Yale UNICEF is comprised of Yale students with a wide array of backgrounds, interests, and talents—all of whom are united by their love for children.


    ​Yale UNICEF is a member group of the United Nations International Children’s Fund Campus Initiative that aims to raise awareness about children’s issues—including poverty, development, safety, rights, health, education, and inclusion in their communities. Additionally, Yale UNICEF strives to contribute to efforts made on behalf of children both locally and internationally. Yale UNICEF hopes to inspire and empower members of the Yale community by providing them with both opportunities and tools to engage in student leadership, activism, and community service work on behalf of children worldwide.


    Yale UNICEF holds fundraising and advocacy events throughout the school year. Additionally, we have been expanding our involvement in the local New Haven community. While our events and programs vary every semester, below are some of our staples that you can look out for throughout the year!

    Arts for Healing


    A new connection with Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, small groups of Yale UNICEF members volunteer in the Pediatric Emergency Waiting Room twice a month to provide arts and craft activities to patients and their families. This is our first community outreach program, started last year, that we hope to expand as more students get involved. 


    Interested in volunteering? Please contact danielle.stamer@yale.edu

    Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF

    October/Early November

    Yale UNICEF continues the tradition of Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF (collecting change instead of candy) on campus in a variety of ways. From dorm trick-or-treating to hosting Halloween parties to collecting change from local stores, we love to get into the spirit of Halloween and raise money for UNICEF at the same time. 

    Tap Project


    Joining UNICEF's efforts to advocate for access to clean and safe water for all children, Yale UNICEF gets the word out about the Tap Project on campus. In more recent years, UNICEF has developed an app where for every 10 minutes you don't use your phone, a child is provided 1 day of clean water. Yale UNICEF has hosted "Anti-Study Breaks," during which we offer a quiet place for students to study during busy midterm season and not get distracted by their phones that are set aside to raise funds for UNICEF through the app.


    Check out the app here: http://tap.unicefusa.org/

  • TEAM

    Sophia Catsambi


    Sophia is a junior in Berkeley College, originally from Athens, Greece, majoring in History.. She is passionate about human rights and especially children's rights and has focused on those interests on Yale's campus through her participation in Yale UNICEF since her first year, working on both the Community Outreach and Advocacy Teams. Last year, as Advocacy Director, she led several awareness campaigns in cooperation with other Yale organizations but also with the New Haven community. In her free time she loves to run, dance, cook and learn foreign languages. She is very excited to be part of UNICEF this year and has high hopes for what this year's team is capable of achieving!

    Beatriz Cabrita


    Beatriz is a Junior Economics major in Berkeley College. She worked in Yale UNICEF as a Fundraising Coordinator and Director, helping to raise funds and organize events throughout the year. Academically, Beatriz is interested in healthcare, finance and economics. She lived in Swaziland for seven years before Yale, and through community service and community interaction, she developed a passion in children’s rights, and hopes to raise awareness and exposure to these issues on campus. She is very excited to head Yale UNICEF this year with our wonderful team!

    Antonia Seyfarth

    Advocacy Director

    Antonia is a sophomore in Berkeley college. She is an international student from Berlin, Germany and is very passionate about advocating for children's rights and refugee rights. She developed these interests through her participation in Yale UNICEF and New Haven Reads in her freshman year. As Yale UNICEF's Advocacy Director she is looking forward to raising awareness for children's rights issues on campus and beyond!

    Ruhi Manek

    Community Outreach Director

    Ruhi is a sophomore in Morse college from Kenya hoping to major in Ethics, Politics & Economics (EP&E). As the Community Outreach Director this year, she is excited to increase UNICEF'S reach both on Yale's campus and the New Haven community at large. She is passionate about children's education and is the co-president of Yale's first chapter of She's The First: a non-profit organization that sponsors girls' education from low-income countries all the way to graduation. She is also passionate about women's empowerment and sustainable development in Africa. She hopes to be able to positively impact the community here with the amazing UNICEF team! In her free time, Ruhi walks the Chaplain's home dog or can be found binge-watching FRIENDS on Netflix.

