For 70 years, with the help of the Egyptian government, the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has played an effective role in improving Egyptian children’s lives. From protecting the children from child labour, young marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM) to raising parents’ awareness in bringing up their children, UNICEF plays one of the most life-changing roles in Egypt.
The 70-year anniversary took place in Egypt and was attended by society’s most famous superstars and public figures, where UNICEF celebrated its newest Egyptian goodwill ambassadors. The ambassadors were comedian Ahmed Helmy, young actress and singer Donia Samir Ghanem, and renowned actress Mona Zaki.
The ambassadors are here to help the association deliver its messages and raise people’s awareness regarding the causes UNICEF fights for.
UNICEF has been supporting children’s rights in Egypt since 1952. Bruno Maes, UNICEF’s representative in Egypt, stated that the celebrities’ role is as important as the role UNICEF plays in improving both children’s and parents’ lives, saying, “Helmy, Donia, and Mona are not only famous artists; they are also champions with a cause and passion, volunteering their time and capitalising on their fame to serve children’s issues, and working to become an integral part of UNICEF’s advocacy for children.”
In separate videos, the artists shared some of their personal life experiences as parents, expressing their emotions and stating the changes that had happened in their lives after having children.
“Today, I raise my voice for all children and share their hopes and pain. I know for sure that all parents wish the best for their children. But sometimes we judge them according to our standards and hurt them by our actions. We need to get closer to our children, understand their needs, and respect them,” Zaki stated in her speech.
The celebration also witnessed the attendance of Ghada Waly, Minister of Social Solidarity; Sahar Nasr, Minister of International Cooperation; and Nabila Makram, Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs. Through their speeches, the minsters showcased problems facing Egyptian children that should be heavily spotlighted by both government and civil society organisations.
Nine million children are below the poverty line. They face more forms of violence than physical and emotional violence, such as early marriage and FGM/C,” Waly stated.
“I would like to put two issues on the agenda of the new ambassadors: child-trafficking and children with disabilities,” Makram said.
As for Nasr, she focused on improving neglected rights, stating that “I would like to cooperate with the new ambassadors in our children-related projects in the ministry, such as school nutrition. It’s a project that supports children development and decreases child labour and out-of-school rates.”
The new ambassadors joined the global list of UNICEF’s international goodwill ambassadors, including David Beckham and Orlando Bloom, and Middle Eastern artists, such as Kazem El-Saher and Nancy Ajram.
“I am happy to engage with UNICEF and will exert my utmost efforts to be an effective voice, which will contribute to making a positive change in the lives of our children,” Helmy concluded.