This is a tale of two worlds. It is a story, told by the youth of Sudan, of the past, present and future of their country. With striking imagery and haunting voices they tell how Sudan was once a beautiful country, full of culture and prosperity, until it became a ghost of its former glory.
During the golden age Sudan was rich in land, resources, people and tradition. Culture was embraced and appreciated. Stories of brave men and women who fought for their independence were renowned and scholars who left Sudan to acquire foreign education returned to strengthen their country. The old generation was revered for their achievements, idealism and passion.
This world has drastically changed from this golden age. The beautiful sites that Sudan once had are now shattered. In the past, scholars would return to Sudan to help build the country but now they opt to remain in foreign countries and the standards of education in the country are falling.
Sudan hasn’t achieved what it could have, but the strong young men and women in this video illustrate the hope that remains for the future of Sudan. As you watch the video you can see the shift from a focus on what was, to the pain of present day, to hope for what the future might hold.
These young people are defining who they are as individuals- not what the reputation of their country says they should be. They provide a lesson to us all-that we should be willing to face the world as it is and move forward together, deliberately shaping our future. As the video illustrates, that it’s not “my Sudan or your Sudan but our Sudan.” Together as citizens of the world we can bring about positive change. As one young woman said, “It’s time to dream a new dream, the dream of our generation. The future is not a matter of what will be, but what could be.”
This is an inspiring film about young men and women’s hope for the future.
For 4 years in a row Next Gen has hosted a Masquerade Ball in New York to support UNICEF’s programs and NEXT Gen’s projects. This year we went bi-coastal and launched UNICEF’s first Black and White Masquerade ball in Los Angeles!
In New York, at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, the theme was “a Haunted Venetian Evening” and party goers were decked out in elegant costumes. With beautiful face painting, a fun photobooth, and delicious cocktails courtesy of Remy- it was certainly a night to remember!
On the other side of the country, at the Masonic Lodge of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, attendees of the Black + White Masquerade were channeling old world Hollywood and sporting fantastic masks. The location couldn’t have been more perfect for the Halloween bash, and the late-night cupcakes were a definite treat.
These Masquerade balls are one way our generation to continues the tradition of fundraising for UNICEF around Halloween. This year’s contributions help support Next Generation’s current project- three Innovation Labs in South East Asia. With nearly 1000 guests, the balls in Los Angeles and New York raised over $300,000. These funds will make an incredible difference in the lives of children around the world!
Thank you all for your support, we hope to see you next year!
This week Next Gen Los Angeles brought Chris Fabian, the co-founder of UNICEF’s Innovation Unit and the head of the Innovation Labs project that Next Generation is funding, to speak to Next Geners and guests about the project and UNICEF’s work. It was a great evening, summed up here by Next Gen LA Steering Committee member Katy Ladin.
First of all Chris is AMAZING. There was no over selling on how bright and interesting he is.
It was a real treat and opportunity to listen to him talk about his work all over the world. The entire room was captivated and engaged with every word he said (he is crazy smart) and he so eloquently paints a picture of the situation, the proposed solution, and the anticipated possibilities. Brian Barrow said it so well, “You can see his mind firing on all cylinders, it’s like he is taking abstract information that we all have floating around in our minds and is fitting it together like puzzle pieces.” We couldn’t help but feel that if we could have just a little of that, we could really be getting a lot more done in our day. Also, Chris’ passion and excitement about his vision is infectious; we all left excited about this project and optimistic that there are people like him out there trying to make the world a better place.
Chris talked about so many different things in relation to UNICEF, he is no “one trick pony”. As I am trying to wrap my mind around this current project, he’s already one step ahead, looking at the evolution. Innovation Labs are just the next step and are intended to evolve into something greater. The take away for me is that this is a real game changer on a massive scope, not only for these impoverished countries, but for Americans to model as well. For example, the ability to share medical records in real time electronically or a faster and more successful way to reunite families after a disaster. It seems also that the problems faced are so individualized that it’s imperative that they have local labs to even attempt to tackle the issues. As he put it “building a school is cute, makes us feel good, but the reality is, education is changing dramatically and once we are gone, so is that school.(disrespect not intended)” The point is, there is too much incredible technology, innovation and VERY smart and capable children & young adults not to utilize it all together and only Chris and his team could possibly tackle this and make it work… it’s cool!
Rhoda, who hosted us at her beautiful home was a splendid hostess. Amy, Yasmin and I got there early, so we were able to visit with she and her husband before guest arrived. She is a brilliant biochemist who is now on full time grandparent duty with her 10 grandchildren. Her husband, Dr. Dwight Makoff, was equally as lovely and welcomed us into their home with open arms. Her home, by the way, is 7 stories… yes, 7 stories and had an exquisite veranda off the living room where guests were able to stand outside with a full ocean view and watch the sun go down… it was alright :-)
All and all the evening was mellow and went really smoothly. I am sorry to those who could not be there, I know I am gushing, but it really was pretty rad. Thank you to the UNICEF NYC team for sharing him.
