children

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Celebrate!

Video by Kate Andrews

We want to wish you a happy, fulfilling and meaningful new year. Here’s a video of children and youth joyfully dancing in a rural community center in Brazil, which your generosity helps support. Thank you!

Their Favorite Things

Video from ChildFund Mexico

This time of year, many of us take stock of our lives and think about our blessings, our goals and our challenges. This fall, our Mexico staff asked children what they love about their lives. These kids face obstacles to a full education and promising careers, but they still have things they’re thankful for. Please enjoy this video, and may it bring pleasant thoughts of your own blessings.

Not Exactly Child’s Play

Uganda children's game

In Kafue, Zambia, 15-year-old Grace jumps over a rope strung between two trees, in a game called waida. She and her friend are competing to see who can jump higher.

In August on the website, we’ll be featuring stories and videos about playing, which has been called the job of children. Play helps them learn social skills like sharing and cooperation, and gain abilities like hand-eye coordination, motor skills, language and spatial awareness. In other words, kids need to play, but poverty constructs barriers that are hard to surmount.

This week on Huffington Post, ChildFund President & CEO Anne Goddard writes about poverty’s effects on children’s freedom to play: “In many developing countries, the time for play is often displaced by the chores and responsibilities that are so familiar to children growing up in poverty.”

Learn more about what play means to children.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with warm thoughts and love. What are we thankful for at ChildFund? The chance to see children’s happy faces and hear their voices. Here’s a class at an elementary school in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, singing about a garden full of pretty flowers. Please enjoy.

Share the Story and Help a Child

Children playing in an ECD center from Bolivia

 Children playing at an Early Childhood Development center in Bolivia.

ChildFund’s president and CEO, Anne Lynam Goddard, wrote about the importance of child protection for the Huffington Post this week. You can take a simple action – sharing this story via social media – and help children who are vulnerable to violence. Anne’s post is part of the Relay for Kids project, a partnership of SOS Children’s Villages, Johnson & Johnson and the Huffington Post, and each time you share her story on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networks from now through April 24, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 per action to support children worldwide who are affected by crisis. Thanks for your help.

Antonio, a 10-year-old Translator

Antonio of Puebla, Mexico

Ten-year-old Antonio and his mother.

Reporting by ChildFund Mexico

One day, Antonio felt terrible, suffering stomach pain. He needed to go to the hospital, about a four-hour drive from his home village, Huehuetla, in Mexico’s Puebla state.

It turned out the problem was appendicitis, and despite the long trip, Antonio’s operation was successful. He was able to get to the hospital with the help of ChildFund Mexico, in which he’s been enrolled since he was 2, and the support of his sponsor. Antonio is known for his smile, his good grades and his teaching skills. Yes, even at 10, he’s a teacher.

Antonio speaks two languages — Spanish and Totonaco, his community’s language.

His gift is being a translator for his mother and grandmother, especially when they need to go to the doctor.

Antonio knows that his family members, who speak only Totonaco, have a hard time communicating with Spanish-speaking doctors. So when he accompanies his mother and grandmother to clinics, Antonio is able to tell them what the doctor is saying and respond to the doctor in Spanish.

He also teaches Spanish and Totonaco in the community.

He starts the Totonaco class for children by saying:

“Tlen.” (Hello.)

“Pastakgasinil.” (Thank you.)

Antonio’s family is poor, but they have better access to health care and nutritious food through ChildFund and the local partner organization. In return, the family members volunteer their time and skills to help others.

Antonio says that he wants to major in math in college, and he dreams about owning a store, earning money to help his family.

He adds: “Hasta chale,” goodbye in Totonaco.

Read our story from Saturday about the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Creating Positive Change in Schools

Children playing a game

Children play a game with volunteers in Banten, Indonesia.

By Sagita Adesywi, ChildFund Indonesia

In Banten, Indonesia, teachers sang about how much they would miss ChildFund and its corporate partner, Krakatau Posco, as a six-month pilot project to improve their schools was coming to an end.

“Please don’t go, ChildFund,” sang the teachers. “Please don’t go, Krakatau Posco.”

Guru Naik of ChildFund Indonesia

Guru Naik, national director of ChildFund Indonesia, gives teachers certificates.

March marked the end of Sekolahku Asik, Indonesian for “My School is Really Cool.” The project was a joint initiative between ChildFund Indonesia, Krakatau Posco, an Indonesian company, and the Community Chest of Korea to support Indonesia’s government in improving the quality of basic education.

“The Sekolahku Asik program has improved the schools’ infrastructures, teaching skills of the teachers, students’ engagement and employees’ participation in education,” says Min Kyung Zoon, president of Krakatau Posco.

The program was implemented in three elementary schools as a pilot in Cilegon, Banten, and 35 teachers from 13 schools in the region received training in interactive learning. Children attended consultation events to express what they wanted their schools to be like, voicing their views through drawing, writing and storytelling.

The schools received minor repairs, and employees of Krakatau Posco had the opportunity to volunteer at the schools, teaching children how to plant trees, wash their hands properly and how to dispose of organic and inorganic waste. More than 500 children benefited from the experience.

The schools now have better and cleaner restrooms, organized libraries with more books and fresh coats of paint on the walls.

new library

A new library at Tegal Kidongdong Elementary School.

