ChildFund International Blog

Friends in Deed

Photo and reporting by Himangi Jayasundere, ChildFund Sri Lanka

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“I am thankful to have Darshika, who is my very good friend,” says Sasivini, 13, of Sri Lanka (at right). “Darshika is also 13 years old and studies with me in school. When something goes wrong at school, sometimes I quarrel with my classmates. When that happens, I feel lonely and isolated. But I am thankful for having a friend like Darshika, who intervenes and settles matters peacefully.”

Stay tuned for more stories about what children are thankful for.

It’s Goat Season!

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Annet,13, holds a goat her family keeps in Kamuli, Uganda. Photo by Jake Lyell.

Each fall, the pictures of children with their goats show up. They are adorable, without fail. Look at Annet, holding her baby goat in the picture above!

Of course, goats mean a great deal to many families ChildFund works with. Goats produce milk, which can become cheese, and they reproduce quickly. A small herd of goats can help keep children well nourished and provide families with extra income when they sell surplus milk and cheese.

Just before the holidays, we release our Real Gifts Catalog, offering items requested by families in countries around the world. Goats are a perennial favorite, both of families and donors.

My colleague in Kenya, Maureen Siele, interviewed a man whose family received a goat through ChildFund’s catalog (which you can find online here). Daniel says, “Before we received the goat, we were not as healthy as we are today. We rarely drank milk. Occasionally, we would buy milk, but it is very expensive. We could not afford even to make proper tea. We also struggled to buy other household items like sugar and flour, because I did not have the money that I am currently making from selling the surplus milk.”

And today, they have four goats. It’s a great start for a family in need.

Emergency Support in the Philippines

Photos from ChildFund Philippines staff

Last week, a Category 4 typhoon struck the northern Philippines, including Apayao Province, where ChildFund recently began working with 514 children enrolled in our programs. Fortunately, the local government had prepared evacuation facilities, so there were few human casualties, but homes, farmlands and roads suffered damage during Typhoon Haima.

ChildFund Philippines sent an assessment team into the region, where they are working to provide food, shelter, school kits for children who lost their school supplies, livelihood support for families reliant on the agricultural economy, and educational and recreational activities until schools reopen.

You can read more here and donate to help families in the northern Philippines. Below are photos taken by the emergency assessment team members.

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Learning a Better Way to Fight

Photo by Jéssica Takato, ChildFund Brazil

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Thirteen-year-old Camilly of Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

When I visited ChildFund’s programs in Brazil earlier this year, girls and boys at a community center in Belo Horizonte were kicking and punching — while led by a teacher. They were learning basic moves in a martial arts class, and the teacher told me something interesting: Learning this ancient pugilistic art actually keeps kids from fighting.

And interest is growing. As more children learn Muay Thai and other martial arts, the center has begun offering a class at night for adults.

Camilly, 13, is one of several girls who take Muay Thai at the community center, and she is living proof that martial arts help people of all ages become more secure and confident, and less volatile. She’s practiced Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, since she was 10.

“I was very nervous and fought with everybody,” Camilly says, “but now that I do martial arts and play soccer, I’m getting better. In Muay Thai, we learn to have respect for others and not hit people outside of the fight. I changed a lot. I can settle things calmly, and I’m more patient.

“Now when something happens, I drink a glass of water, calm down, and everything is fine.”

Giving Haitians a Hand

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In Jeremie, Haiti, service members from Joint Task Force Matthew and representatives from the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) deliver relief supplies to people affected by Hurricane Matthew. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Capt. Tyler Hopkins.

People in Haiti, many of whom were just recently recovering from the devastating earthquake of 2010, are now confronted with a second natural disaster: Hurricane Matthew. The Category 4 storm struck the island Oct. 4, killing more than 1,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Right now, the USAID and nongovernmental organizations are working to bring aid to more than a million people affected by the hurricane, but some communities have been cut off by floodwaters, mudslides and other debris blocking roads.

