About the fund

The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF is a joint undertaking between the Harrison family and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support UNICEF programs that provide lifesaving assistance to children, including health, education, nutrition and emergency relief.

In the tradition established by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF continues to support programs in Bangladesh, while expanding its influence to other countries where children are in need.

See below for more information about the programs supported by the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF around the world.

UNICEF in Bangladesh

There are 60 million children in Bangladesh—more than the entire population of the United Kingdom.

Nearly three quarters of them live in rural areas, but in the face of frequent natural disasters and the growing threat of climate change, rural livelihoods are tenuous. Increasing numbers of families are moving to vast urban slums to escape poverty.

UNICEF has been working in Bangladesh for 60 years. The George Harrison family has been part of this work for 40 years. During that time, UNICEF provided emergency relief to thousands of war refugees and children caught in several of the world’s worst cyclones.

Today, the Fund supports three different programs in Bangladesh:

  • Protection of children from HIV/AIDS – through community awareness; peer-to-peer training; prevention of Mother-to-Child transmission; and support groups for women and youth living with HIV.
  • Community-based services – improving socio-economic conditions for women in children in the Chittagong Hill Tract to support basic health, education and hygiene services.
  • Emergency Response – responding to Cyclone Sidr and the humanitarian situation for children affected by the disaster.

In February 2011, Olivia Harrison made her first visit to Bangladesh with the President of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Caryl Stern: Visit To Bangladesh

    ©UNICEF/2011/B. A

UNICEF in Angola

Ten years ago, Angola was a country marked by isolation and poverty. After three decades of civil war, the education sector was left in total disarray, unable to provide for a population whose majority is under the age of 18.

Today, however, Angola is going through a period of growth and development, and the government is investing in social services and infrastructure.

Through the Schools for Africa initiative, UNICEF is contributing to the revitalization of Angola’s education system by working with the Government to rebuild the physical infrastructure and invest in educational training at all levels.

Since 2005, the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF’s support has enabled UNICEF to impact children’s lives through a “Child Friendly Schools” agenda including:

  • Rehabilitation of 400 schools
  • Installation of water and sanitation facilities in 114 schools
  • De-worming campaigns reaching 4 million children, allowing thousands more to attend school.

    ©UNICEF/NYHQ2007-1718/Nesbitt

UNICEF in Brazil

UNICEF’s priority in Brazil is to provide the country’s 60 million children with education, health care and support. Half of these children live in poverty: each day is a struggle for survival. Disparities in education and health care are major challenges in providing equal opportunities to all Brazilian children.

The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF is supporting ‘Conversando com a Escola” (Talking with the Schools, a project implemented by UNICEF and the São Martinho Association. Services benefiting more than 120 children in the Vincente de Carvalho care center include:

  • A safe learning environment with access to activities such as art, sports, reading, story telling, and computer classes
  • Workshops in Judo, Capoeira (a Brazilian martial arts), and musical singing and percussion groups as well as sewing, cooking and computer classes
  • Social educational meetings for 85 families, where topics such as women’s health, violence against children, and combating drug addictions
  • Meetings for adolescents with psychologists to discuss professional career trainings, STDs and sexuality

To provide Brazil’s children with hope for a brighter future, UNICEF Brazil and the São Martinho Association both believe in offering educational programs that involve the entire community and view sport and art as a vehicle for developing self esteem and life-skills.

As the world’s leading international children’s organization, UNICEF strives to provide lifesaving healthcare, education, protection and for all children.

    ©UNICEF/NYHQ2000-0400/Alejandro Balaguer

UNICEF in Romania

There are approximately 7,500 HIV-positive young people in Romania, the majority of which are teenagers between 17 and 19 years old.

These HIV positive teens are vulnerable to stigma and social marginalization. They are badly in need of effective work skills and social support as they enter adulthood.

The support of the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF has allowed UNICEF to partner with the Romanian Angel Appeal (RAA) Foundation to provide direct services to HIV affected children and teenagers to help them gain and maintain employment.

  • An internship program for 20 young people living with HIV/AIDS in Bucharest within the RAA Foundation
  • Vocational training for 60 young people living with HIV/AIDS in the regional counties of Resita, Timisoara and Bacau
  • UNICEF and RAA have been working to overcome prejudice surrounding the hiring of young people with HIV/AIDS. On a policy level, UNICEF has targeted the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection to implement new policies and legislation around the equal right of access to employment.

To combat the social marginalization of youth living with HIV/AIDS, UNICEF will expand its work beyond vocational training and NGO work. One key action is working at the local levels of government to affect employer’s attitudes and broader public perception around employing people with HIV/AIDS.

    ©UNICEF/NYHQ2004-1120/Giacomo Pirozzi

UNICEF in the Horn of Africa

Forty years after UNICEF responded to a humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh, a similar emergency is unfolding in the Horn of Africa.

Famine is taking its toll in Somalia, forcing thousands of families to seek food, water and shelter across the border in Kenya and Ethiopia, where drought conditions are already having an impact.

UNICEF is on the ground delivering lifesaving supplies, setting up feeding centers, and providing hundreds of thousands of children with clean water and vaccinations against deadly disease. But this humanitarian crisis is enormous. Two million children are acutely malnourished and one – third of them will die without urgent assistance.

What is happening in Africa is more than a food crisis. Violence and unrest in Somalia have exacerbated the refugee crisis and hindered humanitarian assistance to those most in need.

UNICEF is there. UNICEF has been operating across Somalia since 1971 and has never stopped working in the South where the volatility is worst.

Horn of Africa map

    ©UNICEF

UNICEF in India

While India has seen tremendous economic growth over the past decade, enormous disparities still exist with a large proportion of India’s 440 million children facing dire challenges.

Funds from the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF have supported the most vulnerable children in India, those who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation; children whose parents who are living with or have died of HIV/AIDS; and children who are themselves living with HIV/AIDS.

Through partnership with Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC) UNICEF’s ‘Investing in Child Protection and Development’ project in Mumbai supports 139 girls and 35 boys orphaned by or living with HIV/AIDS through the provision of long-term shelter facilities.

  • UNICEF has been instrumental in extending the protection of BTC shelters to more children, while improving the level of education for the children under its care.
  • Consultants have reviewed the education program and the formulation of a child protection policy, while tailoring care and rehabilitation for individual children.
  • The models for monitoring and enhancing child development are now being used as templates in UNICEF’s other interventions in state run homes in India.

The project aims to increase children’s access to food, shelter, education and health care, while greatly reducing the high risk of exposure to sexual exploitation, violence and drugs among this particularly vulnerable group. By rehabilitating services around education, recreation, health and psycho-social care, UNICEF strives to offer these children security, stability and a greater chance in life.

    ©UNICEF/NYHQ2007-0671/Radhika Chalasani