“My school was quite dull,” says 12-year-old Novalina. “The restroom was dark and dirty. Sometimes I felt scared when I went there. I joined the competition with other students to tell what we want to be improved in our school. Now, my school looks really nice and much cleaner. We chose the color for the walls, too.”

Teachers, too, were pleased with the program: “We really like the training, as it has enhanced our knowledge and skill in an interactive teaching method,” says Tati Fatayati. “This brings changes to the students; where they might have been feeling bored with the teaching process in the class, now they feel it is more fun and interactive.”

Now that the pilot stage has ended, ChildFund and Krakatau Posco are working together to continue the program at the three schools, as well as other schools, this year.

Sekolahku ASIK

Children enjoy their refurbished schools.

Inside a Home in Ecuador

By Nicole Duciaume, Americas Region Sponsorship Manager

Driving along a packed-down dirt road in Ecuador, we crossed a wood-plank bridge and saw some elderly grandmothers washing clothes by hand in the stream. An enrolled child lived nearby, and we could go speak with the family if we wanted. I jumped out of the car in record time and made my way over to the grandmothers, who greeted us with hearty smiles and soapy waves.

We talked with the mother about her children’s health and development, as well about ChildFund’s programs and what has changed in their lives in the year and a half since we started working in this community. The mother talked about the hopes and dreams she has for her children, and we talked about their ongoing needs and struggles as a family. During the conversation, she not only allowed us into her home but also invited us to take photos.

The two-room house has walls made of plywood and split reeds, leaving gaps where rain and insects come in, plus a tin roof and a bare concrete floor. The kitchen has a simple stove and water from a well. The other room has two beds, one for the parents and the other shared by three children.

Outside, there’s a wooden chicken coop next to a latrine constructed with leftover slats of wood, metal sheets and a plastic banner. Next to the home is the stream where families wash their clothes and often bathe. Here is a collage of some of our pictures:

ecuador photo collage

 

Remember When You Were 5?

Zeneza

Five-year-old Zeneza of Timor-Leste.

By Kate Andrews, ChildFund Staff Writer

Here at ChildFund, we think a lot about children who are five and younger. A child’s fifth birthday is an important milestone because the most significant development — physical, social and cognitive — occurs in the first five years of life. This is when language, motor coordination, problem solving and self-control become more defined. But approximately 200 million children under the age of five are not receiving the proper nutrition, stimulation, and education that they need to reach their full potential.

Kate

Here I am, getting ready for the first day of kindergarten.

That’s why ChildFund is taking part in 5th Birthday and Beyond, a campaign culminating with an event on Capitol Hill on June 25 that focuses on the health of children around the world. More than 100 nongovernmental organizations (including ChildFund), businesses, philanthropic groups and others have formed a coalition to create awareness of worldwide improvements in children’s health around the world and what remains to be done.

As ChildFund President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard notes, “My great hope for the 5th Birthday and Beyond campaign is that it will inspire many more of us to invest in providing children living in poverty with the support they need — not just to survive, but also to dream, achieve and contribute.”

Some of the news is excellent: In 2014, 6 million fewer children will die before their fifth birthday than 25 years ago. Polio is largely eradicated, and in the past 12 years, fewer children have died from pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, malaria, and AIDS. Credit goes to many groups in the U.S. and around the globe, including U.S. foreign assistance programs, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and numerous NGOs like ChildFund.

Nonetheless, there are still many battles to fight, as 6.6 million children under five are expected to die this year, primarily from preventable diseases. Public awareness is the first step in overcoming these serious obstacles to better health among the youngest people in developing countries.

We’ll have more information as 5th Birthday and Beyond approaches, but for now, we ask you to go into your photo albums and find a picture of yourself when you were around five years old. Then, when June 23 (the launch of the social media campaign) comes, post your photo as your avatar on social media and send out a message about the importance of child survival and health to share with your community.

Here are some numbers that may help you, and don’t forget to tag your message with #5thbday. Thank you for your help!

Anne Goddard at 5

ChildFund President and CEO Anne Goddard, dressed for kindergarten graduation.

The ‘Mama Effect’ on the World

By Kate Andrews, ChildFund Staff Writer

Have you heard the saying “When Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy”? The words are glib, but the sentiment behind them is right on target. A mother’s health and well-being have a huge impact on the future of her children and her community, both positively and negatively.

Consider a few statistics:

  • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life, with continued breastfeeding up to the age of 2, would save about 800,000 children’s lives each year, according to the World Health Organization.
  • The children of more educated women also have a greater chance of surviving infancy and childhood. A 2010 study in The Lancet shows that for every additional year of school that girls receive on average after reaching childbearing age, there’s a corresponding 9.5 percent decrease in child mortality rates.
  • If women had the same access to seeds and farming tools as men do, agricultural output in 34 developing countries would rise by an average of 4 percent, which could mean up to 150 million fewer hungry people, according to U.N. Women.

This month, as we approach Mother’s Day, ChildFund is considering the “Mama Effect” — how mothers’ lives influence their children’s lives, both now and in the future. We are working in 30 countries worldwide to provide children and mothers with the tools they need to live healthy, independent and empowered lives. Find out how you can give a mother a helping hand. Your gesture can make a difference to a whole family, a community and even the world.

India mother and son

An Indian mother comforts her son.

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