Meet the next fundraising generation: Inspirational children taking on huge challenges to support children living on the edge.
We are often stunned when we hear about the incredible achievements of some of our youngest supporters. Children who take on epic challenges to support children in challenging situations, so that they can learn, play, grow and be given the same opportunities in life, like access to education, that our young supporters have.
In Lebanon, we have been working with Lebanese NGO - Triumphant Mercy since 2014, providing quality education in a child friendly environment for nearly 300 Syrian refugee children. These children live in the informal refugee settlements of Bekaa Valley, who often struggle to access education and support.
The project started with four tent schools in the refugee camps in Bekaa Valley but in 2019 the children were brought together in one central building in Zahle, a nearby city. Students, together with trained refugee teachers, are driven in by bus from the camps to learn together in safe, colourful classrooms and have fun with friends in the large play space outside.
As with so many schools around the world, the Zahle school has been closed for much of the past year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Lebanon has also faced further crisis in recent months; economic collapse, political rioting, a devastating explosion in the capital of Beirut along with continual lockdowns. But our teachers have been incredibly resilient, working tirelessly to come up with solutions to ensure the children can still have access to learning back in the camps. On World Refugee Day, we take a look at what our refugee teachers have been doing to offer home learning and support to the refugee children we support in Lebanon.
Hoda is one of seven children and she lives in a refugee settlement in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. She and her family fled the war in Syria, and came here to try and find safety. As the conflict has been going for over eight years now, she and her brothers and sisters have never known anything different.
Sadly Hoda’s father was killed in a car accident in 2018. This makes things very difficult for her mother, looking after seven children in a camp alone, and Hoda has to spend a lot of time looking after her brothers and sisters.
Rishma Akter is a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar, who fled to Bangladesh in 2017 with her family. She received training from our partner organisation and now teaches at Learning Centre 22 in Kutupalong refugee camp. She is 18 years old and happily married. She loves teaching, and loves her students and describes one poignant moment in her career...
Gali is three years old and his parents fled to Kyaka II refugee settlement in Uganda around six years ago after a life-threatening conflict erupted between the Hema and Lendu tribes in their village of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda is a world leader in the way it hosts refugees, but Gali’s mother Maurine says that since crossing the border into the country life has not been easy.
MEET BAWK KAI MAI
Bawk Kai Mai is five years old and lives in Kachin State, Myanmar. She attends one of the Early Childhood Development Centres we support in the remote mountain camps near the border of China.
Poonam attended a government school in India until seventh grade. This was when her parents pulled her out of school despite her protests, so that she could work to support her family’s increasing household expenses. At just 17, her parents then made arrangements for her to marry a local boy.
Child marriage puts an end to childhood. It impacts young girls’ right to education and puts them at risk of violence, exploitation and abuse. Girls who are married as children are less likely to be in school and they struggle to earn money and contribute to the community. They are also more likely to have children while they are still children themselves and are more at risk of dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
It is estimated that 1.5 million girls under 18 get married in India each year, making it home to the largest number of child brides in the world. Dalit children, like Poonam, as members of the lowest caste in India are especially at risk of child marriage and face discrimination at almost every level.
Our programme in India looks to change this by creating protective environments for Dalit children in and surrounding Patna in Bihar State.
Eight year old Florrie Legge from Wombourne near Wolverhampton is taking on a 20 mile bike ride to raise money for Children on the Edge on Saturday 12th June. She hopes to raise an incredible £1500.
Children on the Edge works alongside local communities in some of the toughest places in the world to transform the lives of overlooked children by co-creating protective environments where they can safely live, play, learn and grow. To do this, we work closely with the people and places that have the most impact on the child: the family, classroom, community and society.
If families lack the resources to meet needs and solve problems, their children are pushed to the edge. They become poorly protected and are at risk of abuse, exploitation, exclusion and neglect, causing irreversible damage.