Trick or Treat for UNICEF supports ending child labor in Bangladesh

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Can’t go trick-or-treating this year because you’re “too old?” Depressed because of the cold weather and that weighty feeling of being excluded from your favorite Halloween festivity? Don’t worry: there’s a way you can trick-or-treat this year while simultaneously helping out a worthy cause-- all the while avoiding your neighbors' disapproving “aren’t you a little too old to trick-or-treat?”

Perhaps you’ve seen the brightly-colored orange boxes scattered around campus. October’s “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” event is a month-long effort organized by Illinois Tech’s chapter of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to raise money to help eradicate child labor and human trafficking in Bangladesh. “Basically you put in a coin, and that coin goes to UNICEF,” says Mert Pekdemir, head of UNICEF's education committee. “The money that we gather will go to Bangladesh in the name of the children. … UNICEF itself is the organization that saves these children and educates them.” According to Pekdemir, many children in Bangladesh, commonly ages two to ten years old, are kidnapped or sold by their own parents. Some children never see their parents at all, an issue that UNICEF is making every effort to change.

Every month, UNICEF focuses on a different country. Perhaps you remember last month’s “You vs UNICEF” event that raised funds to benefit Mali. Next month, on November 19th, UNICEF will host a talent show to raise funds for November’s country of the month. For each event, all three committees-- education, public relations, and fundraising-- work together to make it a success and meet their fundraising goals. For example, UNICEF’s public relations committee is responsible for the posters and flyers you’ve seen around campus as well as the large painted advertisements on the bridge in MTCC. The education committee, responsible for educating the campus on the chosen issue, raises awareness through things like speaker series’, tabling events, and movie screenings. The first event of the speaker series occurred this month, and according to Pekdemir, UNICEF hopes to bring in at least one speaker every semester. Tabling events involve setting up a table at MTCC’s bridge and, in Pekdemir’s words, “explain to people who are passing through and say, ‘Hey, did you hear about our country of the month?’ ‘Hey, did you know what’s going on around the world?’” Additionally, the education committee screens movies that spread awareness about the hardships children are facing all over the world.

You don’t necessarily need to be on one of UNICEF’s three committees to be involved in what UNICEF does, according to Pekdemir. If you’re interested in becoming further involved in UNICEF’s cause than giving a few coins, you can sign up for UNICEF’s mailing list through Facebook to be informed of future volunteering events.