31 in 31

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.

Lessons from Mardi Gras? Yes, Mardi Gras

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

It would be easy to jump to the conclusion based on the headline that Mardi Gras and ChildFund International have nothing in common. That’s pretty much true, but taking the lessons learned from a Twitter experiment from Tom Martin, a 15-year veteran of the marketing industry, I hope we can let you know more about ChildFund International.

Tom was a speaker this past weekend at Social South, a social media conference I attended in Birmingham, Ala. Earlier this year Tom was on a mission to change people’s perceptions of Mardi Gras. Many people think of Mardi Gras as a place to drink, throw beads and do a lot of other non-family friendly things. There’s a whole other side to Mardi Gras though, and in a five-day span Tom posted 185 tweets on Twitter to help spread the message that the event can be for families, too. In the end, his experiment was successful. For the full details on his experience, click here to read how the experiment started and here for the results. I was amazed.

So how does this tie in to ChildFund? In October we’re planning to bring you a series of blogs that highlight our programs in each of the 31 countries where we work. Right now we’re calling it “31 in 31” – 31 countries in 31 days. While listening to Tom speak over the weekend I realized that our plan needs your input before we start.

We know what we want to say about many of the countries we work in, but what will you get out of it? We know about ChildFund and you know about ChildFund, but do the perceptions match? We want “31 in 31” to be an experience – a virtual tour of sorts of the ChildFund International world. But what do you want to see? Blogs from youth? Lots of photos? In the next few days, we’d love to hear from you to give you what you want to see. And if you have a better name than “31 in 31” we’d like to hear that, too.

Click here to visit the “Places” section of our Web site that has information about each of our countries. Visit that page to shape your questions, comments and suggestions and then come back to this blog and leave your thoughts. Then in October check back for “31 in 31” to learn more!

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