NEW YORK, April 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- UNICEF supporter and CHIME FOR CHANGE campaign Co-Founder Salma Hayek helped launch CHIME for the Children of Syria, a fundraising appeal to support children and families affected by the Syria crisis, following a recent visit to meet with Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Founded by Gucci, a longtime UNICEF partner, CHIME FOR CHANGE is a global campaign to raise funds and awareness for girls and women around the world focusing on the areas of education, health and justice. For more information on the appeal launching in May or to donate, please visit www.crowdrise.com/CHIMEfortheChildrenofSyria.
Hayek visited Syrian refugees in Lebanon on April 25 to draw attention to the urgent humanitarian needs of children and families whose lives have been upended by the brutal conflict in Syria over the last four years. Across the region, UNICEF estimates that 14 million children have been affected and are at risk of becoming a lost generation, including 2.6 million children who are no longer in school, and close to two million who are living as refugees in neighboring countries.
"Millions of children have been robbed of their childhood, their country and have lost their loved ones. As a result of the conflict in Syria, they are missing out on their education and are having to work to provide for their families," said Hayek. "By donating to the CHIME for the Children of Syria fundraising appeal, you are supporting UNICEF's efforts to provide children with access to learning opportunities and support services to help them cope with the violence they have experienced. The conflict should not mean that an entire generation is lost."
Throughout the region, UNICEF and partners are working to minimize the impact of the Syrian conflict on children by helping restore a sense of normalcy to those who have experienced violence, lost loved ones, are out of school and have limited access to basic services as a result of being displaced.
In Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Hayek met with refugee children and aid workers who are providing a safe environment through counselling, play and learning activities. Hayek observed a polio immunization campaign targeting high risk areas, in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health, UNICEF and local partner Beyond Association to protect nearly 190,000 children under the age of five from the crippling disease. She also witnessed mobile medical clinics set up by UNICEF, the Ministry, and local partners to provide free primary healthcare, including access to vaccines, critically needed examinations, basic medicine and antenatal care to refugees in tented settlements across Lebanon.
"I'm deeply inspired by the courage of the Syrian refugee children and their families that I met in Lebanon who, against the odds, and despite the harm they have suffered or witnessed, are still determined to endure life and hope for a better future. I'm also moved by the generosity so many Lebanese people have shown toward those seeking refuge in their country," said Hayek, whose paternal grandparents were Lebanese. "I plead to everyone who is grateful for the peace and stability in their lives to show compassion for those who have lost it all and to help."
Well-known for films such as Frida, Puss in Boots and most recently The Prophet, Hayek is also member of the CHIME FOR CHANGE Founding Committee supporting women and girls' empowerment. In 2008, Hayek travelled to Sierra Leone with UNICEF to witness firsthand the impact of maternal and neonatal tetanus on women and babies and observe UNICEF's health and immunization programs.
The Gucci-UNICEF partnership was launched in 2005, and has benefitted more than 7.5 million children to date through UNICEF programs that focus on helping the most disadvantaged children have a brighter future through education.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.
About CHIME FOR CHANGE
CHIME FOR CHANGE, founded by Gucci, is a global campaign to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world, with a focus on using innovative approaches to raise funds and awareness for Education, Health and Justice projects. Through the power of crowdfunding, CHIME FOR CHANGE has funded more than 400 projects in 86 countries through 144 non-profit partners reaching hundreds of thousands of girls and women around the world. CHIME FOR CHANGE co-Founders Salma Hayek Pinault and Beyonce Knowles-Carter continue to lead the campaign with its coalition of partner organizations. Founding Partners include the Kering Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Facebook, Hearst Magazines and Catapult. Strategic Partners include P&G Prestige, Twitter and Kellogg's Special K. The CHIME FOR CHANGE Advisory Board includes Hafsat Abiola, Muna AbuSulayman, Valerie Amos, Humaira Bachal, Jimmie Briggs, Gordon and Sarah Brown, Lydia Cacho, David Carey, Joanne Crewes, Minh Dang, Juliet de Baubigny, Waris Dirie, Carolyn Everson, Helene Gayle, Leymah Gbowee, Yasmeen Hassan, Hung Huang, Arianna Huffington, Musimbi Kanyoro, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Lee Young-Ae, Madonna, Pat Mitchell, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Alyse Nelson, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Francois-Henri Pinault, Julia Roberts, Jill Sheffield, Alison Smale, Jada Pinkett Smith, Peter Soer, Caryl Stern, Meryl Streep, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mpho Tutu, Monique Villa and Yang Lan. To stay informed, visit www.chimeforchange.org
About the Gucci-UNICEF partnership:
Globally, a staggering 58 million children of primary school age are out of school, more than half of which are girls. In 2005, Gucci launched a global partnership with UNICEF based on the belief that every child has the right to reach his or her fullest potential through a quality education, because education is a gift forever. Since the start of the partnership, Gucci has contributed more than $20 million (USD) to UNICEF and benefitted more than 7.5 million children to date, making this the most extensive philanthropic partnership in Gucci's history. Gucci's funding supports children's education through activities focused on getting more children in school, ensuring they stay in school, and providing a quality education – with a special emphasis on girls/gender equality.
Founded in Florence in 1921, Gucci is one of the world's leading luxury fashion brands, with a renowned reputation for creativity, innovation and Italian craftsmanship. Gucci is part of the Kering Group, a world leader in apparel and accessories that owns a portfolio of powerful luxury and sport and lifestyle brands.
For further information about Gucci, visit www.gucci.com.
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