How to Talk with Children in the Aftermath of Violence


When violent events occur, it is a natural inclination to want to protect children from the terrifying details as they unfold in the media.  Yet in an age of pervasive communications technology, it is impossible to shield children – especially once they reach school age – from unpleasant world events.  There are ways, however, that we as educators and family members can help youth to cope with and make sense of tragedy in the world around them. 

Kids you are helping by Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF—Rosie Bell in Nicaragua

Almost 800 million people around the world don't have access to clean, safe water including one third of the people living in Nicaragua's country side. Until recently 12 year old, Rosie Bell used to get up at the crack of dawn and walk a mile and a half to fetch water for her family from a creek. Despite all this effort the water was unclean and dirty. Consuming the unclean water caused a nearly fatal case of cholera for Rosie's younger brother.

UNICEF has installed a solar powered water pump and filtration system for a new well in this Nicaraguan community. The new well provides pure clean water that is pumped directly into households. Rosie Bell and other kids are now safe from contracting fatal water borne diseases. Rosie Bell no longer has to take the daily long walk and can attend school.

Feature Film: Not My Life

Not My Life, with this accompanying viewing guide, depicts the scourge of human trafficking on a global scale, contains some graphic scenes and is recommended only for a mature audience. Filmed on five continents in a dozen countries, Not My Life takes viewers into a world where millions of children are exploited through practices including forced labor, domestic servitude, begging, sex tourism and child soldiering.  This 32-minute version of the film was created in partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s End Trafficking project. For more information email endtrafficking@unicefusa.org. Educator resources on child trafficking can be found at http://teachunicef.org/explore/topic/child-trafficking.

Education a catalyst: a conversation with Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire

Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire had dedicated her life to promoting peace, justice and equality in all corners of the world, including her homeland of Northern Ireland. In this podcast, she discusses the situation of children in conflict zones and how education can serve to promote tolerance and build peaceful societies. As Maguire states, “it begins in the schools where we implement education on non-violence, conflict resolution and goes right up to the top of our society where our governments are challenged to use non-violent methods to solving problems.”

A multi-cultural school in Bosnia and Herzegovina brings out the best in children

In Bosnia, the ethnic tensions that triggered the siege of Sarajevo in the mid-1990s are still visible in some schools where separate curricula are used for different ethnic groups. The Džemaludin Čaušević Primary School is an exception. This multi-ethnic, multi-cultural school is open to all students regardless of ethnicity. It serves as an example of how multi-cultural approaches to learning bring out the best in children and communities.


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