10-year-old Stanley Wilkes visited Uganda last month on behalf of Jessie Younghusband school student council. He spent time with the inspirational ‘Child Rights Clubs’ we support here, who are changing their communities in the slums surrounding Jinja. Now he is back in Chichester, exploring with his friends how they can put what he’s learnt into practice.
Not only this, but the children here have been leading transformation since 2017. When we first started working here, we asked the children what needed to change. They took us on a tour of the area and told us about some of the problems they faced. We interviewed many of them, and they created a map of Wandago with sticks, leaves and stones to show us the places that were safe and the places where they felt afraid.
They told us about high levels of child exploitation, that there was little access to education and a lack of healthy jobs due to all the dangerous breweries that dominate the area. One of the main problems they described was how when they went to the well for water alone, many girls had been victims of rape and sexual assault.
In the last few years, the Child Protection Team in Wandago have been working to stop this. They have done regular spot checks at the well, many workshops on child protection and ensured that no-one walks there by themselves. Since this point there have been no attacks.
They have been working on wider issues too, supporting the opening of a new Early Childhood Development Centre, and starting a small loan scheme to create healthy livelihoods and make it possible for parents to send children to school.
The same children who raised their voices about these needs in Wandago are now part of the Child Rights Club, piloted in Loco, but now also active in Masese I and Wandago. They are trained about their rights and work hand in hand with the Child Protection Team.
Babra is the social worker for Children on the Edge Africa. She says,
Children in Wandago are now not only safer, but teaching other children about being safer, delivering regular workshops to hundreds of younger children, and talking to parents about how to clean up the area and make sure children can go to school.
They started the change, and they continue to lead, watch the video above and share the great news about the impact these children are having.
Over the last 6 months, fundraisers have taken on a huge variety of challenges for us. We’ve had runners, cyclists, walkers and rowers signing up for incredibly tough challenges with one common goal, to raise money for Children on the Edge.
We’re incredibly grateful to our Run for Refugees runners, who have recently raised thousands for our work with some of the most marginalised children in the world.
Our 20-strong team took part in the Chichester Half Marathon event on October 6th, with different runners taking on the full marathon, the relay, ten miler and the nordic walk. Getting sponsored by friends and family for their efforts, together they have now raised over £5,000.
Lucy Hobden said, "I have always wanted to do a half marathon and the Chichester Half seemed like a great first one for me to do. Great atmosphere before and after the race. Was also such a beautiful run at the top of the hill. Children on the Edge is a great charity that goes beyond others by going to places that other charities don't".
Not all our runners could make it to Chichester for the Half Marathon Event, but Kim Ozano did not let this deter her from fundraising! Feeling passionate about the challenges faced by refugee families, she decided to create her own alternative challenge of running a marathon a week for a month, raising over £450.
After their first Community clean up campaign in Loco, Uganda, the Child Rights Club here have been inspiring and training hundreds of other children around Jinja.
Two more clubs have been launched in the last year, one in Masese I and the latest in Wandago. Clubs are given regular workshops on rights, responsibilities, how to work hand-in-hand with local Child Protection Teams and how to prevent instances of child labour, exploitation and abuse. They then take their training out to a wider audience of children in their communities.
Here’s four examples of the clubs in action and the kind of difference they are starting to make.
We talk to four teachers working in Kutupalong refugee camp about how they tackle three of the hardest teaching challenges. Meet Tajina, Toslina, Panua Dey and Sanjil.
Since we started working with Dalit communities in Bihar State, one of the main requests from the children has been to set up some computer training, alongside the Learning Centres and Women’s Groups. Consequently, our partners have set up a Computer Centre, open to all children at the Centres. In two shifts, 20 students come and learn basic computer skills each day.
Through both printed and digital child- led publications, Children on the Edge are working to ensure Rohingya refugee children have a voice.
“Nobody knows about us” has been a frequent remark coming from discussions with many of the 7,500 children we support in the Kutupalong camp, Bangladesh.