John Littleton, our Asia regional manager and Rachel Bentley, our Director, have just returned from a visit to North Korea. They flew into Yanji, China and crossed over the Chinese/DPRK border into Rason city.
The visit went smoothly and they learned a lot about the situation in just a few days. It's a fascinating country and they met some very interesting people. John was also able to spend some time in the neighbouring North Hamgyong Province which contrasted greatly to the Rason special economic zone.
Rachel and John have connected with some helpful people and organisations with the hope that at some point Children on the Edge can visit North Hamgyong Province again to undertake some work there.
The photo shows John and Rachel standing beneath the portraits of the great leaders Kim II Sung and Kim Jong il.
Watch this space.
Josh Rudd is a sixth form student (currently in year 12 in Powell House) at Eastbourne College. We were delighted to hear from him a few months back, saying he was about to run a few races and wanted to use them as an opportunity to raise money for our work.
"My ambition is to work with others, support others who are less fortunate than me or need support and to run on behalf of charities” says Josh. “I run for Sussex at the moment and also for Seaford Striders ... but running for a charity is more important than running for medals and positions."
Josh describes the various challenges he has undertaken for us: "This weekend has been exhausting but it has been a great experience. Firstly, I did the 3,000 metres on Saturday in Crawley at the K2 and that proved exhausting, but ended in a good result and also a good experience”.
“The main event was the half marathon though, and it proved a tough course, however by taking on board the wise words of Mr Lowden regarding the hills, I managed to come 41st out of 729 participants and my prediction of 1 hour 40 minutes was correct! Moreover, last minute sponsors are now coming in”.
Josh also sends his congratulations to a few other boys like Toby Marriott and Jonny Robinson who also finished with good times. Josh says “I am very happy at raising money for Children on the Edge and would be delighted to run on behalf of them again in the future."
Josh has raised over £320 for us and is still adding to that total as he runs more races. We are always looking for people to raise money for our work and have as much fun while doing it as possible. If you’d like some ideas then just get in touch, or if you’re planning a fundraiser we’d love to hear all about it!
Photo by Andrew Cowie/AFP
Research article by Work Experience student Bathsheba Whitaker, aged 15
On Monday 15 July Burma's president Thein Sein visited David Cameron and his Foreign Secretary. Human Rights campaigners were concerned that trade would be the top priority rather than the increasingly alarming state of human rights in Burma.
Thein Sein was welcomed to 10 Downing Street with a red carpet, which triggered protests from many different ethnic groups including the representatives of the Kachin National Organisation. This group issued a statement on Monday afternoon criticising the British Government for their warm welcome of the Burma President, who in the eyes of many of the Kachin is a war criminal.
Last year David Cameron, who was the first British Prime Minister to visit Burma since the country gained its independence is 1948, said: "As well as the continuation of your reform process, we also are very keen to see greater actions in terms of protecting Human Rights". However, Mark Farmaner the director of Human rights group Burma Campaign UK expressed concerns, saying: "The British government hails Thein Sein as a reformer but he has a lot of blood on his hands" The president was a soldier in Burma's army for 40 years and was also a member of the former military dictatorship's ruling council.
Before they went on to discuss financial help from the British government for Burma's economic development and humanitarian programme, Thein Sein stated that: "Burma will release all political prisoners by the end of the year and very possibly over the coming weeks we will have a nation wide ceasefire".
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office asserted that: "The president met a range of British business at events hosted by the UK ASEAN Business Council, and discussed the importance of transparency, building a stable regulatory framework and harnessing private investments for the good of the people."
Children on the Edge hope that in addition to this trip being successful from a business perspective, that Thein Sein’s statement regarding the release of political prisoners and the nationwide ceasefire will also come into fruition.
Children from Dorset House school recently raised over £2,000 by venturing out on two South Downs walks! Starting at Whiteways, the entire school took part, followed clues and enjoyed a delicious picnic.
The older children walked about over seven miles whilst the younger ones took a shorter route. Lots of fun was had by all, (despite a few staff losing their bearings!) with children of all ages having the chance to spot insects and butterflies, and identify leaves along the way.
Dorset House School have been faithfully supporting our work for many years now, and pupils here are regularly kept up to date with all of our projects around the world through regular assemblies and presentations. We are hugely grateful for the difference they continue to make in children's lives.
If you think your school could fundraise for our work and your pupils would benefit from finding out more about our work, then please do get in touch.
On a happy sunny June evening, the mighty Dorset House Parents Association team took on their valiant Westbourne House counterparts in a titanic 20 over cricket match in Shopwhyke, Chichester.
White (or nearly white) trousers, yellowing bats and barely recognisable sweaters had been ransacked from hidden cupboards and Deep Heat set aside carefully for the post match celebrations.
In what was described by the Westbourne Captain as a 'closely contested affair', and the Dorset House Captain as a 'Walkover...almost a thrashing', a wonderfully joyous evening was celebrated by all concerned.
