Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, Massachusetts
Link to Maria Cardoza's Senior Art Thesis
~  Maria  Cardoza ~

UNICEF's Aid to Children in the Post-World War II Political Context

The Role of Familial Structure in the Works of Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline  Woodson
From its beginnings in the immediate devastation after World War II, UNICEF transformed the postwar world. Its mission to promote the well-being of children served as a link, connecting politically and economically different nations under a common goal of a better future. Following the devastation of World War II, UNICEF, then known as ICEF, was created as a temporary emergency relief program. The organization once seen as peripheral exceeded expectations and flourished. From the 1940s through the 1960s UNICEF pioneered relief efforts, including new sanitation practices for ravaged areas, adequate education, disease prevention and treatment as well as direct monetary aid. The new active role of UNICEF and its astonishing results made UN delegates more aware of the need for change in the treatment of children. The United Nations Children’s Fund was instilling hope in the lives of children and creating a sturdier foundation for the re-stabilization of countries around the globe.

Novelist Jacqueline Woodson would strongly agree with UNICEF’s message and its advancement in building healthy environments for children. Depicting teenage protagonists, Woodson introduces her audiences to life’s obstacles, exploring life lessons and societal misconceptions along the way. In every story line, an adolescent struggles to define himself in a world that seems to be working against him. Coming from broken families and facing social issues such as racism, poverty, abuse, teenage pregnancy, and alcoholism, Woodson’s characters learn about themselves and the importance of a reliable support system. It is not until the protagonists realize the harshness of life’s reality that they can mature enough to reintegrate themselves in a functioning family unit, thus creating the ideal environment in which to overcome their hardships and succeed.

Major Works Consulted :

Black, Maggie. Children First: The Story of UNICEF, Past and Present. New York: Oxford UP, 1996.
Kagan, Neil, and Jerry H. Bentley. National Geographic Concise History of the World and Illustrated Timeline. Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2006.
Woodson, Jacqueline. Hush. New York: Penguin, 2002.
---. I Hadn’t Meant To Tell You This. New York: Penguin, 1994.
Photo Credit: Hipple, Ted. Writers for Young Adults. Vol.1. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2000.