As long term supporters of Children on the Edge, over the years the pupils of Dorset House School have found many ingenious ways of raising funds for us. Last Friday, for the second year running they decided to set off on a 7-mile sponsored walk across the South Downs.
A few days before the walk we went into the school to run some workshops about children’s rights. The children also had the chance to learn about the plight of over a million Syrian refugees in Lebanon and what they could help.
On the morning of the walk the whole school arrived at Whiteways car park in the beautiful sunshine, ready to take on the journey. To add in an extra challenge for the children, each group were asked to carry a big container of water from the start to our lunch meeting place. This meant they were carrying additional weight for about 3 miles. True to form the groups found ways of sharing the weight between them so no one person had to carry it alone.
Our Community Fundraiser, Sarah Collison went along to the walk and said "The children had some fantastic methods of getting the water to the meeting point, ranging from tying it to a stick and having one person on either side, to wrapping it in a raincoat and having a child hold each sleeve. Whichever technique they used, every group got all the water to the meeting place without loosing any en-route!".
At lunch the water was divided out between everyone and the group had a discussion about how much water you might need to carry, to provide enough for a family for a whole day. They talked about how this is what a huge number of children around the world have to do each day.
Overall a great day was had by all and already a lot of money has been raised. All proceeds from the day are going to help children at the Child Friendly Space we support in Uganda and Syrian refugee children attending the new Camp Schools in Lebanon.
We'd like to say a huge thank you to the staff and students at Dorset House, not only for raising money, but for taking such a keen interest in the lives of other children across the world. If you would like to help this brilliant school with their challenge, and reward all of the children’s hard work, please donate now by texting EDGE97£10 to 70070 to donate £10. You can also donate via their Just Giving page.
If your school is interested in working with Children on the Edge, give Sarah a call at the office on 01243 538530 or drop her an e-mail.
It has been now been three years since the Burma Army broke a 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and unleashed a major new military offensive against the Kachin people.
Since then over 120,000 Kachin people have been forced to flee their homes with over 200 villages being destroyed and many people seeking refuge in internally displaced person (IDP) camps along the Burma-China border.
In his last report to the UN Human Rights Council, Tomás Ojea Quintana, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, detailed concerns about violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, noting that there has been “no progress in tackling the impunity under which the military forces currently operate”. Under this impunity the Burma Army have carried out continual human rights abuses and crimes against humanity.
This week also saw the release of the Fortify Rights report “I Thought They Would Kill Me”: Ending Wartime Torture in Northern Myanmar, which chronicles the torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of more than 60 civilians by members of the Burma Army, Military Intelligence and Police Force. These abuses were part of a systematic attack against the civilian population with the backing of the state.
The children we work with in Kachin State witness this situation on a daily basis. The Early Childhood Development programme we provide in the IDP camps around Laiza and in outlying camps on the Burma-China border is specifically designed for children who have experienced this kind of trauma, helping them to make sense of what they’ve experienced, and move forward.
As this Monday marked the third anniversary of the resumption of war against the Kachin people, 55 concerned groups and organisations around the world, including Children on the Edge signed a statement calling for peace. The document contained various recommendations urging the Government of Burma to end the violence, allow access for humanitarian aid, to respect international human rights law and to both protect and compensate displaced people.
The statement also called on the international community to establish a full investigation into the use of rape and sexual violence and urged the People’s Republic of China to respect the right of refugees. Full details of the statement can be found at Burma Campaign UK.
Find out more about our work with displaced Kachin children in Burma, and consider donating to the project.
This week is National Volunteers' Week, and what better excuse to take the time to profile some of the fantastic people who give their time, skills and energy to benefit the children that we work with.
These days we only take volunteers abroad very rarely. It’s not an experience the public can apply for or buy into. We’re a small charity and want to put all our resources and time into making sure the children we work with have the very best provision. Large scale volunteer programmes don’t really fit with this strategy, but once a year, we do take a small group of volunteers from The Body Shop at Home™, and other corporate partners who tirelessly raise money for our work throughout the year, to one of our projects.
Here in the UK, we rely weekly, monthly and annually on our wonderful band of volunteers. Our annual events simply could not and would not, take place without the commitment and dedication of our local team of helpers.
From our enthusiastic marshals at the Chi Half who keep participants safe and going in the right direction, to volunteers at our Easter Trail who help communicate the importance of our work to the local children of West Sussex - we are indebted to them all.
We also owe a huge amount to our weekly volunteers who come into the office and generally assist with daily activities, from helping with grant applications, to sorting paperwork for archiving, to booking stalls for events and helping generate local funds through talks, street collections and much, much more.