    Akila Shanmugham

    Conference Director

    Akila is a sophomore interested in political science and economics. She is happy to continue Yale UNICEF's tradition of fostering strong relationships with the New Haven community. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano, paddle-boarding, writing, and eating platefuls of Yale's Mac and Cheese.

    Rachel Shehayeb

    Conference Director

    Rachel is a sophomore in Pauli Murray College from Lebanon. After an incredible experience serving as conference coordinator for the 2016 Yale UNICEF conference on child refugees, she is very excited to be serving as conference co-director this year for the 2017 conference on child trafficking. Rachel is very passionate about child rights with particular interests in education, health and wellbeing. Besides from UNICEF, Rachel splits her time serving as co-president of global medical brigades at yale, on the board of the yale arab student association, volunteering and doing research at the medical school.

    Anya Malik

    Finance Director

    Anya is a junior in Morse, and she plans to major in Math and Economics. She is so excited to work with this year's incredible team as the board's Finance Director. Apart from UNICEF, she is the Vice President for Yale HSC, Treasurer for Yale DCI, on the ISO Political Council, and on the Investment Board of Smart Woman Securities. In her free time, she loves to swim, hike and travel. She is so excited to be back at Yale for another year of exploring New Haven (and hopefully more of New York too)!

    Miguel Lepe

    Fundraising Director

    Miguel is a Junior Neuroscience major in Morse College. He is from Sacramento, California and was a member of the Fundraising Committee last year, but is serving as Director of Fundraising this year. He is also involved in Students for Autism Awareness at Yale, Men’s Club Volleyball, and a Morse Aid. He is looking forward to raising funds and awareness for children’s rights, especially access to education.

    Victor Dimas

    Publicity Director

    Victor is a sophomore in Davenport College. He is an international student from Athens, Greece, who is interested in majoring in Political Science and/or Philosophy. This year is his second year with Yale UNICEF, since last year he was one of the Advocacy Coordinators. Knowing firsthand the work that the rest of the Yale UNICEF teams do, he hopes to make it known to the friends and followers of the club both within and outside the Yale community.

    Lena Chan

    Advocacy Coordinator

    Lena is a freshman in Timothy Dwight college from Salt Lake City, Utah. Currently, she is interested in pursuing Psychology, Cognitive Science, or Neuroscience at Yale. Before attending Yale, she tutored and coordinated lessons on English, cultural exchange, and physical and mental health for refugee students and lower school girls in her local community. Lena remains passionate about immigration and sexism and hopes to continue raising awareness about international issues affecting children around the world by contributing to the UNICEF Advocacy team.

    Grace Kim

    Advocacy Coordinator

    Grace is a first year in Benjamin Franklin College, interested in studying either statistics & data science or sociology. Before coming to Yale, she interned at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, advocating for increased global youth citizenship. Having been a summer school and day care teacher, she loves to work with kids and to give them opportunities to grow and to thrive. With Yale UNICEF, She hopes give a voice to the children and youth around the world who are not able to stand up for themselves.

    Valentina Wakeman

    Advocacy Coordinator

    Valentina has lived in London, Brazil, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Puerto Rico, and Miami. Throughout the transition from country to country and school to school, she has always been involved in UNICEF's local chapters and personally identifies with their mission and work. Her dream is to help impoverished and malnourished children in developing nations worldwide, especially in her beloved Argentina, which she considers her true home country despite living abroad for so long.

    Matthew Peoples

    Advocacy Coordinator

    Matt is a sophomore in Silliman College from Ireland. He is looking forward to getting involved in advocating for UNICEF's values in the Yale community and throughout New Haven, and is dedicated to increasing awareness for children's challenges in the world today. At Yale, he is an MCDB major and is involved in AIESEC and the International Student's Organisation (ISO).

