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22 February 2023

22 February 2023 – Some of Australia’s top athletes and well-known identities have come together to film a special UNICEF video in support of the children of Ukraine as they enter a second year of war.

Sporting greats such as Olympian Emma McKeon, cricketers Pat Cummins and Aaron Finch have joined former Walking Dead actor, Callan McAuliffe, chef Adam Liaw, Sunrise’s Edwina Bartholomew, artist Ken Done and Erica Packer to highlight the violence, fear, loss and tragedy the children of Ukraine have endured over the past 12 months and the critical support UNICEF is providing.

The prominent Australians donated their time appearing alongside UNICEF staff on the ground in Ukraine, and some lesser known young Australians who have been raising urgent funds for UNICEF Australia’s Ukraine appeal:

UNICEF Australia CEO Tony Stuart said children should be in classrooms not caught in conflict.

“There is not a single aspect of children’s lives in the war-torn country that the conflict has not impacted, with children killed, injured, forced from their homes and missing out on critical education,” Mr Stuart said. “UNICEF is on the ground providing life-saving supplies, funding safe spaces for children to play and psychosocial support for trauma. I thank these friends of UNICEF for drawing attention to the children who are enduring the loss of their childhood.”

Since February 24 2022, UNICEF has provided learning supplies to 770,000 children, engaged 1.4 million children in formal and non-formal education, provided mental health and psychosocial support to 2.9 million children and caregivers, provided access to safe water for 4.6 million people, provided healthcare services to 4.9 million people, and provided multi- purpose cash assistance to 1.4 million people inside Ukraine and 47,494 households in neighbouring countries who have lost livelihoods.

In the video, UNICEF Australia Ambassador and cricket captain Pat Cummins says, “It’s been 365 days of fear, conflict and loss for children in Ukraine”, followed by fellow Ambassadors Edwina Bartholomew, Adam Liaw, Ken Done and Emma McKeon adding, “but because of UNICEF, children have safe spaces to play, hospitals have life-saving supplies, there are smiles and UNICEF will be there for every child, no matter what”.

Erica Packer speaks of the “families torn apart’ by the conflict while Callan McAuliffe compares the scale of the impact the war has had on 17 million Ukrainians, equating it to “more than half the population of Australia”.

“Children in Ukraine have experienced a year of horror,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

“Millions of children are going to sleep cold and scared and waking up hoping for an end to this brutal war. Children have been killed and injured, and many have lost parents and siblings, their homes, schools and playgrounds. No child should ever have to bear that kind of suffering.

“Children need an end to this war and sustained peace to regain their childhoods, return to normalcy and begin to heal and recover.”