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Not On Our Watch Grant to UNICEF to Support Critical Protection Programs for Zimbabwean Refugee Children
Date:6/2/2009

Immediate Funds to Improve Care and Protection of Migrant Children in South Africa

NEW YORK, June 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Not On Our Watch, the international advocacy and aid organization founded by actors George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, producer Jerry Weintraub and human rights lawyer David Pressman, has awarded the U.S. Fund for UNICEF a grant of $438,000 to assist at-risk Zimbabwean refugee children living on the South Africa-Zimbabwe border. The grant will provide critical support for child protection and welfare services for 1,500 unaccompanied and vulnerable children in the border town of Musina, South Africa.

"I've seen first-hand how dire the situation is for Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa. Women are being raped, orphaned children have no protection, and thousands of people are without even the most basic supplies. Every-day survival has become a harrowing task," said Not On Our Watch board member Matt Damon. "As the situation in Zimbabwe remains unresolved, the international community must stop sitting on the sidelines and instead take action to help those who need it most. Not On Our Watch is proud to support UNICEF's work in this critical time."

While the formation of a new coalition government in Zimbabwe signals hope for the Zimbabwean people, the situation for women and children in-country remains at crisis levels. In the last six months, unstable economic conditions, coupled with a severe cholera outbreak have contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of Zimbabweans undertaking the dangerous journey of fleeing to neighboring South Africa, particularly children.

Once in South Africa, refugee children live in extreme situations of risk, including physical and sexual abuse, child labor, and psychosocial trauma, with only limited access to basic necessities such as health services, sh
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SOURCE U.S. Fund for UNICEF
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