Chris Akin, the founder of The Base Project, is a good friend of UNICEF’s Next Generation and wrote this post for our tumblr after a visit to Namibia.
On our recent trip to Namibia we were fortunate enough to run into UNICEF staff while working in the remote Kunene Region and again in the capital city of Windhoek. During our first night in the town of Opuwo, where The Base Project artisans live and work, we ran into a good spirited UNICEF field worker who was staying at our same camp site. The following day our team ran into UNICEF staff again at lunch, including Namibia Communications Specialist Judy Matjila and several of her South African counterparts.
We soon learned that the UNICEF team was traveling in northern Kunene to study and raise awareness of the extreme drought, which has been plaguing the region for two consecutive years, and to provide aid to those affected. The drought is adversely affecting the health of one-third of the Namibian population including a critical number of children. In Namibia, approximately 109,000 children under age 5 are at risk for malnutrition, which can be more severe during times of drought. Judy and her team met with villagers to discuss the drought conditions and their health concerns. The same UNICEF team was simultaneously hosting representatives from national and international press who were covering the drought, the region’s worst in 30 years.
Upon returning to Windhoek a week later, UNICEF’s field reporting was prominent in the national newspapers and in international press outlets such as Al Jazeera, the Washington Post and the BBC. While in Windhoek, we met up with Judy again for a tour of UNICEF headquarters at the United Nations House. UNICEF Namibia Representative Micaela Marques de Sousa graciously welcomed us into her office to make a personal introduction. Micaela was enthused to learn about The Base Project’s work in Namibia and eager to assist us on the ground as we grow and initiate new community development projects in the Kunene region.
Judy and Micaela were further delighted to hear about our connection to Casey Rotter and Next Generation. They were especially pleased with our relationship with Next Gen due to last year’s board visit to Namibia and Micaela’s subsequent proposal to help eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV in Namibia. Be sure to take note of the work that Micaela, Judy, and their team are doing Namibia: a country of extreme promise and unfortunate natural circumstances. We are appreciative of all the work UNICEF is doing in this region and intimately understand the challenges these families face and the need for relief. Our work with Judy and UNICEF Namibia continues and we will be sure to visit them again on our next trip to Namibia.
Did you know- approximately 20% of women and 5–10% of men report being sexually abused as children, while 25–50% of all children report being physically abused? And did you know that more than 1500 children in the U.S. die from abuse and neglect each year?*
This month UNICEF launched its #ENDviolence initiative and Next Gen is so excited about this project. Children deserve a better world — a world where they are safe, protected and empowered.
Recent acts of violence against children- the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan and the massacre of elementary students in Connecticut among others- have brought this issue to the front pages of our newspapers and the newsfeeds of our facebooks. As horrific as these events are, we need to realize too that violence against children often goes unseen. To solve the problem we need to bring to light these less publicized acts.
#ENDviolence is designed to build awareness and to encourage prevention and response to violence against children. UNICEF works around the world to protect children and to create living conditions in which they can thrive. This campaign is one more step in the direction of a better world for children.
This is the PSA that was created to bring attention to the new campaign. Take a look, share it on facebook and twitter, and help make the invisible, visible.
Help us spread awareness of the #ENDviolence initiative by participating in the “Stamp It Out” photo contest! Take a picture of #ENDviolence written, stamped, doodled or scrawled somewhere and upload it onto instagram, facebook or twitter… and don’t forget to hashtag #ENDviolence and mention @UNICEF!
*Stats from who.int
UNICEF’s Next Gen has recently expanded to include steering committees in both Chicago and LA! The Chicago Steering Committee announced their arrival by hosting an after party to benefit our “Colombia Project” at the annual Message of Hope Gala at the Four Seasons in downtown Chicago on April 12th.
Chicago Steering Committee Chairs Give a Speech
The Gala was beautiful as always with over 500 guests dressed to the nines, and interactive stations such as the UNICEF tent set up to educate the guests on UNICEF’s work.
After the official gala was over, the band “Gentleman of Leisure” took the stage and the attendees took the floor as the after party kicked off. The After Party featured live music and dancing as well as a silent auction, a punch board, and a photo booth which was commandeered by many Next Gen Members having a great time.
Silent Auction Table
Punch Board Fun!
Photo Booth Madness
Next Gen Chicago would like to thank everyone who attended, with a special thanks to those who donated to the silent auction, our friends at Peekaboo Photo for the photo booth, and The Gentlemen of Leisure Band. We raised $19,555 to benefit the Indigenous Children of Colombia and we could have not done it without your support. We look forward to seeing you all at our upcoming events! Stay tuned here for more news.
