From the smoke and ashes of World War II, a refugee crisis emerged unlike any the world had seen. Out of this destruction, was created to lớn ease the burden of the world’s most vulnerable children.

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The International Children’s Emergency Fund (ICEF) is created by the UN Relief Rehabilitation Administration khổng lồ help children affected by World War II. ICEF is for child health purposes generally và aid is to lớn be distributed lớn all children, without discrimination. 

On 11 December 1946, a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly brings the United Nations Children’s Fund ( into being.  

* Greece, 1946: Children in Patras, a north-western port city, eat cereal provided by the United Nations Relief & Rehabilitation Administration.

1947 to 1965

During his 18 years as Executive Director, Maurice Pate expanded’s work lớn meet the needs of children in a more holistic way. He also strengthened consensus that the needs of children surpass politics. 

* Sweden, 1950: Maurice Pate, first Executive Director, sits on a park bench surrounded by children in Stockholm.


The first private contribution to lớn is received. Khổng lồ this day, relies on millions of supporters khổng lồ help to make a difference in the lives of children.

In the same year, the first National Committee is established in the United States. National Committees are a supportive network of independent charities that raise funds khổng lồ promote’s work around the globe.



The first greeting card is issued. Selling cards soon became one of the organization’s largest & most enduring fundraising activities. National Committees will play a key role in the sale of billions of cards during the next seven decades.

* United States, 1949: Seven-year-old Dzitka Samkova from Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic và Slovakia) painted this image, which was used on greeting cards.


Due to lớn the “necessity for continued action to relieve the sufferings of children” the United Nations General Assembly extends’s mandate ─ emphasizing the organization’s support for children outside of Europe.

* Republic of Korea, 1950: A student in Suwon prepares khổng lồ drink her daily ration of milk, provided by

1953 becomes a permanent United Nations agency. The words ‘International’ và ‘Emergency’ are dropped from the official name but the acronym is retained.’s projects in water, sanitation and hygiene seek khổng lồ reduce preventable childhood diseases và death. Campaigns khổng lồ eradicate yaws, leprosy và trachoma are highly effective. 

* Kenya, 1950: A health worker from a smartphone health unit in Olobelibel applies antibiotic ointment lớn treat a child affected by trachoma. United States, 1954: Danny Kaye visits his former primary school in Brooklyn, New York, where he encourages students khổng lồ help raise funds for


Between 1956 & 1957, more than 13,000 maternal và child welfare centres receive supplies và technical training in 102 countries. The Philippines, 1956: A di động vaccination team in Batangas tests children for tuberculosis.

1957 launches new nutrition programmes. Communities are trained in vegetable gardening, fish pond management, poultry và livestock breeding, và receive education about nutrition.


The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child defines children’s rights to lớn protection, education, healthcare, shelter và good nutrition. India, 1956: A World Health Organization doctor tests children for tuberculosis in New Delhi. Children who test negative for the disease are vaccinated against it.

1961 expands its focus lớn include children’s education. Aid for education programmes are launched globally and continue for years khổng lồ come. Pakistan, 1988: Boys at a temporary school in a camp for Afghan refugees in Peshawar.


The Bellagio Conference (or The International Round Table on Children and Youth in Development Planning) in Bellagio, Italy focuses on ways to links children"s well being khổng lồ national development plans.

Following the Bellagio conference, pivots from being a relief fund khổng lồ an international development agency with technical expertise in all issues concerning children.

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The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to for the "promotion of brotherhood among nations". The Nobel Peace Prize designation recognizes work for children as work for peace. Norway, 1965: Henry Labouisse, Executive Director, receives the Nobel Peace Prize medal on behalf of

"The welfare of today’s children is inseparably linked with the peace of tomorrow’s world."

Henry Labouisse, Executive Director (1965–1979).


Amid much controversy, aid for family planning is approved. Family planning tư vấn is provided within the context of maternal and child health. Liftin Turkey, 1973: Twins are delivered in Ankara. tư vấn included the provision of midwife kits, vitamins, medical equipment and weaning food.

1968 provides aid for mothers & children in civil conflicts in Nigeria and Viet Nam, upholding its philosophy of non-political và non-discriminatory aid. Nigeria, 1969: Packages are prepared in Ubulu for distribution in the Biafra region. Each package contains basic antibiotics, drugs & disinfectant.


The Executive Board expands its aid work to include services "benefiting children in urban slums and shantytowns," increasing the organization’s reach và depth over the years. India, 1992: works with governments to reduce child homelessness in cities.


United Nations agencies mobilize to provide shelter, food, sanitation supplies và water khổng lồ millions of refugees who fled to India from East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh. Ockwell Bangladesh, 1972: provides urgently needed supplies lớn children và women in the newly independent nation.

1973 expands aid for non-formal education (outside regular schools), particularly for rural children và youth. Republic of Dahomey (now Benin), 1969: Boys enter a training centre where they receive education in agronomy in addition to traditional academic subjects. India, 1980: Within 10 years of its development, the Mark II water pump is used in water programmes around the world.


The Alma-Ata conference, jointly convened by WHO và, focuses world attention on primary healthcare and emphasizes community-based approaches khổng lồ family health as the keys khổng lồ achieving an acceptable màn chơi of health throughout the world. Turkey, 1985: A child is vaccinated during the final round of a immunization campaign.


Due lớn its non-political status, is able to lớn lead the United Nations và Red Cross in major relief and rehabilitation operations across Kampuchea, now Cambodia. Kampuchea (now Cambodia>), 1980: A boy in a camp for people displaced by civil conflict shows one of his drawings, which reflects the trauma he has experienced.

The United Nations declares 1979 as the International Year of the Child khổng lồ increase awareness of the conditions facing the world’s children và to spur action on children’s rights. of Fouad Kronfol A 1979 postage stamp from Bhutan commemorates the International Year of the Child (IYC).


With organized global efforts underway, see how focused international efforts to lớn serve children around the world.

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Explore our 1980─1988 timeline. Our history 75 years of Reimagining the future for every child since 1946

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Moving with the times: 1980–1988 Discover the importance of data & research in’s efforts for child survival and development

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Bringing the world together: 1989–2005 Find out how brought nations together under the banner of children’s rights

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Becoming the leading voice: 2006–2020 See how has become the world’s primary voice for child survival và development