    Yuki Hayasaka

    Advocacy Coordinator

    I am a sophomore in Hopper, coming from Tokyo, Japan. As a prospected Anthropology major, I am eager to learn more about children in vulnerable situations and to study ways to support them. In my free time, I like to play tennis, watch superhero movies, and collect action figures.

    Eleni Macridi

    Advocacy Coordinator

    Eleni is a sophomore in Pierson College majoring in Computer Science. She is passionate about development and helping the most vulnerable, and explored these interests volunteering at an NGO in Greece for two years and working with children at a Native American reservation in SD over the summer. On campus, she is part of Yale UNICEF, the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, Float and SheCode. She hopes to combine her love for coding and social work in her career in the future.

    Ayla Khan

    Outreach Coordinator

    Ayla is a first year in Morse from Pakistan. She hopes to major in Economics, Politics and Ethics. In Pakistan, she was involved with the Human Right’s Commission Pakistan, several orphanages, charity schools and hospitals such as the Jinnah hospital. Her focus in the community service sector is the advancing of quality education, and making the arts as a means of self expression, accessible to more people. She aspires to be a committed member of Yale UNICEF and is also a member of Dwight Hall’s First Year’s In Service program. Besides community service, she loves acting in theatre, and debate. One day, she hopes to use her knowledge and experience from organizations like the Yale UNICEF to establish her own NGO (and to spread more happiness in the world!)

    Samantha Coury

    Outreach Coordinator

    Samantha is a sophomore in Berkeley College. As a first year, she was Director of Community Outreach and is now serving on this year's conference team. On campus, she is pursuing global affairs as a pre-medical student. Outside of UNICEF and class she works with children at the Child Study Center.

    Illayda Orhan

    Outreach Coordinator

    Ilayda is a first-year Trumbullian from Istanbul, Turkey. She intends to major in CogSci with a focus on Psychology --one of the recent topics which sparked her interest is infant cognition. She is passionate about making a positive change in the world. She’s worked in several community involvement projects regarding the education of underprivileged kids back home. At Yale, she felt lost trying to find where to invest this passion of creating change until she found (drum roll please…) Yale UNICEF. She’s looking forward to getting to know the children of New Haven and, hopefully, making their worlds a little more brighter, colorful and happier.

    Anaheed Mobaraki

    Outreach Coordinator

    Anaheed is a first-year in Pauli Murray college and is very excited about joining the Yale UNICEF team! She is interested in majoring in Political Science or Global Affairs with passions in Civil Rights and Human Rights. Before coming to Yale, Anaheed led the UNICEF branch at her high school and participated in many bake sales and restaurant nights as a way to fundraise for the club. As part of the Community Outreach team, Anaheed is hoping to extend her efforts with UNICEF to also include the New Haven community and directly aid the children and families located there.

    Olivia Turk

    Conference Coordinator

    Olivia is a sophomore in Branford majoring in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB). Although she is majoring in a STEM field, she aspires to attend law school after graduation because of her passion for human rights justice and global law. On campus, Olivia is involved in Lawyers without Borders and is a research assistant at the Yale Cancer Center. This summer, she worked for the Lawyers without Borders national headquarters, working in the area of human trafficking and wildlife crime. She is excited to be part of the UNICEF team this year!

    Rebecca Dai

    Conference Coordinator


    I am a first-year in Branford College, possibly double majoring in Physics and History. I grew up in Chongqing, China and came to the United States three years ago. Besides UNICEF, I am currently a board member of Yale College Counsel Events Committee and China Economic Forum.

    Melat Lulseged

    Conference Coordinator

    Melat is a first-year in Benjamin Franklin College from Los Angeles, California. She is pursuing a major in Global Affairs and hopes to become a Human Rights Scholar through Yale’s Multidisciplinary Program in Human Rights. On campus, she’s involved with the Yale Association for African Peace and Development, Every Vote Counts, and the Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association. In her free time, she enjoys photography, binge-watching The Office, and debating those who claim that Arethusa’s ice cream is better than Ashley’s. She’s passionate about children’s rights, and is excited to be a part of the Yale UNICEF team!

