The Lord Of The Ring actor, Orlando Bloom who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador meets with children, families displaced by the Boko Haram insurgents in Diffa, South-east Niger.
In a region afflicted by terrorism, deprivation and malnutrition, Bloom said it would be difficult for anyone to comprehend the extent of suffering of the people in the Boko Haram affected regions – Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.
“As a father, it is hard for me to imagine how many of these children are caught up in this conflict. During my trip I have heard dreadful stories about children fleeing on foot, leaving everything behind, including the safety of their homes and classrooms.
“It is extremely hard to comprehend this situation when you are not there. I saw the depth of the pain and suffering these kids are going through. This is not something any child should experience.”
According to the report from look to the stars, the English actor met with teenagers such as 14-year-old Amada Goni who has been living with his family in Garin Wazam, a camp for displaced persons. And other children whom he said are in dire need of clean water, psychological care and education.
The Diffa region is said to hosts over 240,000 internally displaced persons, refugees and returnees – including 160,000 children. As a result, hundreds and thousands of children are out of education and are at risk of malnutrition.
Bloom described his visits as extremely motivational and inspiring. He expressed enthusiasm at the feeling of happiness UNICEF has brought to so many children like Amada.
“It was amazing to witness the smile on Amada’s face as he played basketball with his friends. This is the result of UNICEF’s work.
“This visit has been extremely moving. Every single child I met is affected by this conflict and in desperate need of basic services such as clean water, psychological care and education to help them recover from the atrocities they have suffered and witnessed. They deserve a childhood.”
With public figures like Orlando Bloom, UNICEF and its partners in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have increased the level of assistance to thousands of families in the region, with access to safe water, education, counselling and psychosocial support, as well as vaccines and treatment for malnutrition.
UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Poirier said that these children have suffered unimaginable violence and abuse.
“They have lost their families, their homes and missed out on years of education. What these children need most is an end to the violence, and until that is possible, we must do all we can to support them in rebuilding their lives.”
However, the group’s humanitarian work faces a lot of challenges such as a shortage of funding and difficult access due to insecurity which hinders the delivery of assistance to thousands of children in need.