Greta Thunberg has won many awards over the past year and a half, and she always donates her winnings to charity — and her latest honor is no exception. The 17-year-old climate activist just received an award with a $100,000 prize, and she is donating it to benefit vulnerable children who have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. Not only that, but Greta will be working with two charities to start a funding campaign to benefit children in need during the pandemic.
Human Act is a Danish organization that works to fight extreme poverty across the globe. On Thursday, April 30, the organization announced Greta as the first recipient of its Human Act award, which comes with a $100,000 prize. “Greta has been chosen because of her fearless and determined efforts to mobilise millions of people to fight climate change,” Human Act wrote in an Instagram post.
Greta is donating her prize money to UNICEF, a charity that works in nearly every country on the planet to save children’s lives and defend their rights. Human Act is matching her donation, meaning a total of $200,000 will be donated to UNICEF.
And they aren’t stopping there — Greta and Human Act are using the $200,000 to launch a joint global funding campaign with UNICEF called Let’s Move Humanity for Children in the Fight Against Coronavirus. The campaign will support UNICEF´s efforts to protect and save children’s lives during the corona crisis.
The coronavirus is affecting children in poverty.
“The poorest and the most vulnerable people are always the hardest hit by a crisis,” Greta wrote on Instagram. “Just like the climate crisis, the consequences of the corona pandemic will be most damaging for children in poor countries, in the poorest neighborhoods and for those already in disadvantaged and vulnerable situations.”
Greta then pointed out the ways that school closures due to the coronavirus are impacting children in poverty. According to her post, more than 1.5 billion children around the world are affected by coronavirus school closures, and more than 300 million of those children depend on school for meals, water, and sanitation every day. With hospitals overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, children who lose their daily access to food, water, and sanitation may not be able to get the healthcare they need.
While the coronavirus is not directly hurting young people as badly as it is hurting the elderly and those with immunodeficiencies, children in poverty are at a high risk because they may not have access to healthcare.
“Even if children so far generally have been spared the most severe symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, children's lives and heath are already at risk. This is mainly due to lack of access to healthcare services — both for children and pregnant women — because of vaccination campaigns being suspended as well as lack of nutrition,” Greta continued. “With the global health care services becoming overwhelmed there will be many additional child deaths in 2020. This is a global crisis and for millions of children the impact will be lifelong.”
Additionally, students whose families do not have computers are also at a disadvantage during this time of homeschooling. “Millions of children do not have access to distance learning,” Greta added on Instagram. “The digital divide is an example of global inequalities that affects the most vulnerable children.”
Djaffar Shalchi, founder of Human Act, sees this new funding campaign as an opportunity to bring together people from all over the world to help protect vulnerable children.
“Together we want to inspire all fellow global citizens — from youth and grassroot level to politicians, scientists and high-level decision makers — to stand together in solidarity,” Shalchi said in a statement. “No child should be left behind in the face of the pandemic.”
You can donate to Let’s Move Humanity for Children in the Fight Against Coronavirus on UNICEF’s website.
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.