenhagen – UNICEF’s warehouse and the largest humanitarian hub in the world – carrying essential supplies, such as early childhood development, recreational and hygiene kits. These supplies have now arrived in Poland. Additional supplies are on their way from Copenhagen and from Turkey, and are due to arrive in the coming days.”
UNICEF’s second Blue Dot site becomes operational in Siret, Romania - Photo credit: Adrian Holerga
A note from Campden Wealth
“Campden Wealth wish for a swift and peaceful conclusion to the activities in Ukraine,” says Henry Samuelson, director of Campden Wealth. “Upon learning about the UNICEF NextGen Global Principals-led Blue Dot Centre initiative, we wanted to support the incredible work they carry out. In particular, the provision of medical care to vulnerable women and children these centers will provide.”
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