70 years of UNICEF's work has left the world a better place
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The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) came into existence after a truly grueling time in history. Set up on 11 December 1946 by the UN General Assembly, it was a direct product of the world desperately trying to pick itself up after its worst conflict yet. The main goal of the organisation was to offer relief for children directly affected by World War II. After the war, European children faced famine and disease, and the organisation was there to provide food, clothing and healthcare to the best of its ability. Its aims soon expanded to helping children at risk in developing countries. In 1953 it became a permanent part of the UN. Only a year later, the movie star Danny Kaye became UNICEF’s “Ambassador at large”. His film ‘Assignment Children’, about its work in Asia, was seen by more than 100 million people. Such ambassadors have become the backbone of UNICEF’s publicity. Many celebrities, like David Beckham, Orlando Bloom and even Audrey Hepburn, choose to use their popularity to spread the message of the organisation. But the organisation that started out 70 years ago isn’t the same as the one we know and love. At first its work was mostly based around providing safety and basic needs like food and clean water. But in 1959, that focus changed with the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, a law that defines children’s rights. After more than a decade of focusing on child health issues, UNICEF expanded its interests to address the needs of the whole child. A new concern with education, especially in newly independent countries, arose.
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