On Saturday 4th March, one of our wonderful fundraisers from the Body Shop At Home, Sophie Fletcher organised a Charity Ball in Lincoln raising £2700 for Children on the Edge.
240 people turned up to Sophie’s Ball at Jocasta’s in Lincoln and enjoyed an evening of music, games and dancing; with a magician thrown in for good measure! Guests also heard from our Grants Officer, Sarah, who spoke about how their money makes such a big difference in Uganda; where we are working to bring hope, life, colour and fun to slum communities near Jinja.
Sophie was inspired to raise money for Children on the Edge after hearing about us as a consultant with the Body Shop At Home. She says from day one, she learned about the “amazing work of Children on the Edge” and how we help to support vulnerable children through our projects around the world.
As part of the Body Shop at Home, Sophie got stuck in with fundraising, not only on her own, but as part of her regional team. In 2015, she joined us on our annual Playscheme to Uganda; where she saw first hand how our work is helping to transform slum communities. It was this trip that inspired Sophie to organise the Lincoln Charity Ball.
Sophie said: "I have supported Children on the Edge for around three years and last year won a place to volunteer on the play scheme in Uganda because of my previous fundraising and passion for the work the charity does. It was the most incredible experience of my life and really opened my eyes to the difference we can make to other people's lives. Having seen the work in Uganda, and the difference it makes, I was determined to up my fundraising to a new level, which is where the ball came into play!"
Response to the event was hugely positive with ticket sales excelling Sophie's expectations. Local companies including NS Plumbing, Streets Accounts, Dack Motor Group and Home Property Lawyers all came on board as sponsors.
The money raised from Sophie’s Charity Ball is enough to cover the costs of sending 225 children to school for month at our Early Childhood Development Centre in Loco, Uganda.
When asked what she’d say to someone else thinking about fundraising for Children on the Edge, Sophie said:
“DO IT! Just go for it, there are millions of ideas and things out there that can be used as fundraisers so find something you're good at or something you enjoy, and make it work for a good cause. Never be disheartened because any funds raised are more than COTE would have had if you didn't take on the challenge”.
If you'd like to organise a fundraising event for Children on the Edge, please contact Amy, our Fundraising Officer on 01243 538530.
Since the success of our pilot education loans in Masese II, the Child Protection Teams we support in Uganda have been introducing the scheme into three new areas; Loco, Masese I and Masese III.
Just £20 can provide a small business loan for a struggling household in Uganda.
In each area, the most needy households are identified and invited to attend a series of training workshops. These include savings workshops, small business training sessions and opportunities to form self help groups.
The saving workshops have been newly introduced as the new area’s needs are so great. The workshops introduce the benefits of saving and give hints and tips on how to put money aside, even through times of financial stress. Each person attending has a trial period of demonstrating they can save money and budget, before they are given their first loan.
Small business training workshops give prospective owners the chance to learn about the principles of a successful business and how to use their new income in the best way in order to grown their trade further.
The self help groups are facilitated to allow people to work together, support each other and develop funds to help in difficult times. They all contribute to a health fund which protects members in times of sickness, and also a social fund which supports members in other potential troubles (like the loss of a relative). Over time, members re-pay the money lent to them so the fund is available for the next person.
The new communities have 20 loans currently running in each area. Each loan is worth about £20, has sparked a new business and changed the lives of each household. Many and various businesses are blossoming throughout each community including mat making, silver fish selling, cooking, charcoal selling, fruit and vegetable stalls and hut renovation.
Babra is our social worker at Children on the Edge Africa, she says “These loans can give people a new start. One lady had been trapped in prostitution for a long time. I talked with her regularly for over a year about how the loan scheme could help her start an new life, but she was reluctant. She didn’t believe she could do it, but she was so unhappy. This year she started out on the scheme. Already she has a successful business selling ground nuts and plastering people’s homes! She is free and is now able to send her three children to school. When she sees me, she throws her arms around me with happiness.”
This number of loans given in Masese III will double soon as many of the Karamajong people that live here have a natural talent for business and are responding particularly well to the scheme. This is especially good news here, as the community had become reliant on a charitable organisation that gave food handouts, when the charity left, people here had no income or means of feeding their children. The education loans are now giving them sustainable means to earn, feed their children and send them to school. Masese II is still running the education loan scheme and currently have 46 households starting up businesses.
It costs just £20 to provide a small business loan for a struggling household. The slideshow below shows some of the different businesses these loans have made possible. If you would like to donate £20 to start a new business and enable children to go to school, just click the button below.
