We counted 12 days of impact from 20th-31st December across our social media accounts! These are twelve ways you’ve helped to have an impact this year, selected by our Programmes team who have worked hard to turn your donations into support for the most marginalised children.
Our COVID-19 Response Fund
When the pandemic hit, we worked with all our partners to find ways to adapt to the new needs of the children and communities we support. With your help, we were able to very quickly get vital funds to our partners in the field to reach the most vulnerable with emergency food supplies, face masks, handwashing and sanitiser facilities and more. As schools remained closed, we helped our partners adapt to provide lessons over the radio (64 lessons were broadcast in Kisumu, Kenya!) and reach out to children in their homes.
Assessing the needs of child refugees with disabilities
We worked with our partner AWYAD in the KYAKA II refugee settlement in Uganda and found that 9% of children had a disability, but the proportion of children in school with a disability was just 2%. We also found that a big shortage of teachers and a lack of knowledge around inclusive education meant that it was very difficult for children with disabilities to get the education they deserve. Every child deserves an education, so our findings will inform future projects aimed at supporting children with disabilities into inclusive education!
We launched our Survivors Support Fund!
This unique fund is an innovative way to support survivors of abuse and neglect and is an important piece of our commitment to safeguarding. When the pandemic hit, we saw that children were at a higher risk as they were out of school. So we ran a crowdfunder to strengthen it. Your response was incredible, and we raised £6,500 – £1,000 over our target!
Training for more girls in DR Congo
Goma, a city in eastern DRC has been called the ‘rape capital of the world’. The situation is dangerous for young women. So we ran a crowdfunder to give young women the opportunity to escape poverty through learning a skill: hairdressing and tailoring! “The training opens up another world, a world of independence and of financial autonomy. They choose to get married when they want and earn their own income.” – Nicodème Ruboneka, Project Leader with our partner Children’s Voice.
Their skills were put to good use later on in the year when some of the girls were called up to make face masks. They were paid for their work and the masks were distributed to vulnerable people in their community for free!
Welcoming children back to the Rwanda deaf school
The Deaf School we support in Rwanda reopened for some students in November, after having to send children home in March because of the pandemic. To reopen safely, the school built a new outdoor handwashing station, conducts regular temperature checks and follows social distancing in the classroom and across the buildings. While the school was closed, teachers kept in regular contact with children to help them continue learning at home.
Merging with Glad’s House.
In the UK we merged with the charity Glad’s House and welcomed Vicky on board as our Global Safeguarding Lead. Through the merger we gained a fantastic new partner, Glad’s House Kenya and are delighted to be supporting their work with street-connected children in Mombasa, Kenya. They reach out to children on the streets and those caught up in the criminal justice system, supporting them with essential services they otherwise wouldn’t get.
Turning homes into classrooms
The early development centres we support in Ghana are still closed. Children who attend the centres often live in makeshift housing, with little stability and no access to e-learning opportunities available from the Government. So we supported our partner Street Girls Aid to visit children at home to ensure they can keep learning! You can read Adom’s Story to find out more.
Pig farming in Rwanda!
It proved a vital lifeline for families this year and the effects are more far reaching than you might think. With the manure, parents can fertilise their land. 80% of families who received pigs grew nearly twice as many crops compared with before. This means that their children with disabilities have better access to nutritious food! And with that we saw a reduction in anxiety and depression among parents. Plus, piglets were sold and the money generated meant that families could buy community-based health insurance!
More opportunities for young people in Uganda!
Giving young people more opportunities in Uganda. In Patongo, we support our partner, Passion4Community, to run a youth centre. And in August we recruited 122 more young people to take either soap-making, ICT, literacy and numeracy, tailoring or hairdressing classes! A career guidance session helped students to choose which class was right for them and by the end of October 40 classes had been delivered – all following up-to-date COVID-19 procedures.
A new generation of entrepreneurs in DR Congo
With our partner, Children’s Voice, we trained 38 young people in creating a bank account, moving money and setting up savings. After a 6-month training course, we gave them the opportunity to generate an income through selling mobile phone minutes, internet bundles and sim cards – setting them up with table and phone to get started. Many young people in eastern DRC don’t go to school and those that we support have experienced complex trauma, such as rape and abuse or losing their parents due to the local conflict. With your support, we’re determined to break the cycle of poverty and give children the futures they deserve!
Bringing experts together through our Safeguarding Community of Practice
Our partners all have specialist knowledge in their area, whether that is working in informal refugee settlements, supporting inclusive education for children with disabilities or supporting street-connected children. So Vicky, our Global Safeguarding Lead, is bringing them together through monthly virtual meetings to discuss different themes and share knowledge. So far topics covered during the sessions include ‘An introduction to mental health’, ‘Supporting children and young people’s mental health during COVID-19 and beyond’ and ‘Self-care for staff’!
Opening the Young Mother’s Support Centre in Ghana
In Ghana we opened the new Young Mothers Support Centre in August! Run by our partner Street Girls Aid, the centre provides a safe and secure home where girls are met with love and acceptance. Comprehensive services are provided to meet their needs and empower them to make successful life decisions for them and their children. Pregnant teenage street girls and young mothers receive counselling and are educated on reproductive health, family planning and personal hygiene.
Teenage girls at the centre are enrolled in vocational training, where they can learn a skill which will help them to earn an income in the future. During the pandemic, girls taking sewing training have produced 1,500 reusable face masks which have been distributed to women and children on the streets! Others have been learning how to make soap and hand sanitisers, and will be able to sell these in the local market.