Skilfully designed by local illustrator Hannah George, in the run up to Christmas 2015 we sold some beautiful wrapping paper and matching tags.
All profits are going to our work with Syrian refugee children in Lebanon who face a harsh winter living under canvas. In this way, the paper had gifts wrapped up for Christmas and is now enabling a refugee child to be warm and ‘wrapped up’ this winter. Beyond coats and clothing the money will also be keeping schools warm and towards the establishment and maintenance of a new refugee camp, hastily built after a forced evacuation just before Christmas.
We wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in All Wrapped Up Campaign, every person helped raise the great total of £6533. Whether you helped by buying it and wrapping up your pressies, or by volunteering your time to roll it up, sell it or to man a fair stall. We couldn’t have done it with out you.
We also want to say thank you to the many people who made donations the the All Wrapped Up Just Giving campaign. It really was a team effort.
To show just how much of an impact this had, take a look at our stats sheet! To find out more about our Lebanon project click here.
After a sudden evacuation before Christmas, our Lebanese partner organisation have been able to settle 25 Syrian refugee families in a brand new camp in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.
Just before Christmas we reported that one of the camps where we are supporting Syrian refugee children had been evacuated by the military with no notice or direction of where to go. They simply had arrived one morning, fully armed and announced that the camp had to be cleared in a week due to a military base expansion.
The military base is being expanded from a nearby checkpoint, and for security reasons the army do not want any camps in the sightline of the base. This not only affects one of the camps we are working with, but up to 50 camps, displacing thousands of Syrian people within Lebanon.
This evacuation has been a devastating blow for people we are working with. The school we support in this camp has had to move, the families have had to move, and for a month or so there was no place for them to go.
To ensure safety and stability for these families, our local partner has rented the land for a new camp themselves rather than leaving families to rent from landowners direct. Many landowners abuse the desperation of refugees needing land, using sexual exploitation, unpaid labour and child labour as payment when people have no other means to pay. Managing the land and the camp in an ethical way therefore, brings security and peace of mind for the refugees.
25 families have been settled in the new camp, with space for 27 more. The process is gradual as our partners want to ensure that space is reserved for the most vulnerable refugees. There is adequate space throughout the settlement (something not often adhered to in the building of camps) and the camp has a good water supply and sanitation.
A new school has been built in the camp (see photo below). It has been designed by a German architect who works with a local team and who has been in Lebanon for 18 months. The design allows for adequate ventilation and light within the tented school, which are elements that are often lacking in other tent schools. The base is concrete and the structure made out of wood.
There are plans for a vegetable garden, so that the camp residents who have valuable agricultural knowledge and experience from their lives back in Syria can teach their children to grow food from the fertile Bekaa Valley soil. This will enable them to pass on skills to the next generation that could otherwise be lost due to the conflict.
It is hoped that with dedicated planning and building at this early stage, the camp can become a model for other refugee settlements in the valley.
Find out more about about the work we support in Lebanon
Donate to the new camp and existing schools.
Chichester children have combined their talents to raise £10,138 for vulnerable children across the world, through a performance entitled ‘Spotlight on the Edge’.
Emily Dadson, Events organiser at Children on the Edge said “We can’t say thank you enough to everyone involved for giving their time, energy and talent to make ‘Spotlight on the Edge’ a reality. Both on stage and behind the scenes, so many people came together for one purpose, resulting in a fantastic show and an amazing amount raised for our work”.
The show was held on Sunday 24th of January, as part of the Chichester Festival Theatre’s Winter Season and all proceeds went to the work of Children on the Edge.
The evening consisted of a colourful array of music, song and dance by some of the most talented children in our locality, coming together to make a difference to children globally.
The one-off cast of gifted local young people includes Chichester Festival Youth Theatre, Dance Innovation, Arabesque School of Performing Arts, West Sussex Music, The Pop Up Club and Chichester Music Academy, with performances in the foyer by Il Campane of Rebecca Cooke Singing.
Nick Davidson, Head of Chichester Music Academy, says: “Spotlight on the Edge offered golden opportunity for young musicians and singer-songwriters to perform in an acclaimed venue. I’d like to thank the theatre’s creative director Angela Watkins, as well as Children on the Edge’s Emily Dadson and, of course, the theatre itself - we’re so pleased to have taken part in something that’s raised over £10,000 for such a fantastic cause. Roll on next year’s event!”
Opening with a dramatic performance of Ravel’s Bolero by the West Sussex Music Spotlight Orchestra, Act One included a colourful excerpt from ‘A Chorus Line’ by the Arabesque School of Performing Arts, a stirring rendition of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ by local band ‘The Traits’ and an ‘On Pointe’ sequence by young members of Dance Industry.
The audience were then treated to a colourful dance piece entitled ‘Hope, Life, Colour, Fun - Dance!’ by CFYT Dance, which really bought out the theme of the show, and expressed ways in which young people in the UK can make a difference internationally.
Next came a welcome reminder of CFYT’s heart-warming Christmas show, ‘A Christmas Carol’, performed by members of the original cast. The first half then closed with a moving performance of Bui Do from ‘Miss Saigon’ by CFYT members past and present, joined by members of the Big Little Youth Theatre. The creativity continued throughout interval, with a beautiful recital in the foyer by Il Campane of Rebecca Cooke Singing.
Act 2 launched with a touching performance of John Rutter’s ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’ by the Spotlight Orchestra followed by a thought-provoking reflection on bullying in the shape of ‘Right Here, Right Now’ by The Pop Up Club. After Dance Industry’s dazzling ‘In Motion’, the audience enjoyed ‘Three’ sung by CMA’s Anna Foye and danced by Imogen Bailey and Nikki Skinner from the Arabesque School of Performing Arts. This contrasted with the next rousing Rock Medley by the Chichester Music Academy Choir.
The buzz continued to the end with a dramatic interpretation of Bohemian Rhapsody by the Arabesque School of Performing Arts and Kodaline’s plaintive ‘All I Want’, sung by widely-acclaimed local singer-songwriter Isaac Waddington, under the auspices of Chichester Music Academy.
Most memorable, was the spectacular full-company finale performance of Footloose, sung and danced through the auditorium by a sea of young people in brightly coloured Children on the Edge t-shirts and accompanied by a well-deserved standing ovation.
Denise Patterson - High Sheriff of West Sussex who attended the event said of the show: "It was certainly a show to remember. Talent and commitment shone from the young performers and what a splendid way to showcase Children on the Edge. Forgotten children in forgotten places, a statement that could not have been so sharply contrasted by such a wonderful evening at the Festival Theatre. Neither such thoughts I'm sure will be forgotten by the audience last night"
Photo credit - Liz Fawkes