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By Andrea Andres
4 February 2024

When we talk about bravery, our minds often jump to superheroes on the big screen. At UNICEF Australia, we have a different take. We know that bravery is something everyone has inside them and we see it every day through the incredible determination of children and young people who do their best, no matter what life throws their way.  

These everyday heroes redefine what it means to be brave – take a look and see how, even through challenging situations, they embody action and courage:  

Fearless smiles for life-changing vaccinations 

Children are naturally resilient against the thousands of germs they’re exposed to daily. Yet, there are some deadly diseases like measles, polio, tetanus, tuberculosis, diphtheria and whooping cough that they can’t fight, and their only defence is lifesaving vaccines. 

A baby girl looking at at a needle vaccination on her arm© UNICEF/UN0487611/Dejongh

 In Burkina Faso, a baby girl bravely looks on as she is vaccinated against preventable diseases. UNICEF supports medical centres in areas like Burkina Faso with lifesaving supplies, including vaccines and therapeutic food, which helps children to grow up healthy and strong. 

A girl scrunches her face as she gets a needle vaccination in her arm© UNICEF/U.S. CDC/UN0846698/Érico Hiller

Despite the pain from the needle, 10-year-old Adriane from Brazil holds herself steady as she is vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza. In the riverside population where she lives, a Basic River Unit consisting of doctors, dentists and nurses visit every two months to deliver essential health care to the community.  

A group of young kids hold up their vaccination certificates© UNICEF/UN0799507/Franco

In Mozambique, children wave their vaccination certificates in the air and smile knowing they’re vaccinated against cholera – a disease largely extinct for years but has seen recent growth.  

With support from UNICEF and WHO, the Ministry of Health in Mozambique conducted a vaccination campaign against cholera, that reached more than 700,000 children and young people, aged one year or older, in eight districts most affected by the outbreak in Mozambique.  

Learning, thriving and growing 

A young girl with a pink backpack smiles broadly© UNICEF/UNI499999/Al-Safadi

Abrar shows her excitement for an important milestone – the first day of kindergarten! She lives in a refugee camp with her family in Jordan, where they’ve been living since fleeing conflict in Syria.  

Although Abrar was nervous about her first day, it didn’t take long after arriving in her new classroom for her to start enjoying the fun activities with her new classmates. 

“You can tell because she was clinging on to her mother and didn’t want to enter classroom at first,” says her teacher, Nasreen. “Little by little, she grew used to the new environment and started laughing and playing with her classmates.” 

"These children have the right to a quality education. They must learn and UNICEF was able to give them the chance they need to exercise their rights."

Two girls walking along a thin wooden bridge to get to the other side of the river© UNICEF/UNI495907/Satu & © UNICEF/UNI495900/Satu

In the challenging terrains of Bangladesh, students courageously cross a bamboo-made bridge to reach their school, showing their determination and commitment to education.

Despite the challenging geography, the Let Us Learn (LUL) program in Bangladesh, is supported by UNICEF and empowers these young minds, showcasing the transformative impact of education in even the most remote corners of Bangladesh. 

A teenage girl in a wheelchair at her school© UNICEF/UNI497592/

“Schools aren’t necessarily equipped to host people with disabilities,” explains 18-year-old Sundus from Jordan who had to drop out of school after her third year of primary school. “It had always been my dream to graduate but for a while I forbid myself to feel hopeful about anything.” 

Sundus applied for a UNICEF-supported scholarship for young people with disabilities and received the good news that her application was successful on her birthday.   

“Going back to a classroom and receiving an education was everything I had hoped for and more. I felt like UNICEF had given me this key and all I had to do was choose which doors to open from now on.” 

“I thought back to myself as a child peeking into classrooms from the outside watching others receive an education. But this time, I was inside the classroom with a teacher who cared about me and students who were my friends. It felt like heaven on earth.” 

"I made a promise to myself that never again I will give up. That no matter what life throws at me, I am a smart, strong and independent young woman despite my disability."


Hope after conflict 

A young girl holds up her drawing of a person holding a rose © UNICEF/UN0856164/Mohamdeen

Since violence escalated in Sudan in April 2023, armed violence and civil unrest has left a devastating mark on children like ten-year old Majd, who witnessed the tragic deaths of her closest friends.   

It hasn’t been easy for Majd to talk about what she’s experienced but through psychosocial sessions, supported by UNICEF and its partners, she’s found a creative outlet through drawing to help understand her emotions and experiences. With colourful pens and blank canvases at her disposal, Majd can express her greatest wish for herself and the children of Sudan. 

"No bullets. One rose for each child."

A young toddler going for a walk outside© UNICEF/UN0827518/Filippov

After two years of war in Ukraine, more than 4 million children are estimated to still be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.    

One of those people is three-year-old Diana, who lives in in eastern Ukraine and is often forced to shelter with her family from the ongoing shelling in a dark, damp basement. When she’s able to go outside for a walk and take in the fresh air, her smile never leaves her face. 

UNICEF has helped provide the children of Ukraine like Diane with access to safe water, sanitation and healthcare, and crucial supplies even after infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed. 

Strength when disaster strikes  

A young girl stands in front of rubble© UNICEF/UN0779524/Suleiman

A young girl stands defiantly in front of rubble on the street, an aftermath of the dangerous Syria earthquakes. When the catastrophic Syria and Türkiye earthquake struck in February 2023, hundreds of thousands of children and families faced devastating conditions with homes and schools destroyed.  

A young girl smiles at the camera© UNICEF/UN0829112/

But there is always hope. In Aleppo, one of the areas most affected by the earthquakes, UNICEF and partners are working tirelessly to reach children with educational and recreational activities to help restore a sense of normalcy in their lives.  

“My life is different than it was a couple of months ago,” says nine-year-old Rana. “Now, I live in a classroom which is weird. At first it was cold but now the weather is nicer. I don’t go to school because my school is turned to a shelter! Just like this one. But I attend classes here in tents, where I learn and play. There is also a screen with videos to watch. I never had a screen in my classroom before.” 

Strong voices for a better future 

A teenage girl sitting on a purple couch© UNICEF/UN0732593/Cavalcante

Speaking in front of thousands of people can be daunting, but for 17-year-old Tainara, speaking at COP27 was her chance as an indigenous girl to spread awareness for climate justice and protect rainforests.  

Tainara comes from an indigenous community in Brazil and is an activist for climate justice. Her grandparents didn’t have internet, nor social media, but they were already fighting for rights. And she wants to follow their example. 

"If we don’t fight for climate justice, we will be more and more affected by it."

Three teenage boys hold up their climate change signs at a protest© UNICEF/UN0547114/Elwyn-Jones

Almost every child on earth is exposed to at least one climate shock. Three young kids take to the streets of Edinburgh and join a chorus of over 25,000 protesters calling for stronger commitments by governments to act against catastrophic climate change.  

Discovery bravery with The Wiggles  

A mum reading her daughter a book as they sit on a rocking chair© UNICEF Australia/2024/Andres

There are so many stories of bravery all around us – here's your opportunity to discover more with your own little ones! Sign up for The Wiggles Brave Little Books, a UNICEF Australia monthly subscription to a collection of 12 books and activity packs bursting with colour, stickers, and activities that will inspire your child to take courage and build resilience, one Wiggly adventure at a time. 

 Perfect for children aged two-to-five years old, The Wiggles Brave Little Books is the ideal balance between learning and fun, empowering your little one to face life’s adventures with bravery. 

 Together, we can make a lasting impact for children around the world. 

The Wiggles Brave Little Books

Inspire your child to build courage with fun stories and activity packs with The Wiggles and UNICEF.