Meanwhile, concerns are mounting that there will be a cholera epidemic caused by the quick spread of highly contagious bacteria. As of Oct. 10, 13 people in Haiti had reportedly died from the illness. ChildFund is working with our Alliance partner in Canada to provide funds to the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International, which is on the ground in Haiti, distributing hygiene kits, water purification tablets and food.

You can help children and their family members in Haiti by supporting this cooperative relief effort, and also stay up to date about what is happening on the island as we receive more information.

Sarah Makes Her Own Doll

Video by Jake Lyell

In Uganda, videographer Jake Lyell was busy filming families who are struggling to stay together while coping with acute poverty and need. We’ll share these videos with you soon — they’re a tribute to the strength and determination of parents, children and others in their communities, as well as demonstrating the positive effect of outside support. In the meantime, watch Jake’s short video of 11-year-old Sarah, who shows us how she made her own doll.

A Quiet Place in the Mercato

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Children concentrate on their reading at a library in Addis Ababa’s Mercato, the largest market in the continent of Africa.

When I travel overseas, I make it a point to visit markets. They’re the best places to see what people eat, how they dress, whether they shop quickly or slowly browse. You may even pick up a couple of useful phrases in the native language, or strike a bargain for a piece of woven cloth or packet of spices. The smells, sights and sounds are often fascinating.

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is the home of Mercato, Africa’s largest market. It’s several miles long and employs 13,000 people.

As you can imagine, everything a person could possibly need is sold there, but Mercato was missing one key component for years: a lending library. In 2008, ChildFund Ethiopia, with a generous donation from a sponsor, built a library in the middle of the market. It’s still active, and the library has created changes for many children, who now have a place to study and read for fun.

On our website, we catch up with Rebka, a 13-year-old girl who frequents the Mercato library. Read more about this place, an oasis of quiet in the midst of the bustling market.

Welcome to Jinja, Uganda

Photos by Gertrude Apio

Along with videos, ChildFund staff members also chose a winning slideshow as part of our 2016 Community Video Contest. The photos come from Jinja Area Communities’ Federation (JIACOFE), which serves the Jinja, Kamuli and Mayuge districts of Uganda.

According to Meg Carter, who runs the video contest (and is our sponsorship education specialist), “Jinja is the source of the Nile River, and it’s a beautiful area located on the shores of Lake Victoria and the Nile. It’s famous for whitewater rafting and bird-watching. I’ve been there many times, as it’s on the road from Busia (where I lived) and the capital, Kampala. It’s about two hours’ drive from Kampala.”

Thank you to Gertrude Apio for taking these photographs and ChildFund Uganda’s Sharon Ishimwe for gathering information for the captions. Now, meet some of the children of Jinja!

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A 360-Degree View of an Indian Village

It often takes a full day to fly from the United States to India, counting layover time, and that brings you just to the nearest large city. To reach Dhodlamitta, a village in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, you’ll spend several more hours on the road.

This summer, a team of filmmakers, plus ChildFund staff members from India and the U.S., traveled to Dhodlamitta for an unusual purpose: to create a 360-degree video that will give viewers the experience of visiting the village. Using the 360 GoPro camera and other elaborate gear, the crew takes us to homes, a school and fields where people labor under the sun every day.

Annapoorna is our narrator. She’s a former sponsored child who is now a teacher, a wife and a mother. When she was growing up, child marriage was very common where she lives —  and it still is in nearby villages. Sponsorship and ChildFund’s programs helped Annapoorna continue her education and finish university. She also is in a happy marriage that was her choice, and her daughter is thriving.

We hope you’ll take a look at the 5-minute video — and share it. Not everyone has the opportunity to fly across continents and oceans to Dhodlamitta, but we can offer you the next-best thing: an immersive virtual reality experience. You can also read more about Annapoorna and the making of the video.

A Glorious Moment of Silliness

This video — an honorable mention in ChildFund’s 2016 Community Video Contest — comes from the Lango sub-region in northern Uganda. Watch how three children have way too much fun knocking mangoes out of trees. Soon, we’ll feature the top three videos here, but you can see more honorable mention videos filmed by children and staff members at ChildFund’s local partner organizations, giving us a peek at life in communities where we work. Have fun! Have a mango!

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