    Ariadne Letrou

    Publicity Coordinator

    Ariadne is a first year in Timothy Dwight College. She is originally Greek, but grew up in the UK. She is interested in pursuing a career in STEM. Before coming to Yale, Ariadne founded a summer music program in Paxos (Greece) after the local school’s program was cut due to the economic recession. At Yale, she teaches health education to New Haven public schools through CHE and was elected on the First-year Class Council. She is excited to be part of Yale’s UNICEF team this year!

    Catherine Bui

    Publicity Coordinator

    Catherine is a junior majoring in History of Science, History of Medicine & Public Health. She is interested in cultural perceptions of health and medicine as well as human rights and law. As publicity coordinator for Yale UNICEF, she hopes to bring attention to important causes through art and design. She is also currently a part of Yale Launch, club archery, and her residential college student activities committee. In her free time, she enjoys baking, crafting, and playing her ukulele.

    Allison Chun

    Finance Coordinator

    Allison Chun is a first year in Berkeley who plans to study economics. She's excited to be working with UNICEF as a part of the finance team. She's looking forward to working with others who are also dedicated to helping children. Apart from UNICEF, Allison is a violinist in YSO, plays squash, and loves to travel, dance, and eat at the Berkeley dining hall.

    Jever Mariwala

    Fundraising Coordinator

    Jever Mariwala is a first year from Mumbai, India. She will most likely be majoring in English or Neuroscience. She has joined Yale UNICEF because she has seen the importance of UNICEF in helping improve the conditions for children and women in her own country, and so hopes to contribute to the cause in New Haven. Outside of Yale UNICEF, Jever works as a Community Health Educator and writes for the Yale Daily News. In her free time, she enjoys running her puppy’s Instagram account, spending time with her friends and reading on Old Campus.

    Megan Xu

    Fundraising Coordinator

    Megan is a freshman interested in Economics, International Development, and Human Rights. She is from California but spent has spent time living in Myanmar and the Dominican Republic. In the past year, she worked at a non-profit focused on educating and empowering young girls. She is excited to join Yale UNICEF and raise awareness on campus for children's rights, women's rights and education issues.


    On Child Trafficking


    The Yale Undergraduates for UNICEF’s annual spring conference is this Saturday, April 7th in LC 102 from 10:00am till 4:30 pm. This year’s conference is on Child Trafficking, with a special emphasis on Connecticut. Confirmed speakers include Raymond Bechard( author of the Berlin Turnpike), Jillian Gilchret (chair of Trafficking in Persons Council for the Connecticut General Assembly), Reid Maki (coordinator of the Child Labor Coalition<http://www.stopchildlabor.org/>) , Viktoria Curbello (NYC Community engagement fellow for UNICEF), Yvette Young (Project Director/Human Anti-trafficking Response Team for the village for families and children) and Sarala Nagala (deputy chief of the Major Crimes and National Security Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office) among others. The conference is comprised of panels centered on health, legal enforcement and child labor, with talks on the intersection of technology and trafficking and on child labor. The conference concludes with a "current voices" panel with a special emphasis on trafficking in New Haven, in coordination with Love146 Directors.

    This event is free, with no preregistration required.
    Feel free to drop by throughout the day!


  • Confirmed Speakers

    William Casey King

    William Casey King is the Director of the Capstone Program and a lecturer at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. His research focuses on the nexus of national security and technology. King is a recipient of several grants from the Defense Research Projects Administration (DARPA) including a “big data” grant, as part of the White House’s Big Data Initiative (XDATA), a grant to measure and combat radicalism in social media (QCR) and is co-leader of a DARPA seedling effort on financial warfare. He has consulted to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the FBI, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. At Yale, he teaches courses on big data and global policies, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing, and anti-human trafficking. He currently is a member of a Connecticut United States Attorney’s Office Task Force assisting with investigation of human trafficking in children. He is the author of a book on the history of ambition (Ambition, A History, Yale University Press), and articles published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.


