Children from the Learning Centres we support in Bihar State, India joined with hundreds of their local friends this week, to demonstrate in Patna about the need for greater protection.
Recent cases in the media, highlighting incidents of child rape and murder, prompted the children to come out in force and call for a safer environment. They also chose to highlight issues like dowry, the halting of higher education for girls and the need for greater gender equality.
The children lined the roadsides, carrying placards and singing motivational songs. In a striking expression of their solidarity, 500 children from eight different schools, held hands in a kilometre long human chain, appealing to adults to pay more attention to safeguarding children and their rights.
Sr Veena who leads the work in the urban slums of Patna said, “We need to sensitise and educate adults to create a child-safe environment. The purpose of the human chain was to call upon all our neighbours in the wider community to be alert to issues of child protection and children’s rights”.
Veena and her team have ongoing gender equality programmes as part of their work with Dalit children in the slums of Patna. They have seen significant change in the attitudes towards girls, and made many steps towards their protection and encouragement.
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David Isaac Lewis, a primary school music teacher from London, has taken on the challenge of the Hackney Half Marathon to raise funds for Children on the Edge.
David is currently studying for a Masters in the Sociology of Childhood and Child Rights at University College London. Having felt disheartened by his observations of the larger charity sector and the big NGO approach, his lecturer introduced him to Children on the Edge. David did a little research and described how “It’s refreshing to find that Children on the Edge are small and humble, with transparency in their work”.
Spurred on to become involved, David entered his local half marathon, the Hackney Half. He initially planned on raising a very impressive £500 to help support our work with refugee children but was overwhelmed by the amount of people wanting to sponsor him. With 5 weeks to go he has already toppled his initial goal of £500 and now hopes to raise over a £1,000 with the help of his school, friends and family. £1,000 covers all the costs of educating five Syrian refugee children in a tent school for a year in Lebanon, so David’s fundraising will make a huge difference to the vulnerable children we support.
With all the extra support David’s been getting, he is really beginning to enjoy the challenge and says he feels immensely proud of the charity. He loves to tell those who donate exactly how the funds are spent. David admits he isn’t a natural at running but is taking on the Half Marathon as an opportunity to start a healthier lifestyle and is finding the whole process very rewarding.
David hopes others will be encouraged by his fundraising saying, “Raising money for a cause that you find important is something so worthwhile. It even helps you set your own goals, like being healthy, all the while achieving something amazing for those that need help.”
If you have a challenge you would like to take on to help raise funds for vulnerable children, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Challenges page where we have lots of exciting opportunities for you to get involved in.
Despite record-breaking hot weather, our two runners this year managed to complete the London Marathon and raise almost £4,000 for Children on the Edge.
We spoke to one of our champion fundraisers; 5-time marathon runner James Watkins this morning to catch up on the special (and sweltering) London Marathon. He said, “It was just brilliant, the crowds were cheering harder than ever, the atmosphere was incredible”. Having ran in marathon events before, James described this year as particularly spectacular, with the heat only encouraging the supporters who lined the race track.
While James had been battling freezing conditions through his snowy winter training, he admitted that Sunday was “not a day for running”. The heat left thousands of runners struggling to finish what was the hottest London Marathon day on record. James said, “I saw people dropping from the heat, I thought today is not the day I’ll get my personal best, I just need to make it to the end”.
Keeping hydrated and persevering, James made it to the end where he was met by his wife and thousands of incredible supporters in an amazing time of 4hrs 27mins. Despite James not getting his ‘personal best’ time, he was overjoyed to have been part of a monumental day as part of the Children on the Edge team.
Fellow fundraiser Michael Pearce (Mikey), completed the course in an impressive 3hrs 45mins. Despite this being slower than his expected time, he had a great experience. Mikey described how “The crowds were amazing, the best in the world I’m told, and they helped me through the tough miles. My motivation in those miles came from the many generous people who have and continue to sponsor me. I also considered some of the tough lives that the children who Children on the Edge work with have”.
