Ricky Martin visits the children of refugees and wants to change the world

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On 1 June 2016, UNICEF goodwill ambassador Ricky Martin speaks to a Syrian refugee girl at a UNICEF supported safe space for children in Tal Hayat in northern Lebanon. Around 60 children from the nearby informal settlement for refugees participate in daily Psycho-social support activities. UNICEF is currently working in 576 intervention sites to deliver child protection interventions across the country. World-renowned singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ricky Martin calls for increased focus on safeguarding the futures of millions of children affected by the Syria conflict, whose lives have been shaped by displacement, violence and a persistent lack of opportunities. During the two-day visit to Lebanon from 1-2 June 2016, Martin also witnessed how UNICEF is working to provide protective environments for children and adolescents where they can play and receive the support they need to get back into formal education. In Lebanon’s Bekaa valley and Akkar, Martin participated in recreational activities for children at safe spaces in informal settlements. Additionally, he met adolescents attending life-skills training, provided by UNICEF and partners, where girls and boys are given vocational training and learning support. Around 1.1 million Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon since the start of the crisis in 2011, more than half of them are children. Child refugees are particularly at risk of exploitation and abuse, with large numbers being left with no choice but to go out to work, rather than attend school. Child refugees are particularly at risk of exploitation and abuse, with large numbers being left with no choice but to go out to work, rather than attend school. The deteriorating economic situation for Syrian refugees has dramatically exacerbated the problem of child labour in Lebanon. Adding to the psychological distress already affecting many of the children who have fled conflict and violence at home is the challenge associated with some of the worst f

The singer has traveled to Lebanon where he met little refugees who escaped from Syria with the start of the conflict.In his role as an ambassador for UNICEF, Martin warned that child refugees were particularly at risk of exploitation and abuse – with large numbers being left with no choice but to go out to work, rather than attend school.Ricky, as a father of two kids, understands these children’s pain and tries his best to help them. But at the same time he understands that it is impossible to do it alone – the whole world must change.

“The world must do more to make sure these children are protected from exploitation and given access to safe environments where they can learn and be empowered,” Martin said, adding: “I am inspired by the courage of these children. They are gaining the knowledge and skills they need to contribute to their families, communities and societies when they reach adulthood. Investing in their present is an investment in the future of the region.”

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