Born out of an unexpected series of events, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was about to close its doors when Polish delegate Ludwik Rajchman spoke up on behalf of the millions that were continuing to suffer following the end of the Second World War. After the war, there was a great need to provide for the world’s most vulnerable population: children. Rajchman specifically targeted this group, knowing the dire need for food, healthcare, and shelter. He is now regarded as the founder of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), as his boldness led to the utilization of funds from the UNRRA being funneled to UNICEF.
Rajchman’s legacy is controversial due to various political views he possessed, coming into conflict with people in both the Eastern and Western Blocs that existed during this period. In spite of all of this, Rajchman never wavered from his goal to make a drastic difference in public health by means of eradicating poverty. UNICEF began to spearhead these efforts, primarily working to help improve the lives of children, regardless of race, gender, and nationality. UNICEF stands out among international organizations in that it is exclusively devoted to children’s issues such as protecting their rights. The organization is particularly unique in its ability to both work at a grassroots level while also gaining facetime with renowned world leaders. UNICEF has both the authority and prestige to influence global policy in the midst of partnering with a wide-range of local NGOs and movements to facilitate positive changes in communities on the ground.
I admire UNICEF’s mission due to the importance placed on one’s childhood experience. As a great proponent of the nurture over nature argument, I find that a child’s foundations truly set the stage for the rest of his or her life. A strong start, aided in part by UNICEF initiatives, can catalyze a child to pursue a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle down the road. It never fails to amaze me what can be achieved by a single individual with a heart for humanity. Rajchman had no idea the impact he would have on generations of youth, but because of his courage in fighting for hurting children of the world, he will go down in history as a father to many.