Stories from the first
Worldwide Service Project:

Working for a smarter generation in China

"The payoff's going to be when this generation of children who were born in the last four or five years become adults. If a whole generation of people become smarter, it's going to be incredible." -Dr. Ray Yip

Dr. Ray Yip

Ganzu, China: For the past 10 years, salt manufacturers and health workers such as Dr. Ray Yip have worked together to solve the problem of iodine deficiency in China. Thanks to support from UNICEF and Kiwanis International, 95 percent of the population has access to iodized salt. 

When Ray Yip checks first and second graders in rural China for goiter, he finds many of them have the beginnings of this abnormal growth on their thyroid gland, which is found on the front of the neck. It's a clear sign they are iodine deficient.

"This group of children, (are) seemingly happy and normal, but we now have strong evidence they have grown up a good part of their lives living under a significant iodine deficiency. People fail to recognize that everybody, every child born in an iodine deficient area has suffered a substantial intelligence or IQ loss.

One of the greatest parts of my job is the fact I spend probably more than one-third of my time in the field, in places like (Ganzu) and even better, I often get onto the level of the townships, the villages, and the households. That's where we learn about what's really happening, what the real needs and issues are.  

What is so special working for UNICEF, at least to me, is that it's sort of our way of fighting injustice. It's just poverty, lack of opportunities, and that children don't have the same opportunity as my children. Iodized salt gives us the confidence. The progress gives us clear confidence that other problems can be solved if we just put forth effort, find the right strategy, and go after it."-Dr. Ray Yip