    Zoë Root 

    Zoë Root is Senior Policy Counsel at the Justice Programs Office (JPO) and an Adjunct Instructor in the School of Public Affairs at American University. At JPO, she works on the Right to Counsel National Campaign, and is the project director of the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court (JDTC) Initiative, providing training and technical assistance to JDTC’s nationally working to bring their policies and practices into alignment with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s JDTC Guidelines. Ms. Root joined JPO after five years as a supervising attorney and staff attorney at The Bronx Defenders. During her time as a public defender, she director of the Prostitution Conviction Vacatur Project and served as coordinating attorney in the Bronx County human trafficking intervention court. She also represented adolescents and adults on all criminal charges and trained and supervised first-year attorneys. Prior to law school she worked as a court representative at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), an alternative-to-incarceration program for adolescents in New York City. Ms. Root earned her JD at Northeastern University School of Law, and holds a BA in Psychology from Vassar College.

    Yvette Young

    Yvette is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Trinity College and her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Cambridge College. Yvettehas nineteen years of experience working for non-profit organizations as a leader, director, trainer and clinician. She worked for the YWCA of the Hartford Region's Sexual Assault Crisis Service Program for five years, as a Training Coordinator and then as the Program Director. She worked for Catholic Family Services’ Black Family Enrichment Program as an outpatient therapist for two years. She worked as the Senior Program Director for a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility for children and as the Senior Director of Permanency Services at the Village for Families and Children, Inc. She is currently working as the Project Director/Human Anti-trafficking Response Team Coordinator for the Village for Families and Children Inc. in partnership with DCF. She provides leadership oversight for the Human Anti-trafficking Response Team, Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children grants and the Juvenile Review Board at the Village.


    Victoria Curbelo

    Inspiring global citizenship, Victoria has engaged and mobilized +22,150 individuals on issues affecting children. Her passion for human rights has led her everywhere from delivering briefings at the United Nations to managing 24 Fair Trade campaigns in universities all around the Mid Atlantic region. She has worked in major international organizations that include the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (UNICEF USA), Fair Trade USA, the International Rescue Committee, and Jabalna.

    She currently serves as the Community Engagement Fellow for UNICEF USA's Global Citizenship program. She sits on the Coalition for Global Citizenship, Coalition to Stop Trafficking in Persons, and the Mid Atlantic Leadership Team for Fair Trade Campaigns. Additionally, she completed her Master's in Public Health at the CUNY School of Public Health, majoring in Urban and Community Health. Her academics have provided her with a solid foundation in data and research driven problem solving. She previously earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Italian at College of the Holy Cross, and completed a year of her university coursework in Italian at the Università di Bologna.


    Sarala Nagala

    Sarala V. Nagala is a Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and the deputy chief of the Major Crimes and National Security Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Connecticut. She was previously a litigation associate at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in San Francisco.She currently serves as the Community Engagement Fellow for UNICEF USA's Global Citizenship program. She sits on the Coalition for Global Citizenship, Coalition to Stop Trafficking in Persons, and the Mid Atlantic Leadership Team for Fair Trade Campaigns. Additionally, she completed her Master's in Public Health at the CUNY School of Public Health, majoring in Urban and Community Health. Her academics have provided her with a solid foundation in data and research driven problem solving. She previously earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Italian at College of the Holy Cross, and completed a year of her university coursework in Italian at the Università di Bologna.