‘I like helping other women to change their lives. I am what I am today because I was also helped by someone.’ - Ten questions for Nandawula Babra on how to #BeBoldForChange
Each year on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day encourages us all to forge a more gender inclusive, better working world.
Children on the Edge works with local partners to restore the ingredients of a full childhood to some of the most vulnerable children worldwide. A big part of this is working towards equality in opportunities and an end to discrimination for the women and girls we work with.
The theme for the 2017 International Women's Day is #BeBoldForChange and we are privileged to be partnering with a number of truly inspirational women, who use boldness and strength to bring about change for women and girls in their communities.
Nandawula Babra is a social worker at Children on the Edge Africa, in Jinja, Uganda. She grew up in the slums here, and has been a social worker for 15 years. She is now responsible for the development, support and facilitation of the Child Protection Teams that work across four slum areas surrounding the main town.
The Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre we support in Loco, Uganda has been running for a few terms and the children have settled in well. Looking to the future for the current class, the team here facilitated a training day which focussed on ensuring the children’s smooth integration into government primary school.
The day consisted of training for both the teachers at the Centre and the teachers from the neighbouring primary school with which they are partnered. They worked together, looking at strategies for increasing retention and enrolment and effectively preparing young ones for the transition to primary.
Programme Director Edwin Wanabe said “We are giving the children a foundation so they are ready to integrate. The teachers at the ECD Centre are being trained in the primary curriculum so they have the knowledge to manage this transition and ensure the continuing education of the children when they finish their time at the Centre”.
Over the first few terms the ECD teachers have worked to identify which language is most commonly used amongst the new intake. After establishing that the main language used by the children in Loco is Lasuga, they spent some time throughout the day translating all the lessons into this language. They prepared staff in both the Centre and the primary school to be able to teach in this language for the majority of lessons and activities.
Finally, they all worked on creating educational resources out of local materials like sticks, stones and boxes. Using these materials is a low cost and sustainable way of creating a stock of colourful, child friendly resources for the next few terms.
A school management committee, overseen by Doreen from Children on the Edge Africa has been established to focus on the continuing partnership and integration between the ECD Centre and the primary school.
Find out more about the work in Uganda and consider a donation to the project.
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A fun packed celebration day has recently been held at the Early Childhood Development Centre we support in Loco, Uganda. The day was focussed on showing all the parents just how far the children have come in this short time. It gave the children a chance to show off their talents, but also gave the staff the opportunity to deliver some valuable training on positive parenting.
The children enjoyed performing dances, reciting poems and rhymes and singing songs, all of which they have learnt during their time at the Centre. Once this was done, they enjoyed some fun activities while the staff delivered parenting sessions together with the local Child and Family Protection Officer.
This event was the first of its kind in the community and a great way for the team to begin to assess their impact. Parents engaged well and developed a thorough understanding of their roles and responsibilities in ensuring their children get the most out of attending the Centre.
Going on from here the parents will be fully participating in looking after the school. They will be helping with sports days, music events and festivals in the weeks and months to come. At the end of every year, parent and teachers will meet together to plan targets and assessments for the following year.
Programme Director, Edwin Wanabe said ‘It is vital that all the parents have ownership of the Centre right from the start. This is not our project, it is theirs, and it is them that will make sure that their children enjoy their education to the full. The parents were amazed at the talent they could see in their children, this inspires them to give their time and commitment to the Centre’.
Find out more about the work in Uganda and consider a donation to the project.
Grace and Norah are twin sisters, aged four, born prematurely to a single mother in Loco slum, Uganda
Loco is a small village near Jinja, Uganda, formed of barrack blocks that were formally owned by the railway corporation for their workers. The area has poor sanitation with latrines overflowing into the streets. Income poverty has left children prone to exploitation, malnutrition, physical and sexual abuse and a high likelihood of ending up living on the streets.
There is one primary school, but parents and carers cannot afford the fees. When we spoke to Grace and Norah’s mother a year ago, there was no hope of education or support for her children. She said she had given up on life. She is HIV positive, and the girl’s father left when he saw they were twins. Never having had twins in his family, he believed that they couldn’t be his and abandoned them for another woman. After giving birth Grace and Norah’s mother was bed ridden for some time and had no one to help. She also developed a skin rash, which later prevented her from getting a job as people believed it might be contagious.
Through our local Child Protection Team, Children on the Edge have supported the building of a new Early Childhood Development Centre, designed to provide early years education in a safe, child friendly environment for the most vulnerable young children in Loco. Grace and Norah were among the first children to enrol.