Emily Dadson, our Office Manager says “At the heart of all we do we are children on the edge – abandoned, forgotten, ignored. Our volunteers understand this vision and purpose and so become very much part of the COTE team. Their practical input is invaluable, but also their wisdom, thoughts and ideas. We listen and learn and gain so much more from having them work alongside us. They genuinely add value to our tasks and our gratitude to them is huge. I hope we say thank you enough – but just in case we don’t, here are our thanks – in black and white – from all of us to all of you. You know who you are!”
Take a few moments to meet some of our volunteers!
Justine is the owner of Mia Bella Casa in Rustington and has given a phenomenal amount of time to Children on the Edge over the years.
She says "I have been a supporter of Children on the Edge for many years. I worked for The Body Shop and we were did a lot of fundraising for them. Back in December 2010 I was made redundant, knew I wanted to spend a few months volunteering and decided to go to Children on the Edge .
I helped organise the flagship event, the Easter Trail and the Chichester Half Marathon for 2 years running. I loved it, the team are fabulous, but just knowing that you are giving something back to the community and helping children whose lives are in such turmoil makes it so worthwhile. It's also a chance to learn new skills."
Just last month this year’s volunteer team came back from a play scheme week in Uganda. Sara was one of at the volunteers from Redburn. She described how “Without a doubt, the biggest highlight of the week was the amazing smiles on the children’s faces and the sheer joy they expressed whilst playing. I have never experienced a group of children consistently so positive and helpful to their peers. I could have easily stayed longer than the week we had and I'd love to go back again!”
Walter is a retired Headmaster who has been giving his valuable time and skills to Children on the Edge for the past few years. He says “Having done some travelling in South East Asia, I was very aware of the huge number of children living on very little in countries such as Bangladesh, Burma and Thailand. When I realised that Children on the Edge existed to help these very children, I was keen to volunteer to help.
In the last couple of years I have spoken at school assemblies, shaken a bucket at the railway station, given a presentation at a day centre, not to mention dished out water at the Chichester Half Marathon. There are office chores as well – but the cause is such a good one that routine tasks (during hours that fit in with other commitments) are not a great burden. I strongly recommend Children on the Edge!”
Sara has recently started working for us as a Fundraising Support Officer, previously to this she has been volunteering for 3 years and has been an invaluable member of the team.
She says “I started volunteering for COTE because I wanted to gain some experience working for an international children’s charity. I had made a project about Anita Roddick in college and had become interested in what COTE were doing. When I arrived I was thrilled to find out that my education degree was going to help. I helped create a schools pack and visited various schools and fundraising days. I’ve also helped out with the Easter Trail both in the planning stages and on the day.
For me, volunteering has been quite a life line. Keeping busy and knowing that I was able to support the wonderful work that Children on the Edge do, has helped me through some difficult times and has also had a huge influence on the decisions I have made about my life and career. I have loved being a part of the COTE volunteer family and I am really excited for the future”.
With just over four months to go until this year’s Chichester Half Marathon, race organisers are laying down a challenge for Chichester workplaces.
Chichester’s ‘multi terrain’ half marathon is now in its 3rd year and this year’s race will take place on Sunday 12th of October.
The organisers are continually looking to enhance the runners’ race experience and for 2014 they are launching a ‘Works Trophy’.
Any organisation or business can enter as many people as they wish, (male and female) to compete for the Trophy and the first three finishers on race day will be the scoring team. Each workplace registering five or more runners will receive a visit from one of the organisers who will provide a complimentary training workshop. Any business signing up more than 10 runners will also get a free place thrown in.
The Chichester Half Marathon is a challenging and beautiful ‘multi-terrain’ half marathon, which takes in the major City Centre sights and landmarks as well as spectacular rural scenery. The terrain is a good mixture of road, paths, cycle tracks and cross country.The Race is managed by Chichester District Council and Children on the Edge, a local based charity helping vulnerable children across the globe.
If running really isn’t for you but you’d like to be involved in a great event which brings the community together, then think about volunteering. Roles include marshalling at different points along the race route; manning water tables and handing out medals and goodie bags at the finish. Just contact Amy Chamberlain by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01243 534797.
Prices are £24 for EA affiliated club members and £26 for unattached and other runners. You can sign up at www.chichesterhalfmarathon.co.uk. Individuals signing up can expect a Chi-half specific training plan to be available on the website by mid June.
Once Work Trophy teams are registered, just e-mail email@example.com with your team name and a list of competitors. May the best business win!