You might recognise the iconic blue logo seen on boxes of life-saving supplies and tents around the world.

UNICEF was established in the aftermath of World War II to help children in crisis. We are the world’s leading children’s charity working in more than 190 countries to protect and improve the lives of every child.  

But did you know we support children in our own backyard?  

From the cities to rural Australia, we stand up for the rights of all children and young people. We partner with local, community-led organisations to help the most vulnerable children to not only survive but thrive for years to come. Here are three ways we support children in Australia.  
 

1. Ready for a life-time of learning 

Left, Deandra at work as an Indi Kindi educator and right, children eat a healthy snack. © Moriarty Foundation/ Lister and Moriarty Foundation/Quilliam

The first day of school is one of the most memorable and exciting days of a child and parent's life. But we know that the years leading up to this day is critical. Early childhood education sets the foundation for a child’s learning journey.  

Children enrolled in at least one year of pre-primary education are more likely to develop the critical skills they need to succeed in school and less likely to repeat grades or drop out. 

However, across Australia limited access to early childhood education is leaving some kids behind, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.   
 
In 2018, only 86 per cent of Indigenous four-year‑olds were enrolled in early childhood education compared with 91 per cent of non‑Indigenous children, according to the 2020 Closing the Gap Report.  
 
To help close this gap, UNICEF Australia partnered with Moriarty Foundation to expand their acclaimed early childhood education program. Indi Kindi gives children in remote communities under the age of five the best start to life by integrating education, health and wellbeing.   

Garrawa woman Deandra and her family live in Borroloola, in the Northern Territory – one of the most disadvantaged and remote communities in Australia. As a mother and educator, Deandra understands the importance of early learning.

“When we drive around the community, the kids get excited, they come running and say ‘Indi Kindi is coming!’ They try to get on the bus, and I have to tell them to wait so we can open the doors,” says the Indi Kindi educator.   
 
“Every morning I see their smiling faces and it makes me happy. The young mums see us as an inspiration as we are teaching their kids.”  

 

2. An opportunity to speak up

UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador Franklin Hooper speaks with Mr Peter Khalil MP, Labor Member for Wills at Parliament House, Canberra. © UNICEF Australia/Moran
 
"I wanted to expand that reach and 
listen to more young people.
Every child and young person has the right to participate and have their opinions included in decision-making processes that affect to their lives, according to Article 12 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. 

UNICEF is dedicated to listening to and lifting up the voices of children and young people from across the world and here at home in Australia. 

Each year, UNICEF Australia Young Ambassadors meet with thousands of children and young people in their communities to find out what matters to them. They then raise these issues with our nation’s key decision-makers to create meaningful change.  

Former Young Ambassador Franklin Hooper joined the program to gain experience in talking to young people. 

“I’d been doing activism in my local community and I’ve been listening to people in my local community,” he says. 

“I wanted to expand that reach and listen to more young people, learn more about what life is like for young people in Australia and then really make a difference with that knowledge.” 

From climate change to mental health, children and young people have opinions that deserve to be listened to. 
 

3. Recovering from crises

Children play at the showgrounds in a southern New South Wales town where they are camping after being evacuated from nearby sites affected by bushfires in December 2019. UNICEF/Davey/AFP
When years of drought, coupled with heatwaves and extreme weather conditions, led to the bushfire season of 2019/2020, two in five Australian children were impacted.  

For children and young people, the consequence of trauma during emergencies can change the trajectory of their lives, impacting mental health, education, and employment, in both the short and long term. 

With our decades of experience caring for children impacted by natural disasters and crises internationally – and helping them to return to their lives – we knew we had to act. When disaster strikes, UNICEF is there. 

In response, we partnered with Royal Far West – a local organisation supporting the health and wellbeing of children in rural and remote communities.  

Together, we are working to ensure children affected by the bushfires receive appropriate psychosocial and mental health support. So far, we have reached 99 children with telecare therapy and supported more than 30 communities across New South Wales. 

Every child in Australia deserves a fair chance. UNICEF Australia works with local community partners reach the most vulnerable children in Australia. Together, we can be there for children, no matter what.  
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