Despite being twins, these girls could not be more different. At the start of term Grace was very shy, and preferred to spend time alone rather than playing with friends. She would cry every time her mother said it was time for school. Teachers at the centre worked closely with her mother and helped her encourage Grace. They focussed on allowing her to learn at her own pace. When the uniforms were given out they were sure to give Grace hers first to make her feel special. Soon after Grace began to enjoy time with friends and to learn at an rapid rate. She loves school so much now that she wakes early each morning to remind her mother to get ready!
Norah settled in much faster than Grace as she is naturally bubbly and outgoing. She had never been given any guidelines on how to interact with others, so her confidence had a tendency to run overboard. This resulted in many occasions of Norah threatening her classmates, fighting her sister and friends, hiding other children’s shoes in the grass or taking their lunch if she finished hers first!
Noticing how different she was from her sister, the teachers let her learn in a way that was suited to her personality. They engaged her interest and curiosity, channeling all that energy into learning and exploring new subjects. This was a turning point for Norah who now listens attentively to the teachers and treats her friends and her sister kindly.
Grace and Norah’s mother says “At home the girls no longer fight but watch over each other when playing. It’s amazing to see such change in the short time since they were registered at the school. Seeing this change in my girls makes me certain that the future for Loco children is bright since the Centre settled at the heart of the village”.
Find out more about the project in Uganda and please consider either a one off donation or providing longer term support by becoming one of our monthly supporters.
On Friday 3rd February and Saturday 4th February we will be away at The Body Shop at Home conference, raising more than £10,000 for Children on the Edge, by selling raffle tickets and goody bags.
We’re looking for two more willing volunteers to join our team to help us over the weekend. Can you help? Or do you know someone who can?
You'd be joining Ben and Eloise, plus others from our head office for a fun-packed couple of days on the team trip to Telford, in the Midlands. On Friday 3rd February we leave Chichester around 9am and travel to Telford to set up our stand at the conference centre. Saturday will be a busy day, and volunteers will help us to sell raffle tickets run our stall selling goody bags to The Body Shop’s consultants.
We'll show you everything you need to know; you just need to have lots of enthusiasm and a friendly attitude!
It's a great event, with a brilliant buzz as we get to meet more than 1,000 Body Shop consultants who love Children on the Edge.
Your help will ensure we maximise this incredible opportunity to raise as much money as we can. With enough help, the weekend should raise more than £10 000, which is enough to cover the costs running our Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD) in Loco, Uganda for a whole year.
What you need to know
If you are interested, or would like to find out more, please call Eloise, our Fundraising Manager on 01243 538530 or email email@example.com.
We started out our work in Uganda supporting a pilot Child Protection Team project in Masese II slum (known as Soweto). After 5 years the Masese II Child Protection Team (CPT) has genuinely transformed a community and is still going strong.
These ten volunteers have toppled illegal breweries and created alternative, positive livelihoods to get children to school, they have eradicated the occurrences of child sacrifice, they have instigated community action on sanitation and hygiene to create a clean and cared for area. They have also reduced domestic violence, substance misuse and child abuse.
The team are now independent, with only occasional input and encouragement needed from Children on the Edge staff. Not only this but they are sharing their experiences as we scale up this work into the wider district.
Babra, a social worker at Children on the Edge Africa says “I am proud of the CPT in Masese II, they do all the work with very little resources, they get on all by themselves, they refer cases and do follow ups themselves, they even do their own fundraising. They work so well even though they are not paid because it is from their hearts that they want to change the community. It’s like having a child and seeing them develop. I pray that the new communities will be the same. We can’t go in as Children on the Edge and change the whole community, but we can work with local people to change their own community”.
To help ensure that the new teams do just this, they meet regularly with the original team to learn from their experiences, share stories and develop ideas. Programme Director Edwin says “This helps them understand they are not alone in the fight against child abuse”.
In time, we are planning to scale up this tried and tested model across Uganda to help vulnerable communities create protective environments for their children. The team has been greatly effective in eradicating cases of child sacrifice, but sadly success in one community usually means the perpetrators move on to other vulnerable areas to prey on their children.
Identifying areas that are particularly vulnerable to child sacrifice, the team have written up the CPT model to enable new communities to benefit from 5 years of learning when forming their own CPTs.
Alongside the scaling up of the CPT model at grassroots level, there is need for effective national legislation where perpetrators are brought to justice. The two approaches work hand in hand. Children on the Edge are currently working with the Ugandan Children’s Rights NGO Network (UCRNN) to support the passing of a specific Bill addressing child sacrifice and current gaps in legislation.
With a change in the law and the corresponding scaling up of child protection at community level. It is hoped that this practice will be tackled head on and communities will be resourced to create safer environments for their children.
