During the winter of 2017, we appealed to our supporters to help many internally displaced families in Syria to survive the freezing conditions they were facing. Our partners in Lebanon (Triumphant Mercy) crossed the border, providing food and fuel to 150 families in the eastern suburbs of Damascus.
Since this time, they have continued to work with these communities, responding to the humanitarian, educational and health needs as best they can. For the last few years, Syria has been closed to most outsiders. Only Lebanese nationals have had free access, and crossing the border takes no more than 15 minutes.
The early distributions in 2017 were coupled with home visits, listening to people who felt they had lost hope. Many people expressed that they felt abandoned by the world, and at this point our partners began supporting children here to access education. Over 70 children were sponsored to go to school including transportation, books and materials.
The area where we are focussing our support is Jaramana, south of Damascus. The city is an hour from the recently attacked town of Douma and less than a mile from the battleground of Ghouta. The intensity of the violence here has made it temporarily impossible for our partners to access the area, but they have a team of Syrians, working there on their behalf, until they can return.
Through exploring the needs of communities here, it was found that many children are without parental care, living and sleeping on the streets. There was also an identified rise in drug addictions, domestic violence and crime.
Nuna Matar who leads the work of Triumphant Mercy says, “Though we are deeply concerned with this escalation of violence, we also know that we cannot just sit with hands folded, watching people suffering without any hope”.
Within Jaramana we are currently supporting work to build relationships and support networks, including youth groups and women’s forums. To help people here more effectively, Triumphant Mercy have started the process of officially registering as an NGO within Syria. They are currently looking for suitable rented space to open their first community centre, which can be used as a safe place for women and a shelter for children to have daily meals and activities.
The hope for this centre is that, in time, it will be able to welcome and support every part of the community.
Sign up to make monthly donations to support work like this, and find out more about our partner’s work with Syrian refugees in Lebanon, by clicking the buttons below.
We're looking for 10 individuals who love a challenge, to join our Children on the Edge Tough Mudder team. The team will need to take on the infamous Tough Mudder Half on the 22nd September 2018, at Holmbush Farm and help fundraise for our work with vulnerable children around the world.
What is Tough Mudder?
The Tough Mudder Half is a 5-mile, mud covered course with 13 epic obstacles, designed to put your strength, stamina and mental grit to the test. The London South Tough Mudder offers a uniquely challenging experience, designed by engineers who trek the globe looking for creative and testing obstacles, meaning that no two Tough Mudder courses are the same.
Team work is key
You’ll also need teamwork and camaraderie to make it through the muddy challenge, so be sure to choose your Children on the Edge team mates wisely. It could be formed of friends, family or work colleagues; all we ask is you commit to fundraising a minimum of £250 each for the work we do.
Why take on Tough Mudder for Children on the Edge?
As part of the Children on the Edge Team you’ll be getting muddy to help support some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Children on the Edge exists to help marginalised and forgotten children, who are living on the edge of their societies. These are children without parental care, neglected or persecuted by their governments, ignored by international media and missed by large overseas agencies. We work to support these children in realising their rights and to restore the ingredients of a full childhood generating hope, life, colour and fun.
You won’t be alone in your fundraising because we’ll be supporting you every step of the way. We’ll also provide you with a fundraising pack full of ideas to maximise your sponsorship.
As an extra reward for your hard work on the day, the Children on the Edge Tough Mudder Team will receive lots of goodies including; a finishers T-shirt, a free lunch and for our top fundraisers we’ll be sharing some of our Mini-Mudder passes, for children to take part in their very own Mini-Mudder course.
If you think you have what it takes for this muddy challenge and can help restore hope, life, colour and fun to the children we support, then apply here.
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.
Stay in touch with stories like this and consider making a donation by clicking the links below.
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.
The displaced communities we work with in Kachin State Myanmar have displayed incredible resilience over the years. Despite living in harsh high altitude conditions in the camps, with no access to services, they have been gathering together to ensure safe spaces for their children to learn, play and recover from what they’ve been through.
Currently, the feel in the camps is one of despondence. It has been a year since the last round of peace-talks and there are none planned for the near future. The conflict in the area runs hot and cold, making it impossible for people here to ever settle or feel safe. The last military attack was just a month ago.
There are 100,000 displaced Kachin people on the borders, and after nearly seven years, they are still completely trapped. Their route home is littered with landmines, and even if they could survive the journey back, their land has now been sublet by the government to Chinese companies to use for banana plantations, or occupied by drug cartels.
Our Asia Regional Manager, John Littleton returned from visiting the camps here last month. He says “It’s the displaced civilians that pay the price for this conflict. They are caught in a political gridlock, and the pride and momentum that carried them through the first season of living in these challenging conditions is beginning to fade”.
Aid agencies are still not granted access to many conflict areas, leaving displaced communities cut off from adequate assistance. Children on the Edge remain the only international organisation providing early years support in the most remote camps along the border.
As the world’s attention remains elsewhere, this embattled civilian population are not only being forgotten, but beginning to resign themselves to their fate. It is vital that we maintain our support to the communities we are working with at this time.
Back the call for peace and accountability by taking action via Burma Campaign UK, and consider becoming one of our regular donors to provide stable support for work like this. For further information about the situation in Kachin, visit our project page.
Despite the recent snowy weather, local scout group 1st Fetcham Scouts have been busy potting up plants for their ‘Bring and Buy’ sale fundraiser.
The Scout Group, who had undertaken the task of fundraising as part of their World Challenge Award, planned the event for the 9th March as part of their ‘Team Work and Team Leader awards’.
The event included the sale of delicious home-made cakes, lemonade, raffle tickets and potted plants. The plants had been kindly donated from Squires Garden Centre and decorated by the Scouts themselves.
Anita Chamberlain, Scout Leader to the young fundraisers said; ’The Leaders were very proud of the Scouts for taking matters into their own hands when they learned about the people who are supported by Children on the Edge projects. They chose to organise an event to raise money to help children less fortunate than themselves- we think they did fantastically!’
The Scouts raised an amazing £270 for Children on the Edge and really made the fundraiser a success.
If you would like to get your local club involved in a fundraising event or take on a challenge then send us an e-mail letting us know, and we'll be happy to help you with all your fundraising needs.
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