Unfairy Tales Series Calls Awareness to Syrian Child Refugees

Unfairy Tales pic
Unfairy Tales
Image: unicefusa.org

Houston, Texas resident Carmen María Montiel possesses over three decades of experience in journalism and television broadcasting. A winner of the 1984 Miss Venezuela Pageant, Carmen María Montiel is also an active participant in community initiatives and a supporter of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). In March 2016, UNICEF launched a series of animated films entitled Unfairy Tales.

Unfairy Tales recounts the true stories of Syrian refugee and migrant children and consists of three animated shorts revealing the horrors that caused the children’s need to flee their home countries. Intended to call attention to the child victims of the Syrian refugee crisis, Unfairy Tales chronicles the children’s experiences with the purpose of creating a more positive perception of child refugees in Syria and worldwide. Furthermore, it serves as part of UNICEF’s Act of Humanity initiative that supports the human rights of children regardless of ethnicity or country of origin.

The series combines stunning animations with chilling narration to tell the children’s stories. Prior to the March launch, UNICEF premiered the series’ first tale at the Supporting Syria and The Region Donor Conference in London on February 4, 2016. The animation premiered features seven-year-old Malak and details her journey across the Mediterranean in search of refuge from the conflict. Visual design company House of Colors supplied the animation and used a custom animation algorithm to give the ocean’s waves a semblance of sentience.

To learn more about the Unfairy Tales series and the children involved, visit unicef.org/media/media_90760.html.


UNICEF and EU Provide Safer Learning Opportunities for Syrian Children

Syrian Children pic
Syrian Children
Image: http://www.unicef.org

Deeply involved in philanthropic work around Houston, Carmen Maria Montiel is especially active in fund-raising endeavors for the Latino Learning Center. Carmen Maria Montiel also supports philanthropy on an international level by serving on the Board of Directors of UNICEF.

In a press release, UNICEF recently announced that it has finalized an agreement with the European Union (EU) to provide greater access to education to more than 2 million children impacted by the conflict in Syria. UNICEF explains that conflict has caused an education crisis in Syria and the surrounding nations, with 25 percent of Syrian schools rendered unusable, an estimated $700 million in lost school infrastructure, and more than 50,000 teachers no longer teaching.

To help the 2.7 million children who are academically displaced, UNICEF and the EU are committing $69 million in grants to expand safe education opportunities in Syria, Turkey, and Lebanon. UNICEF asserts that education initiatives, such as No Lost Generation, are crucial to children’s individual well-being and the future of the region.

Programs at the Latino Learning Center of Houston

Carmen Maria Montiel is an award-winning television journalist and the winner of the 1984 Miss Venezuela Pageant. A resident of Houston, Carmen Maria Montiel spends her free time working with local nonprofits, such as the Latino Learning Center. Several programs hosted by the Latino Learning Center are designed to benefit communities in Houston that are disadvantaged.

Senior housing: The Latino Learning Center sponsors two apartment buildings that are available as housing for Houstonites who are elderly or disabled. Despite the rising prices the East End, where the apartments are located, these units are priced for individuals with low incomes.

Adult daycare: The adult daycare program provides a way for older members of the Houston community to socialize in an environment supervised by registered health professionals. Attendees of the adult daycare program are able to participate in planned activities, receive breakfast and lunch, and receive transportation to and from the program.

Technical skills: To foster success in Houston’s communities, the Latino Learning Center offers bilingual, entry-level training in home air-conditioning and refrigeration and in residential electricity. Each course runs 12 weeks, and each student receives a certificate after completing either of the programs.

The Annual Haras Cup Working Equitation Competition

via saferion

The Haras Cup is an annual tournament showcasing the finest competitors in working equitation, an equestrian discipline. Working equitation involves a horse and its rider being judged based on their teamwork in three categories, including dressage, ease of handling, and speed. In dressage, horses perform a roughly seven-minute routine that is choreographed to music. To showcase ease of handling, horses must clear obstacles such as bridges, gates, or other large objects that may be found in fields. To demonstrate speed, horses must perform similar feats of clearing physical obstacles, but do so while timed.

Established as a competitive sport in the 1990s, working equitation is popular in many regions of Europe. The partnership between horse and rider, along with the vibrant music, makes the sport entertaining to watch.

About the author:

Carmen Maria Montiel headshot

Journalism professional and former Miss Venezuela Carmen Maria Montiel spends much of her time involved with the local culture of Houston, Texas. An attendee of Houston Fashion week and a judge for the Miss Houston pageant in 2015, Carmen Maria Montiel is active in the Texas social scene and last year attended the Haras Cup in Magnolia.

Virtuosi of Houston for Young Musicians

A graduate of East Tennessee State University, Carmen Maria Montiel began her television career in the 1980s as the host of the Venevision programs “Buenos Dias Venezuela” and celebrity news show “Close Up.” Currently a resident of Houston, Texas, Carmen Maria Montiel has also been involved in many community organizations, serving on the board of director for groups such as Virtuosi of Houston, a chamber orchestra for young people.

The only youth chamber orchestra in the city, Virtuosi of Houston is committed to helping young musicians develop their talent in a supportive pre-professional setting. The season comprises three performances, each preceded by 10 rehearsals. The children are led by two maestros, one conducting and the other offering specific instructions as to fingering techniques, sound, and instrument positioning.

To qualify for the program, children aged 11 to 18 must complete an application and prepare a solo or concert piece for audition. Maestros choose between 40 and 55 musicians each season.

The Latino Learning Center’s ESL Program

Carmen Maria Montiel

Carmen Maria Montiel is a former anchorwoman and on-air personality from Venezuela. Attending school in both the United States and Venezuela, Carmen Maria Montiel is fluent in both Spanish and English. She volunteers her talents with the Latino Learning Center (LLC) in Houston, Texas, and recently chaired a gala for the organization in May of 2015.

The Latino Learning Center is a Houston-based facility where native Spanish speakers can go to pursue mastery of the English language. Its English as a Second Language (ESL) program is designed for members of Houston’s low income community, focusing especially on adult education and elderly services. Through the ESL program, students can learn to speak, read, write, and listen to English comprehensively. In the advanced stages of the program, the LLC instructs students in business terminology and teaches useful business conversation skills.

After completing the class, students receive a certificate to verify their completion. The curriculum costs two payments of $90, and spans a 12-week period.

UNICEF Prioritizes Female Education

Carmen Maria Montiel

An experienced television journalist and news anchor, Venezuela native Carmen Maria Montiel has held positions as a reporter for Telemundo-Houston and as a producer of syndicated videos for Ritmos Latinos. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Carmen Maria Montiel has served as on the board of directors for UNICEF since 2009.

UNICEF promotes the rights of children around the world through a number of initiatives, including multiple programs designed to eliminate educational barriers for young girls and achieve greater gender parity. UNICEF strives to empower young girls by advocating for changes in public policy. For example, the organization helped the Kenya Education sector plan include a section on girls’ education investment, and also helped enact policies in South Africa and Zambia that allow girls to return to school after giving birth. According to research, when girls return to secondary education, they earn an average of 25 percent higher wages later in life.

For more information about UNICEF’s educational interventions, visit http://www.unicef.org/education.