31 in 31

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

31 in 31In western Africa, sandwiched between Ghana and Benin, is the small country of Togo. At about 22,000 square miles, it covers roughly the same area of land as West Virginia.

ChildFund International has worked in Togo since 1984. The country has undergone years of political unrest, holding its first relatively free and fair election in October 2007.

Togo’s economy also has suffered over the years. To help offset these deep-seated challenges and break the cycle of poverty, ChildFund is providing the country’s next generation with knowledge and tools to generate income. Our sustainable livelihood programs equip children with skills in agriculture, animal husbandry, carpentry, mechanics and handcrafts. Farmers also now have access to special agricultural courses and loans to help stimulate food production for the country. Implementing these programs not only gives the economy a boost, but also leads to food self-sufficiency for entire communities in Togo.

Our support to the people of Togo also extends to education as well as health and sanitation. ChildFund supplies school uniforms, textbooks and writing materials to primary school students. In addition, we administer vaccinations to children for measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, tuberculosis and polio.

Although the country is small, the call to break the cycle of poverty must not go unanswered. As the country gains political stability, now is a critical time to help children achieve positive outcomes for lasting change.

For more information about Togo, click here.

More on Togo
Population: 6 million
ChildFund beneficiaries: More than 700 children and families
Did You Know?: Togolese artist Paul Ahyi was named as a UNESCO Artist for Peace in September. Paul creates ceramics, tapestries and jewelry, and designs interiors and household objects.

What’s next: Youth in Honduras tell us how poverty impacts them. 

Becoming a Part of Lasting Change

By David Hylton
Public Relations Specialist

31 in 31Our blog series ventures to east Africa today as we visit Mozambique, a country where the life expectancy is just 41 years, and 1.5 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.

The infant mortality rate in Mozambique is one of the highest in the world. And for those children who live past infancy, the grim facts are that almost 15 percent die before they reach their first birthday, and 25 percent never reach age five. This high mortality rate is partially due to the lack of prenatal care for mothers and postnatal care for babies, including limited availability of immunizations.

Another cause of mortality in young children is malnutrition. At ChildFund, we strive to keep children fed, nourished and healthy by teaching their parents better farming practices and more effective ways to preserve food for lean times.

A boy in Mozambique shows off a car he likes to play with.

A boy in Mozambique shows off a car he likes to play with.

How can you help? For just $7, corn and bean seeds can provide nutritious and healthy meals for a family in Mozambique. For $64, a pair of goats gives a family a way to earn an income by producing more goats, as well as providing milk for children. And for the price of a couple of video games, a soccer team kit ($114) can provide many children in Mozambique hours and hours of playtime. You can find these items and more by clicking here and searching our Gifts of Hope and Love catalog.

For more information about Mozambique and our work there, click here.

More on Mozambique
Population: 21.6 million
ChildFund beneficiaries: About 40,000 children and families
Did You Know?: Maria de Lurdes Mutola captured gold in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney — the first gold medal winner from Mozambique.

What’s next: We head to West Africa to visit Togo.

Meet Ardyan — Kite Maker Extraordinaire

By David Hylton
Public Relations Specialist

31 in 31On the next stop in our “31 in 31” series, we visit Indonesia, a country comprised of many islands with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other. ChildFund International has worked in this country since 1958, with a big focus on education. We have built preschools, provided educational tools, trained teachers and counseled parents on the importance of beginning the learning process early for their children.

Today we meet Ardyan, a 12-year-old boy who has a passion for kites. One common theme found in all the countries we work in is children’s love for play. And that love can be found in ChildFund’s traveling toy exhibit, “The Power to Play – from Trash to Treasure.” The exhibit includes toys such as Ardyan’s kite, which was creatively fashioned from castoff items.

Ardyan, from Indonesia, is all smiles with the kite he made.

Ardyan, from Indonesia, is all smiles with the kite he made.

