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We are lacking in all aspects of youth wellness, including everything from physical health and nutrition, to spiritual health and level of happiness.
The way we communicate with the outside world is holding us back.
With another school year upon us, why not take this time to reflect on the well-being of Canadian children and youth?
Thousands of children are unaccompanied and defenceless, and some are deeply disturbed by the violence they have witnessed.
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"I was a little girl when I came from Syria, I was 11 years old and just thinking about toys; now I have grown up."
©UNICEF/ Syria 2017/ Al- Issa
Cheap, highly processed, energy-dense foods may fill empty stomachs, but their nutritional meagerness does little to satisfy basic dietary needs.
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I was in Grade 8 when I was forced to leave school, after fighting started in my village in eastern rural Aleppo.
Canada currently ranks 14th out of the 41 richest countries for teen mental health and a shocking 31st out of 41 for teen suicide. Why do we rank so low you may ask? That's the question experts across the country are working to address each day.
Renewed fighting in the southern Syrian governorate of Dar'a forced children and their families out of their homes and into the wilderness. After six years of war in Syria, it has become commonplace for families living through cycles of intense violence and relative calm to seek shelter in agricultural fields until it is safe to return home.
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On Friday UNICEF is releasing a major report linking trafficking to smuggling and calling on the G7 countries meeting in Sicily to come up with plans to protect migrant children from the people predators. Mary's story reveals how the smugglers exploit children and their families.
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UNICEF says 96,000 unaccompanied children claimed asylum in Europe in 2015.
Wherever they are, mothers will do anything for their children. At UNICEF, we witness it every day while we work to help children and their families survive and thrive. For Mother's Day, be inspired by some of those mothers who do everything they can to keep their children safe, healthy and happy.
As you approach Lake Chad, the air is dusty, and the sparse vegetation is broken only by shrubs. We mentioned the shrinking Lake Chad issue to Aïta but she had never heard of it. I took bits of straw, sticks, and leaves to explain that the Lake Chad she knows is disappearing.
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Continued violence and insecurity in Syria have driven 6.8 million people from their homes. Amid the severe deprivation and uncertainty that come with displacement, mothers like Nada, 28, draw on whatever support they can get to meet their children's basic needs while aspiring for a better future.
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Until all sieges across Syria are lifted, Madaya and the many other besieged areas just like it remain a two-sided reality aspiring for peace and normality. "We only need peace," a young man told me. "We need to feel safe and lead normal lives again."
Children get the best start in life when they spend their early years lovingly nurtured by engaged caregivers. Helping parents raise healthy, well-adjusted kids is a win-win situation: what's good for the kids is also good for the world.
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April 6 is the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, a day when we recognize the tremendous power of sport. Evidence shows that the benefits of sport are undeniable. For instance, according to the World Health Organization, for every $1 spent on sports-related programs, $3 is saved on public health care costs.
Forget geopolitics that make it all too easy to declare ourselves powerless. Think instead of the Syrian children and teens, of the millions of internally displaced persons and millions of refugee children whose journeys have been much too perilous. We all have a role to play in ensuring a better future for vulnerable children in Syria and in the neighbouring countries that have so generously opened their doors to nearly five million Syrians.
As the conflict in Yemen enters its third year, families' coping mechanisms are being stretched to their limit, risking a total collapse in resilience.Yemen is now the largest food security emergency in the world. The number of extremely poor and vulnerable people is skyrocketing.
The shelter in Aleppo seems plucked out of a fairy tale. Mohammad and his siblings stepped through the welcoming green door and walked into a safe place for the first time in months. They were surrounded by a tiny garden filled with Jasmine flowers and olive trees and a big house filled with children laughing and playing.
It's now more than a month since famine was declared in parts of South Sudan. For children in the world's youngest country, the worsening food crisis comes at a time when they already face countless challenges on a daily basis. The scale of the crisis engulfing the country is staggering.
For millions of people around the globe, water, sanitation and hygiene conditions have improved. Still, in 2017, 663 million people are using unsafe drinking water. VII Photo's Ashley Gilbertson photographed in seven countries for UNICEF, making portraits of families and their daily water use.
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In late 2016 when the rains failed, a severe drought hit the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya, affecting over 2.7 million people. Marsabit is one of the hardest hit counties, where thousands of children are food insecure and in dire need of treatment for severe malnutrition.
Challenges in access in several parts of Syria stand in the way of assessing the full scale of children's suffering and of urgently getting humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable girls and boys. Beyond the bombs, bullets and explosions, children are dying in silence often from diseases that can otherwise be easily prevented. Access to medical care, lifesaving supplies and other basic services remains difficult.
Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan and looms in Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. Every day children are dying and UNICEF is working with partners to provide life-saving support for children and families. These are the stories of some of the children caught in this crisis.
Conflict attacks the systems that support the routines of daily life. The result is that, during conflict, millions of children miss out on the basic vaccines they need to stay healthy and have a fair chance in life. Most often the children affected are the most vulnerable to disease.
For children and their families across Syria, winter used to bring joy. But after six years of conflict, childhood memories of getting cozy around the heater, playing in the snow and warm winter clothes are all but forgotten.
Two refugee crises may be more than 70 years apart, but they have striking parallels.
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From Syria to Yemen and Iraq, from South Sudan to Nigeria, children are affected by relentless conflicts and displacement crises, as well as devastation wrought by natural disasters.
Given that inequalities emerge early in life - and seem to persist - it is imperative and urgent that Canada invest, develop and sustain a high-quality early child development framework.
Before the conflict in Yemen escalated, 10-year-old Fahd lived peacefully with his family in the northern city of Sa'ada. His routine was to wake up every morning, go to school, play with friends in the evenings and go back home for dinner and do his school homework.
Three years of conflict in South Sudan have taken a massive toll on the lives of millions of children and women across the country. As a result of the violence that erupted in December, 2013, nearly 3.1 million South Sudanese have been forced to flee their homes, with children representing about half of all those who are displaced.