    Kirsten Bechtel

    Dr Bechtel is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Bechtel is Medical Director, Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program; Chairperson, Yale Traffic Safety Subcommittee; Co-Chairperson, State of Connecticut Child Fatality Review Panel; and Co-Principal Investigator, Injury Free Coalition for Kids at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital She received her Medical Degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Rutgers Medical School; completed her pediatric residency at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and completed her fellowship training at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

    Jillian Gilchrest​

    Jillian Gilchrest, MSW, is the Director of Health Professional Outreach for the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. A graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, Ms. Gilchrest has extensive experience advocating for women’s health and safety, in particular influencing public policy. Jillian has worked to address and prevent violence against women in various capacities throughout her career. She currently Chairs the State’s Trafficking in Persons Council for the Connecticut General Assembly and leads the state’s End Demand campaign. Jillian is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Connecticut where she teaches Political Advocacy.

    Raymond Bechard ​

    Raymond Bechard is an Author, Producer and Human Rights Advocate. For over 25 years he has worked to provide justice, cooperation and equality to people across the globe. Bechard often advises organizations in their mission to bring hope and encouragement to the world.

    Well known as an outspoken Provocateur, Bechard is credited with writing multiple pieces of successful legislation focusing on human trafficking, forcing Facebook to enact stronger child-safety measures and removing thousands of illicit pages of content from their website, “killing” a Tribune Media publication after it continued to run ads selling illegal “escort” services, and generally making people in power uncomfortable whenever he focuses his resources, writing and public speaking on them.


    Norma Flores Lopez

    Norma Flores Lopez is the Governance and Development/Collaboration Manager at East Coast Migrant Head Start Project and serves as the chair of the Child Labor Coalition’s Domestic Issues Committee. She has long been an active advocate for migrant farmworker children’s rights and continues to raise awareness on issues affecting farmworkers and creating meaningful engagement with the farmworker community in her current role. Having spent a childhood full of struggle in the agricultural farms, Norma has come a long way and is today one of the most influential personalities, in the world of farmworkers' rights.


    Wendy Bowersox​

    Special Agent Wendy Bowersox of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Squad Wendy is dedicated to investigating child exploitation and sex trafficking cases. She was the recipient of the The National Security and Major Crimes Unit Award.


    Erin Williamson

    Erin Williamson, MSW/MPA, serves as the US Survivor Care Program Director for Love146. Erin has over 15 years of direct service, program management, and applied research experience in the fields of social service and criminal justice, with particular expertise in the areas of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. Her direct service experience includes working with survivors of child sexual exploitation in Mexico and Kenya, and providing oversight and counseling to youth involved with the juvenile justice system. Erin also worked for Polaris Project and Projection Project prior to joining Love146.







    • Richard Skolnik, Professor of Global Health at Yale University
    • Deidre Moskoff, Humphrey Fellow (South Africa) at Syracuse University
    • Rami Nakhla, Syrian Activist and Yale World Fellow
    • Andrew Beer, Board of Directors for UNICEF USA



    • Dr. Stephanie Goins, Executive Program Director of Love146
    • Dr. Monzer Yazji, Founding Member of the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations
    • Dr. Ehsan Hoque, Founder and Executive Director of Distressed Children and Infants International



    • Ishmael Beah, Founder of the Ishmael Beah Foundation
    • Nicholas Rees, Policy Analysis Specialist at UNICEF New York HQs
    • Joanne Goldblum, Founder and Executive Director of National Diaper Bank Network
    • Cheryl Perera, Founder and President of One Child Network and Support Systems Inc. 
    • Dr. Joan Kaufman, Director of Child and Adolescent Research and Education (C.A.R.E) at Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry



    • Ishmael Beah, Founder of the Ishmael Beah Foundation
    • Nicholas Rees, Policy Analysis Specialist at UNICEF New York HQs
    • Joanne Goldblum, Founder and Executive Director of National Diaper Bank Network
    • Cheryl Perera, Founder and President of One Child Network and Support Systems Inc. 
    • Dr. Joan Kaufman, Director of Child and Adolescent Research and Education (C.A.R.E) at Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry






    Click the button below to donate to our crowdrise page. All donations go directly to UNICEF.