The Children on the Edge Ambassadors provided a welcoming BBQ and appropriate refreshments to dull the pains of over exertion.
Thanks to the generosity of individuals, and a completely inappropriate fining system for minor technical infringements, over £1500 was raised for our projects. Our grateful thanks to Mr Barker, Westbourne House Head teacher, for kindly allowing us to hold the event and to all those who cooked, played and celebrated a splendid evening.
If you’re part of an organisation that would be interested in putting something equally valiant together, then please do get in touch!
Beaver Scouts from the Chester area hiked six miles along the Sandstone Trail on Saturday 29 June to raise money for our projects.
Beaver Scouts from 1st Sandstone Scout Group based on Bickerton Hill were joined by other Beavers from the Chester and Tarvin areas, and by their own Scouts and Cubs, for their annual Beeston Hike. Over 80 young people, accompanied by their Leaders and parents, left the Scout Hut on Bickerton Hill and trekked over Rawhead. through Bulkeley and Peckforton woods and on to Beeston Castle. Together they hope to raise over £2000 for Children on the Edge.
Sandstone Beaver Leader Kate Kerr, known as “Falcon”, said “Unlike last year, when we had to eat our picnic under the groundsheets we took to sit on, the weather this year was perfect with light cloud and a cool breeze until we reached Beeston when the sun came out just in time for our ice creams! All the Cubs and Beavers made it to Beeston where they explored the Castle, measured the depth of the well, fought on the battlements, and discovered a room which only they, being smaller than adults, could get in and out of. Fortunately they all came out!”
The Scouts and Cubs had extra fun exploring the massive ‘Queen’s Parlour’ cave at Rawhead – something the Beavers can look forward to in the future when they move up to Cubs.
The Cubs and Beavers were accompanied by about 40 parents and leaders, making it a great family day out to draw their scouting year to a close.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all the Cubs, Beavers, Leaders and parents involved in organising the hike for your faithful fundraising, both this year and in years gone by. A tremendous effort by all!
If the Chester Scouts have inspired you and you think that your local group would be interested in fundraising for our work, then please do get in touch.
When we started our Uganda project a year ago in Soweto slum, Jinja, there seemed little hope for the children living there. Surrounded by the smog and sludge of the alcohol brewing industry, malnourished, orphaned or neglected by their parents and vulnerable to abduction, there was no safe place for children to learn, play and be cared for.
Our project has now been running for a year. The Child Friendly Space provides nutrition, education and play in a safe environment for children, as well as parenting support, child protection training and agricultural inputs for the wider community.
“It’s been a year of progress”, says Director Rachel Bentley, “The Early Childhood Development training is having a strong impact, the community is really embracing some new concepts regarding children’s rights and their protection, the children look healthier and happier and the vegetables are burgeoning! In a relatively short time we’re genuinely starting to see significant change”.
In mid June we took out a team of volunteers from The Body Shop at Home™ to run the Centre’s first play scheme. Throughout the week the children were delighted by games, puppets, parachute play, mask and crown making, juggling and painting. All of the activities were not just about fun, but were linked in with the learning outcomes that the Centre teachers have been trained in recently.
One of the volunteer team, Meg Zanker said "Helping Harriet, the cook, prepare lunch for the children was something that I will always remember – in fact I don’t think I could ever forget the recipe for the daily meal of “posho” and beans and cooking it over open fires for 100+ children. Then one of the best feelings shortly follows as you serve lunch to the children who clearly rely on this daily meal provided by the Child Friendly Space, watching them return their empty plates without a morsel left. It’s important not to forget the smaller everyday things though - children and teachers looking pleased to see you every day, a child’s pride at having created something themself, watching children playing and having the opportunity to be children, being part of an amazing team of people and simply making a difference."
When the children started at the Centre many didn’t even know their own names. These children come from grandparent headed households of up to 10 children, crammed into small huts. Unfortunately, overwhelmed carers can neglect to use children’s names in the everyday clamor.
In response to this, of the first things we did was to find out and teach the children their names. During the play scheme we focussed a lot on identity and self esteem by making crowns and masks. We worked on their sense of ownership by painting a giant colourful mural on the Centre wall, where each child could put a handprint, with their name written in the middle.
The mural is facing the children as they arrive from Soweto slum. It’s the first thing they see each morning, and with each of their handprints there, they can say: “I did that. This is a place for me”.
Volunteer Jemma Kirkland said "On return from the Uganda project all I can share with people is how truly amazing and humbling the whole experience was from start to finish. The work that Children on the Edge do is incredible and is really helping to change the lives of children... For me there was nothing more rewarding than serving children with their daily meal, and receiving a smile from such happy children is an image I shall never forget. I will always keep this in my heart and will do so much more to help Children on the Edge raise the much needed cash to keep up such inspiring projects. Such an amazing experience with a cracking team of people... We can do more to help!"
We’re very grateful for the fantastic help of volunteers from The Body Shop at Home™. Please feel free to find out more about our project in Uganda, and consider donating to help us progress the work here even further.