The European Union and UNICEF launch ‘Voices of Children in Emergencies’ campaign #voicesofchildren

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UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor helps amplify voices of children

BRUSSELS/NEW YORK, 15 May 2014 - The European Union and UNICEF today launched a campaign to highlight the situation of millions of children around the world affected by disasters, catastrophes and conflicts -- by giving some of these boys and girls the opportunity to tell their stories

UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor is supporting the “Voices of Children in Emergencies” campaign, appearing in a new video together with a child refugee from Syria. “There are millions of children throughout the world who are stuck in dire situations that they didn’t create and can’t control,” said UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor. “Today, I am honoured to lend my voice to these children. All children, everywhere, have the right to a voice on matters that affect them.” Children are always the most vulnerable in humanitarian crises, and most at risk of disease, malnutrition, exploitation and abuse. Many have their education interrupted and experience severe psychological distress. These effects have long-term consequences in their lives and in their communities.

“Together, the European Union and UNICEF are helping millions of children affected by emergencies every year. We ensure that urgently needed aid reaches them. We deliver hope. But we can only do so if the fears and concerns, brave struggles, dreams and aspirations of these girls and boys are heard. Let’s all help them raise their voices!" said Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

Other UNICEF Ambassadors and supporters participating in the initiative will be football player Robert Lewandowski (Poland), basketball players Pau Gasol (Spain) and Bostjan Nachbar (Slovenia), as well as actress Evanna Lynch (Ireland), actor Imanol Arias (Spain), journalist Pavlos Tsimas (Greece), journalist and writer Roberto Cotroneo (Italy) and TV presenter and actress Gaia Amaral (Italy). “Some of the stories of children in emergencies make headlines, but most are never heard,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “The ‘Voices of Children in Emergencies’ campaign lets children living through natural disasters, conflict and political upheaval tell their own stories - as only they can.” Advertising agency JWT Spain has generously lent their time in the development of the campaign. Music artist Irma has lent her voice to the campaign through her track ‘Hear Me Out’.

Note to editors

The “Voices of Children in Emergencies” campaign gives children affected by natural disasters, food crises, conflict and political upheaval the opportunity to tell their stories, captured in both self-filmed and professionally-produced videos, quotes and photos, to a global audience

To help launch the campaign, actor and UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor appears in a short video to share the testimony of Mustapha, a Syrian child who crossed the border into Jordan following the civil war in his home country.

The campaign’s website enables visitors to amplify the voices of these children through their own digital networks. The site, which will be available in English, Spanish, French, Italian,
Polish, Greek and Slovenian, will include videos, photos, testimonies and factographs.
Citizens will be encouraged to share those materials in order to help children raise their voices and show that each of us can make a difference for them.

UNICEF and the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) have been working closely together for over 20 years to deliver immediate assistance to children and women affected by humanitarian crises worldwide. This strong partnership has benefitted millions of children in over 55 countries. Aid is targeted to drive change in critical areas such as child protection, nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), cash transfers, disaster risk reduction, preparedness and resilience building. At any given moment, UNICEF, with the support of the EU, is actively responding to dozens of emergencies across the globe.

EU-UNICEF campaign website:

To download the video messages, factographs and other assets, please visit:


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

About the European Union

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts around the world. ECHO’s assistance relies on the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. ECHO is among UNICEF’s largest humanitarian donors. In 2013 alone, it provided almost €100 million for UNICEF projects to help children. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

For further information on the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) please contact:

David Sharrock, Tel: + 32 2 296 89 09,
Irina Novakova, Tel: + 32 2 295 75 17,

For further information on UNICEF, please contact: Kate Donovan, UNICEF New York, Tel: 1 212 326 7452