Gentlemen of Leisure
Be sure to check out our Qwiki video from the evening as well! http://www.qwiki.com/v/nVfjhfk4
Chicago Steering Committee
You are invited to UNICEF’s Next Gen Launch Party at the LACMA on Thursday, May 9th at 7pm!
Guests are invited to enjoy an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and music in the modernist galleries of LACMA.
When: Thursday, May 9th at 7pm in Los Angeles
Tickets: On sale now! Visit here for tickets and further info: www.unicefusa.org/nextgenLACMA
This event supports our Colombia Project, which Next Gen has pledged to raise over $100k to ensure that UNICEF can help the indigenous children of Colombia have access to clean water, nutrition, and are protected from violence, exploitation, and abuse. www.unicefusa.org/nextgencolombiaproject
Audrey Hepburn was born in Brussels, Belgium, on May 4, 1929. As a young girl, she became involved in ballet and took part in several small film roles, which was only the beginning of her entertainment career. In the midst of World War II, young Hepburn was among many other starving children who received food and other aid from the United Nation’s relief efforts. This would be the inspiration for her later devotion to children’s aid with UNICEF. Despite Audrey Hepburn’s fame as a fashion and Hollywood icon, she was extremely committed to her global humanitarian efforts with UNICEF. Beginning in the late 1980s, Hepburn utilized her stardom to become the voice for UNICEF and for the children of the world.
Audrey Hepburn and UNICEF Join Forces:
In the fall of 1987, Audrey Hepburn became a Goodwill Ambassador forUNICEF, dedicating herself to several UNICEF project visits in Africa, Asia and Latin America. As Hepburn stated, “I can testify to what UNICEF means to children, because I was among those who received food and medical relief right after World War II…I have a long-lasting gratitude and trust for what UNICEF does.”
Not only did Hepburn travel internationally on behalf of UNICEF, but also spread the word about UNICEF and its work to the media, conducting up to 15 daily interviews and speeches, testifying before United States’ Congress, participating in the World Summit for Children, promoting UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children reports, hosting Danny Kaye International Children’s Award ceremonies, and taking part in benefit concert tours.
Audrey Hepburn as a Woman of History:
Audrey Hepburn signifies a woman of resilience, strength and hope, not only for the children of the world, but also for other women. Despite hardships in her life, Hepburn continued her mission of fighting for those in need. As Hepburn once stated, “I have learnt how to live…how to be in the world and of the world, and not just to stand aside and watch.”
Her life now inspires others to take action for those in suffering and despair, including several celebrities. For women, Audrey Hepburn is a strong figure, and as a result of her experiences, she managed to shape her own future and fought for others to do the same.
It gives us great pleasure to name Audrey Hepburn our Hero for Zero this Women’s History Month, as she was an incredible role model for not only women, but others to stand up and advocate for the vulnerable children of the world.
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” Her tough spirit is an extraordinary example of an empowered woman that inspires others to seek excellence, beauty and compassion in their own lives.
Hepburn’s legacy still continues through UNICEF’s Audrey Hepburn® Society, a donor recognition group inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s legacy of service. If you are between the ages of 21 -40 and would like to join the Audrey Hepburn® Society, you can join with a gift of $5,000 and follow in Audrey’s legacy of helping the world’s children. For more information please visit: www.unicefusa.org/AudreyHepburnSociety
To Join UNICEF’s Next Generation, visit: www.unicefusa.org/joinnextgeneration
For more on Audrey Hepburn, visit: http://www.unicef.org/people/people_audrey_hepburn.html
UNI52696 (Audrey holding baby in crowd)
Audrey Hepburn is accompanied by children on a walk in the hamlet of Phuc Ly, Phu Minh Commune, Tu Liem District near Hanoi.
The visit of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn to Vietnam in October/November of 1990 contributed to drawing world attention to the needs of children in this aid- starved country. UNICEF cooperation in Vietnam focuses on increasing primary health care outreach including immunization, growth monitoring and maternal care; the construction of handpumps and latrines to extend safe water and sanitation availability; and support for daycare centres and universal primary
UNI52698 (Audrey distributes books)
Audrey Hepburn distributes UNICEF-supplied exercise books to school children of the Dao Tay hilltribes in remote Hoang Lien Son Province in Northern Vietnam.
The visit of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn to Vietnam in October/November of 1990 contributed to drawing world attention to the needs of children in this aid- starved country. UNICEF cooperation in Vietnam focuses on increasing primary health care outreach including immunization, growth monitoring and maternal care; the construction of hand pumps and latrines to extend safe water and sanitation availability; and support for daycare centers and universal primary education including the training of teachers and supplies provision. UNICEF also directs special attention to the country’s isolated minorities.