Children on the Edge want to say a massive thank you to all our marathon runners over the last few weeks, including those in who ran in Paris, Brighton and London. Together these runners have raised over £8,000 for the work we do with vulnerable and forgotten children across the world.
Mikey is hanging up his running trainers, but is recommending that others get involved. He said, “I would encourage everyone to take on a challenge that makes you focus on goal and to use that opportunity to raise money and awareness of charities like Children on the Edge”. You start out on this by clicking the buttons below.
Children on the Edge are focussing on long term provision for Rohingya refugee children in the border camps of Bangladesh.
Described by the UN as ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’, brutal attacks by the Myanmar military in August 2017 forced over 700,000 Rohingya civilians over the border into Bangladesh. The majority of these arrived directly into the areas where we have been providing refugee education since 2011.
After delivering an initial humanitarian response, our main concern over the next few years is that children have consistent support, long after the current surge of attention subsides. Already, many of the agencies that arrived after the crisis hit the headlines, are beginning to withdraw.
Children make up 50% of the Rohingya refugee community here, and an estimated 625,000 children lack access to learning opportunities. New arrivals are living in highly congested areas (around 8m sq/person) and are susceptible to disease and malnutrition.
In addition to the daily stressors of displacement, children have suffered profound trauma and with little access to safe, child friendly facilities, face serious protection risks including abuse, child marriage, trafficking and child labour.
This month, we have begun the construction of 150 classrooms; within 75 new Learning Centres in the Kutupalong camp. Over the last few weeks, 10 Centres have been built and opened to groups of children. Through two shifts a day, children have the opportunity to learn basic language skills, reading, writing and arithmetic.
Rohingya facilitators are being trained in dealing with trauma in children, and how to create a welcoming, safe environment. Each space is a bright, colourful haven, with a focus on art, play and self expression. In time, we will be creating vibrant ‘green spaces’ outside each one through pot gardening, to create an oasis feel within the arid landscape of the camps.
The Centres will also serve as a hub for community learning in areas like First Aid skills and the use of gas stoves. They are semi-permanent structures, to enable durability against the rains (deep concrete floors), whilst maintaining flexibility on location, should the refugee population move on elsewhere.
Watch this space to read more about the progress of these Centres, and consider signing up as a regular donor to provide steady support for this work going forward. You can also read about how we are supporting education for Rohingya children living in enclave communities and slum communities further inland.
“Thank you to the brilliant team at Children on the Edge. They're a great charity creating real change for children in some of the worst parts of the world.” Connor Deacon, Brighton 2018
Local Churches of Slindon, St Mary’s and St Richard’s have raised over £740 for Children on the Edge by holding lunches together at alternate churches over the Lent period.
Anne Jones from St Mary’s wanted to create a welcoming event which could bring together the whole community, and raise money for good cause. She decided a simple but delicious “Lent Lunch” would work and reached out to St Richard’s church to join in with the weekly gatherings.
The lunches were a huge success, bringing together over 30 people each week to share fresh homemade soup and a bread roll. The conversation and welcoming nature of the events has been a real highlight. Many people ventured out of their homes, despite the recent cold snap, to take part. All food was provided and prepared between the churches and was free of charge, to ensure that anyone could attend.
The community of Slindon has also been incredibly generous in their donations to Children on the Edge, raising £740 over the 6 weeks. Members of the Children on the Edge staff team in Chichester were also invited to share in the lunches every week. Rachel Bentley, our International Director was particularly inspired by the event, saying, “It is fantastic that two different Churches have brought the community of Slindon out of their homes, to come together and to enjoy a simple lunch with conversation and inclusion”.
£740 will go a long way in our work with the vulnerable children, and we are always so grateful to be included in these kinds of events. If you think you could hold a similar fundraising event for Children on the Edge then please do get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling our office on 01243 538530.
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