As we approach our 30th year working for children’s rights, this year the UN has also marked 30 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This international treaty protects the rights of all children to be free from discrimination, violence and neglect. It has shaped our work from the start, and this year has been no exception.
Covid-19 lockdown procedures are having a devastating effect on the slum dwelling, refugee and internally displaced communities we support around the world. Through 30 years of working with some of the most marginalised groups, we know they are always the hardest hit in times such as these.
Together with our local partners we have been pursuing sensible solutions to contain the outbreak and provided over 10,000 essential supply parcels to households who are most affected. This is thanks to the support of many generous donors including The Angus Lawson Memorial Trust, Partners Asia, DAK Foundation, The Body Shop at Home™, Alex and Will De Winton, Jeff Lucas and Postcode Global Trust.
We are now working to find creative solutions to enable children's learning to continue and to ensure they are safe whilst they are cut off from regular protection services.
Near the start of Ugandan lockdown, all education services were shut and the World Food Programme cut food rations by 30% for refugees. Since then, our team in Kyaka II refugee settlement have been finding creative ways to get supplies to the most vulnerable households, support teachers and ensure children have access to learning.
This July, Facebook’s lack of action in addressing hate speech has been under increasing global scrutiny as big businesses have boycotted advertising on the platform.
In response to this moment, Children on the Edge are joining forces with 36 other UK charities to challenge social networks to become safer and more inclusive environments. This has included the release of a joint statement and the formation of a working group to review these concerns for the sector and bring recommendations of potential change.
Earlier this year we launched our new virtual event 12,000 steps for 12,000 refugee children.
Since the launch we have been delighted to see so many people signing up, getting active and walking to help make a difference to the 12,000 refugee children we support.
When we think of distance learning during lockdown, the images that often spring to mind are interactive whiteboards, back-to-back digital lessons and a variety of personalised online programmes. In the situations where we work, there are many distinctive barriers to simply protecting and connecting with children during lockdown, let alone delivering effective learning opportunities, but our partners are rising to the challenge.
My name is Nisha. I am 14 years old and I live with my parents, two sisters and one brother in a village in Patna. My father is a daily wage earner and mother is a sweeper in a private hospital. I was learning in a local fee paying school, but due to financial problems my parents had to stop my studies. When my schooling was stopped, I used to get bored sitting at home, but myself and my started going attending the NESWSD Learning Centre supported by Children on the Edge in my village. It is free and myself and my sisters have been going for the last two years.
Because of this, we are able to continue our learning. Visiting the school library I have learned to use my free time reading books and getting more knowledge in various subjects which will help me for higher studies. I also participated in a Storytelling Contest and I won the second prize! Now I am not bored at home. I don’t just gossip with friends now, I have very many good things to discuss with them and I feel that they value me.
All the children had to stop studies and be at home for the whole time. For two or three days this was okay for us. We were hopeful that the situation would change and things would become normal. But things got worse day by day and we had nothing to eat. Even though my father went out in search of food items; the prices of everything had gone up and he had very little money to spend. Whatever money he did have was gone within a few days and we had nowhere to go. We were so worried and fearful about how to live without any earnings.
Then I heard from the teacher of my Centre that they were preparing a list of students and families like ours who were in need of food. I asked my teacher to include our family in the list. Within two days they gave me a food coupon and I went to the place where the ration distribution was taking place. I was given a parcel including rice, dal, oil, soya baris, sugar, salt, soap and masala. Our family is very thankful for the support we received. Otherwise we would have starved during this lockdown.
Since the Ugandan government announced an enforced lockdown due to the threat of coronavirus, Children on the Edge Africa have been delivering vital supplies to some of the most vulnerable households in the slum communities surrounding Jinja.
Due to the prevalence of AIDS and its devastating effects in the area, there are a high number of grandparent-headed families, mostly run by elderly women, providing for an average of five children whose parents have died or gone missing.