The United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, was set up following World War II to help children in war-affected countries. The idea for UNICEF’s holiday cards came from 7-year-old Jitka Samkova in Czechoslovakia in gratitude for the help she received. Her card showed a drawing of a smiling sun and children running around a maypole to depict “joy going around the world.” UNICEF cards began from that humble drawing and today continue to send joy around the world.
Children around the globe living through natural disasters, poverty and war conditions receive emergency relief, school and sports supplies, nutrition and medical care thanks to UNICEF cards and gifts. UNICEF also runs campaigns on AIDS, nutrition, abuse and exploitation.
Created by artists from many countries, the delightful designs of the cards range from religious to contemporary nondenominational themes, with or without the familiar holiday greeting in five languages. Gifts for all ages include puzzles, candles, incense, calendars and daybooks, desk accessories, toys and games, umbrellas and aprons.
Using the slogan “cards and gifts full of life,” the United Nations Women’s Association has a shop at the Jiménez y Tanzi store across from Plaza Atlantis in the western San José suburb of San Rafael de Escazú. It’s open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For a preview of items for sale, see www.tiendaunicefpanama.org. Businesses and organizations can order imprinted cards by calling 2289-5303 or 2288-2536.
Starting Nov. 18, Librería Internacional and some Jiménez y Tanzi stores in the San José metropolitan area will also sell UNICEF cards. The price for a pack of 10 cards is ₡9,000 ($18).