Ardyan, who is an only child, eagerly provides the details on what is needed to make a good kite: bamboo, thin paper, glue, a knife, string or thread and coloring items. Ardyan has also developed specific instructions for kitemaking:

1. Cut two pieces of bamboo of the same length to make two sticks one-half inch wide. Smooth with sandpaper.
2. Mark a point that is one-third the length of the first stick and at the center of the second stick. Tie the sticks together at the cross section.
3. Tie the string or thread at the four edges.
4. Spread some glue on the thread and the sticks.
5. Place a thin paper on the frame and set it correctly.
6. Cut the paper based on the pattern.
7. Apply some glue at the border of the paper.
8. Insert a string at the middle and bottom of the kite.
9. Adjust the string according to the right measure.
10. Color the kite as per choice.

Last, but not least, on a breezy day (of which there are many in Indonesia), grab a group of friends and go fly the kite.

For more information on Indonesia, click here. For more details about ChildFund’s traveling toy exhibit, which is currently at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, click here. There you’ll find even more stories about toys from Indonesia.

More on Indonesia
Population: 240 million
ChildFund beneficiaries: More than 312,000 children and families
Did You Know?: Indonesia is known for Kopi Luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world according to Forbes.

Next in our “31 in 31” series: We head to Mozambique.

How a Red Sweater Changed a Life

By David Hylton
Public Relations Specialist

31 in 31To kick off this blog series, which will crisscross the globe during the month of October, we start in our own backyard. One of the biggest myths about ChildFund International is that we only help children overseas. That couldn’t be more wrong. We’ve been providing aid to U.S. children for more than 50 years. In fact, our programs in the United States reach some of the poorest counties in Mississippi, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.

In the U.S., we collaborate with grassroots organizations that have an intimate understanding of the local community and the needs of the children and families. ChildFund and its partners focus on programs such as physical fitness, diabetes prevention, after-school care, computer skills training, youth councils and neighborhood revitalization.

Joe Brings Plenty is a leading advocate for ChildFund's programs at the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.

Joe Brings Plenty is a leading advocate for ChildFund's programs at the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.

One of our U.S. success stories comes from former sponsored child Joe Brings Plenty in South Dakota. He is now a tribal chairman and a leading advocate for ChildFund’s programs that began in 2008 at the Cheyenne River Reservation.

“I want the youth today to have the experiences that I had,” he says. As evidence, he shows visitors a photo of himself as a boy wearing a red sweater. The photo was taken during his community choir’s visit to a local prison. As a choir performer, he was instructed to wear “something nice.” The red sweater, a gift from his ChildFund sponsor, was the only nice thing he owned. It was also the only Christmas gift he received that year.

Years later, Joe continues to be touched by what the sweater represented to him as a child growing up on a reservation. For him, the sweater is a symbol that people care about Indian issues and that they share the same values of compassion and generosity.

You can read more about Joe here. And for more information on our work in the United States, go here.

More on the U.S.
Population: 304 million
ChildFund beneficiaries: More than 58,000 children and families
Did You Know?: The first “American Indian Day” was declared by the State of New York in 1916, but a month-long recognition of American Indians was not achieved until 1990. Native American Indian Heritage Month is celebrated in November.

Next in our “31 in 31” series: Meet a kite maker in Indonesia

Get Ready for a Global Tour with ChildFund

By David Hylton
Public Relations Specialist

31 in 31A few weeks ago we told you about an upcoming blog series — “31 in 31.” During the 31 days of October, we’ll be traveling the globe to highlight each of the countries where ChildFund International is at work. We’ll share insights about our programs and background on the countries. You’ll get to meet some of the children we help and you’ll hear firsthand from several ChildFund staff members who work in the field.

The best part is that you don’t have to pack your bags, find your passport or stand in line to go through security to share in these adventures. We’ll bring it to you each day directly through our blog.

For example, when we visit Honduras, you’ll hear from youth in a community about how poverty impacts their lives. In Guatemala, a staff member who is currently visiting our programs there will update you on the latest ChildFund activities in that country. Also during the month we’ll give you even more insight into our traveling toy exhibit, “The Power to Play – from Trash to Treasure,” by telling you the firsthand stories of where many of the toys originated. We’ll have lots of photos from the field to share as well.

We hope in the next 31 days that you have a better understanding of the work that we do. We want to use this month as a way to let you know what your contributions are doing. Or, if you’re not currently a supporter, we hope that this series sparks something in you to help change a child’s life.

As always, we welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. So check back every day in October and learn something new about the 31 countries we work in! We’ll kick things off tomorrow by taking a look at ChildFund International at work in the United States.

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