Voices of Children

Meet Dwi from Banyumas

Reporting by Dhina Mutiara, ChildFund Indonesia

Dwi

Halo!

My name is Dwi. Do you want to know more about me? I am 10 years old. I live in a village in Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia.

Dwi + Mother

This is my mother.

Every morning I go to school at 7 a.m. My mother walks me to school every day without fail. The school is not too far from my house. Usually it will take 15 to 20 minutes to walk. There are around 400 students in my public school. I am in fifth grade.

Dwi's classroom

I really like school!

This is my classroom and my friends. Science is my favorite subject. If you notice, there are a lot of materials hanging on the wall. Those are our creations. Our teachers always inspire us to be creative in class.

Dwi & his pets

Want to meet my pets?

I go home around 1 p.m. As soon as I get home, I feed my pets. My pet is neither a dog nor a cat; they are uncommon here. I have five chicks. My family can sell them at the traditional market once they are big enough. Once I am done with that, I will help my mother to do home chores or play soccer with my friends.

Dwi + Drum

This drum is called a kendang.

I also love music. That is why I joined Karawitan extracurricular activity on Sundays. It is a traditional Indonesian music ensemble from Java. I play a traditional drum called kendang. My father is a Karawitan musician. He inspired me a lot in music. ChildFund helps my school, providing the extracurricular activity so that we can keep the traditional music legacy.

Sierra Leonean Youth Eager for Opportunity

By Abu Bakarr Conteh, ChildFund Sierra Leone

As part of ongoing efforts to tackle unemployment in Sierra Leone, some 3,000 youth have started an intensive 12-month training program supported by ChildFund.

Years of civil war in Sierra Leone have robbed thousands of children and youth of a complete education. With few opportunities for employment, this generation of youth has been languishing in their villages with very little to offer and dim prospects for the future.

youth at sewing machinesChildFund, with funding from the World Bank, is rolling out the Youth Employment and Support Project (YESP) in five districts including the capital city of Freetown. And young people are eagerly enrolling in carpentry, masonry, auto mechanics and welding, among other vocational programs.
After completing the YESP training, the youth expect to improve their prospects of getting jobs.

young woman working on vehicle“My dream is to become one of the best female auto mechanics in the country, so I can work for the big companies,” says 18-year-old Mamadi, who has been on the street and suffered exploitation.

youth repairing electronicsMusa, who was struck with polio, is seeking to add value to his life. “I will become self-employed and be able to provide for my family once I complete the training,” he says.

In a country where unemployment remains a huge challenge across the population, these youth are highly spirited and determined to carve their own destinies.

Connecting Children Through ChildFund

Courtesy of ChildFund Australia, a member of the Global ChildFund Alliance

A global education program called ChildFund Connect is promoting a sense of community and friendship among primary school children in Australia and their peers in developing countries.

Through a variety of multimedia tools, with a central website serving as a hub for communications and child-created content, the program facilitates cross-country exchanges and collaborative education projects to increase children’s understanding of the world.

One of those projects is Our Day, a film that documents a day in the life of children around the world. Using pocket video cameras, hundreds of children in Australia, Laos, Vietnam and Timor-Leste captured the detail and color of their day, providing incredible insights into their childhood experiences.

Filmmaker Clinton J. Isle took on the creative task of combining this footage to create Our Day. The film shows how daily life is very different, but, also, in many ways the same, in different parts of the world.

This project was supported by the Australian Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body and by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. ChildFund Connect is also partly funded by Australian Aid, managed by ChildFund Australia on behalf of AusAID.

Take a few minutes to enjoy this absorbing film.

Sponsorship: A Friend From Far Away and Yet Very Close

Guest post by Erika, a youth in ChildFund Ecuador’s programs

My experiences of having a sponsor are many. My sponsor’s name is Pascale, and he has been my sponsor since I was very little.

youth with drawings

Erika enjoys working with younger children in her community.

One of the nicest experiences is to write and send him letters because I can tell him everything, such as what kind of music I like, my favorite sport, what I like to eat and also about my family and what I do with them.

In each letter I send, I thank him for his support of ChildFund since with the money he contributes, that helps [our youth programs] do all the planned activities in all areas of Ecuador. I especially thank him because with his support we can do activities that benefit boys and girls.

What I like the most about writing letters is the happiness I feel to know my sponsor is going to read them though he lives very far away. I also like because I know I have an unconditional friend from another country, who will also tell me many things of his life, his favorite activities and how his country is.

Anyway, having a sponsor is simply unexplainable because as I said before, it is a friend from far away that at the same time is very close.

group of youth

Erika’s is part of the ChildFund-supported youth association in Quito, Ecuador.

In the Quito area, we have the youth association called “Association Quito Youth,” and I am part of the board this year. This association is formed by youth groups of all communities affiliated with ChildFund. Among the activities we do are working with children’s clubs, which are formed by children affiliated with ChildFund. This work consists of teaching them about their rights and duties through entertainment techniques, which we also learn from the youth technician for the area. I love these activities because I like to help children in my community and be a good model for them. This has also helped me become more sociable and perform better in front of the public.

children and youth walk outside

The Quito youth club leads sport and recreational activities for younger children.

Other activity I carry out in the youth group is to organize the sport and cultural events for children once a year as well as to organize the sport and cultural event for youth. The main objective is to consolidate ourselves as an association and promote participation in our project by other youth. During school vacations, we—with the community’s support—organize summer camps. Last year we had the support of Quito Municipality technicians, who trained us on the activities we carried out with children during the camp.

I have many dreams and aspirations: the first one is to finish my education and continue it by going to college. I want to study social communications to become a great TV presenter or a reporter.

I would love to travel to other countries to fulfill another dream of mine, which is to become a great actress and show that in my country there is much talent that needs to be discovered. I would like to go to Mexico too and fulfill a promise, which is to take my parents to the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Currently, my nearest aspiration is to pass the tests for entering into college, so I am studying very hard. I know I will achieve all of this working hard, and with dedication in all activities and dreams I have.

Early Marriage Kills Children’s Dreams and Hope

Editor’s note: Today we launch an occasional blog series by children and youth enrolled in ChildFund programs around the world. When we listen to children, we find they have so much to tell us. Their voices shape our work.

by Yabetse, age 11, Ethiopia

My drawing explains how a girl is being forced to get married early by her father. Not only is she getting married early, but she is also getting married to someone she doesn’t even know. Most of the time there is a big age gap.

Fighting against early marriage: Yabetse, grade 6, explains his drawing.

The girl is crying because she wants to continue her school and she is too young to be married. But her father is forcing her to be happy because he supports the marriage. The girl’s mother is not happy for her daughter’s early marriage, but she can’t say much as the head of the house is the father and he decides.

In the boy’s family, the father is not happy that his son is getting married, forcing someone into his life without her will. But the son is not paying attention to the father’s advice and guidance. His mom is happy that her son is getting married.

My drawing shows how our parents [don’t see] the danger in early marriage. They are not paying attention to the problem which will come with it — their children will be forced to stop school and be forced to take big responsibility which they can’t handle.

I want to educate the community and society through my drawing that children shouldn’t be forced into early marriage before they are mentally and physically ready, and finishing education. Our dreams and hope will be shattered because of early marriage.

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