Page 1, 24th December 1954

24th December 1954
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Page 1, 24th December 1954 — Children die in want by millions

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Locations: London


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Children die in want by millions

'Catholic Herald' Reporter

OOthe 900,000,000 children in the world today. more than half —500,000,000—live in squalor and die in want. This is the terrible report of Unicef—the United Nations Children's Fund.

Unica works for sick. hungry. under-nourished and underdeveloped boys and girls in 78 countries and territories from Latin America to China and Malaya.

I talked of this to a Sister of Charity hack in England after years of missionary experience in the Far East.

"We arc not internationally minded," she said. "Catholics of this country should support linicef which in Hong Kong, Macau and Formosa, for instance, treats Catholic children the same as any others.

"Allthe Catholic orphanages benefit from its distribution and treatment." she said. "We who have been missionaries have benefited greatly from a number of international bodies--the Red Cross, the Society of Friends, Unice( and many other secular groups of charity."

"I remember," she said. "that it was the Society of Friends (Quakers) who sent us our first relief supplies after the Japanese war, Then it was the different Red Cross societies, not to mention Unrra."

Unicef's work divides into four main groups :

1. Disaster aid; It hastened to the help of flood-stricken Japan.warravaged Korea and the earthquake victims of Cireece.

2. Maternal and Child Welfare Services: In 42 countries and territories of Europe. the Eastern Mediterranean. Asia and Latin America midwives are trained for districts where doctors are scarce. and centres are established and equipped for demonstrating modern techniques of child care.

3. Disease control, and 4. Child nutrition: In the same areas and also

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in Africa, Unicef fights malaria, tuberculosis, yaws w all its festering sores eating into flesh and bone diptheria and whooping cough. all of which take a formidable toll of the mothers and children of the world.

To supplement inadequate diets, getting on for 500.000.000 lb. of milk have been supplied over the past eight years to nourish growing children.

In Latin America. where much social and economic progress depends on the control of the major insectborne diseases, Unicef has equipped mobile teams and D.D.T. squads to reach the remotest districts.

Social and economic evils loom large all over South and South-East Asia. The population there has increased by 40,000,000 over the past four years and every year the rate of increase rises.

To combat the inherent dangers. local Governments in India have set up birth-control clinics. roundly condemned by the Indian Bishops.

Unicef could do much to help Asia solve her perennial problem of providing adequate nutrition for her many millions. and so help to stave off the menace of economic ills productive of grave spiritual harm to many individual souls,

But Unicef is only a small organisation in itself with no more than 300 on the staff.

It works entirely on voluntary contributions from Governments, private persons and associations, procuring and allocating supplies and arranging, through the Governments that seek its aid, for the distribution and

Gifts of money may he sent to Unicef at 25 Charles Street, London, W.I.

The displaced

Another voluntary secular organisation which caters for all denominations alike but whose beneficiaries are largely Catholic or Orthodox is known as "Aid for Displaced Persons." Its headquarters are in Belgium where it has three comfortable homes housing 120 aged displaced persons.

It also runs a sponsorship service whereby families in Europe. North Africa and the United States. at present numbering a little over 7.000, correspond with refugees in the grim D.P. camps of Europe and send them occasional parcels.

This system of "adoption" is described by the organisation as "a miracle of love."

To the abandoned D.P. the "adopter" appears in the lie of a real father, grandfather, son or daughter-often enough the only one he knows.

The parcel, with a little good food and a few small comforts, comes as an undreamed-of gift from heaven.

Towards the end of the war 8.000.000 Russians. Ukrainians and Eastern Europeans fled before the advancing Red armies. Six million went back, Of the rest, the fit emigrated and have been absorbed into England, Australia and the United States.

But they have left behind them a tragic "residue"-this appalling term is an official description-250,000 unfit, maimed. blind. T.B. cases and old men and women, who cannot he received into the immigrant countries, and healthy members of families refusing to abandon their sick and helpless relatives.

'Hard core'

This "hard core." as it is nowadays called, counting among its numbers many unmarried mothers and very many children, has been left to the ex-enemy countries for what has been ruthlessly described as a sort of "wardamage liability."

These unfortunates drag out a hopeless existence in filth, in despair. in circumstances breeding immorality -children, the sick and the aged herded in with the others.

There is no intellectual outlet for those with a background of education and culture.

They are unwanted. alone and forgotten, strangers in a country which has little time for them. They include 20,000 old people and 80,000 cases of tuberculosis.

Enquiries in this country may be addressed to Mrs. J. B. Duff. 53 Draycolt Place, London. S.W.3. Parcels-especially of underclothes, fats, sugar and medical suppliesmay be sent to headquarters at 35 rue du Marche. Huy. Belgium.

Moneys may be sent to Col. H. Stacppoole, 119 Peps s Road. London, S.W.19.

More sponsors are urgently needed, and also translators to render letters into a number of difficult languages.

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