Help us expand our work in Uganda with a donation
Put the kettle on and read the full story of our Child Protection Team model
Sell our Season of Hope Christmas paper, or give to our Season of Hope appeal - all proceeds go to our work.
The main element of the work we support in Uganda is through the establishment and development of Child Protection Teams (CPT). These groups of 10 trained volunteers from five different slum communities surrounding Jinja, work to mobilise local people to care for their children more effectively and receive support and advice on parenting, health, nutrition and preventing abuse.
One of the functions of the teams is to connect the community with the services that can help them. Having a strong connection with the police and training from them about the law gives weight to the advice and guidance provided by team members.
Babra from Children on the Edge Africa explains “We had a case of a man who beat his wife every day, the children would be hurt too. Two of our team members visited him, he was very hostile. After having some discussion with him he changed. We were not going to arrest or quarrel or make orders, but talk in peace until he understood why we were there. We then told him the laws. He didn’t know it was crime. We told him he would be arrested and he stopped.”
The teams work closely with police officers and local government to make sure issues are addressed and cases handled quickly and fairly.
Salaad from Loco CPT says “If people had problems they used to go to the local councillor and nothing would happen, or he might try and bribe them. Now they come to us, we speak on their behalf and their issues are dealt with straight away. Any violation of children’s rights and they know they can get action to challenge it”.
This diplomacy and advocacy works both ways. Teams advocate on behalf of the communities they work with, not only with regard to individual cases, but to build trust and understanding between local people and authorities.
Babra describes how perspectives have changed; “The police in Masese II used to be dismissive if people reported cases. They didn’t feel it was their concern, they just thought they were a bunch of drunks and not worth the trouble. Now they take the community seriously”.
The police have tried to engage Loco community many times before with no success. This is mainly due to the fact that people have been disillusioned through their experience of bribery, corruption and a perception that the police are against them.
The CPT set up a meeting with the community and the police and, because they are well trusted, many people from the local area came along. Seven police officers were there and the questions went on until after dark. There were so many questions that they set up a second gathering, attended by over 130 people.
They discussed how bribery is not allowed, and should be reported. They were encouraged not to run away from a police patrol and reassured they are there to keep safety and order, not to beat people. It was made clear that any officer who does this should be reported and action will be taken.
Through their ongoing and visible partnership with the police, as well as the facilitation of these meetings, the Loco CPT are building more effective services and a renewed trust between the community and the police. This is all contributing to the development of a safer environment for local children.
Read about the work we do in Uganda building a protective environment for children.
Could you help contribute to this work by selling our ‘Season of Hope’ wrapping paper?
Want to take on a challenge to support these children? Find out more.
For a quick donation simply text EDGE16 and your amount (£1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10) to 70070.
The doors of Loco Early Childhood Development Centre opened on the 26th September and just over a month later, the children here have already come on in leaps and bounds.
Edwin Wanabe, Programme Director at COTE Africa says ‘The children are very willing to learn and so friendly to the staff. They are interacting well during playing and enjoying themselves. At first they were upset to be left by their parents in the morning, but now they wake up their parents early in the morning to make sure they arrive on time to school!”
These children are from an extremely vulnerable community, they are very young and have never been to school before. This presented some challenges in the first few weeks for the teachers. Naturally at this stage, the children behaved fairly chaotically and found it hard to concentrate.
The main way the staff have tackled this is by singing songs, as they really help to motivate and focus the children in a fun way. Whether these are songs that are saying ‘well done’ to a classmate for writing a word for the first time, or songs that help in quieting down the class before a meal time, there is a rhyme for most things and the children love them.
The language differences have also been a barrier, so in the first few weeks the teachers used a lot of gestures and soon communication began to flow. The teachers have also been helping the children to improve table manners and teaching them how to use the toilets in a hygienic way.
Doreen, the headteacher at the Centre says ’At first the children would be destructive with the pencils and books, they didn’t really know what to do with them or how to behave, but the teachers helped them to understand, and kept an eye on everyone while teaching, now they look after the materials’
What difference a month makes
In this short time the children have developed a real sense of belonging and are looking after their school books and equipment very responsibly for such a young age. They have become comfortable with sharing these things as well. They have also been learning about reporting whenever they feel unsafe, either at school or within their community. They have learned to ask for things politely and have developed their numbers, reading, writing and singing a great amount.
Edwin describes how “We can tell the children are greatly enjoying lessons because we often hear them imitating the teachers and telling their parents how much the teachers care about them. They are always reciting the rhymes at home, practicing their reading sounds and reporting what they ate at breaktime. We hope this brings a smile to your face!”