On 24th February 2022 a special graduation ceremony was held for 38 teachers who had completed their training and received certificates in Kyaka II refugee settlement, Uganda
The ceremony was presided over by the District Education Officer who said, “This is the first time in the entire district to have an Early Childhood Development caregiver’s graduation and indeed Children on the Edge Africa is a game changer. The issue of using untrained teachers should be something of the past.”
Nural Islam, is a seven year old student at one of the community schools we support in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. We’ve been chatting to him throughout 2021 so far, to get his thoughts and feelings about the schools and life in lockdown.
In July, our Learning Centres in India were able to open their doors to students again after months of strict lockdown. The children are delighted to be back and learning again.
10-year-old Stanley Wilkes visited Uganda last month on behalf of Jessie Younghusband school student council. He spent time with the inspirational ‘Child Rights Clubs’ we support here, who are changing their communities in the slums surrounding Jinja. Now he is back in Chichester, exploring with his friends how they can put what he’s learnt into practice.
School’s out for summer. But you’ll no doubt be seeing lots of ‘Back to School’ branding in the shops and online; as many of you think about getting children kitted out for their return back to school in September.
But getting ‘Back to School’ for the children we work with is a lot more complicated than just buying pens, uniforms and packed lunch boxes. These children face enormous barriers to getting an education, but we help to make it possible.
We need your support so we can keep getting some of the most vulnerable children around the world, back to school and it's why we've launched our Back to School campaign.
A small donation can not only fund things like pens, pencils, bags and uniforms, but can also rent classrooms, pay teachers and fund training. Make a donation here.
How can you help?
1. Buy for Two
If you are buying a new pencil case or school bag over the summer for a child, could you spare the cost of another and #BuyforTwo? We're encouraging parents, caregivers and children to donate the amount you spend on a new item for the school year to Children on the Edge, to help a vulnerable child get back to school.
£5 can provide a place in a tent school for one Syrian refugee child for a week in Lebanon. So the cost of a new pencil case and a few new pens can make a huge difference.
Don't forget to take a picture of the item and let us how much you're donating by sharing it with us on social media with the hashtag #BuyforTwo. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
2. Buy through Give as You Live
If you are planning to buy 'Back to school' supplies online, sign up to Give as You Live to raise money for us for free! By shopping at a selected retailers using online, we get a small donation, without costing you a penny. Every penny counts, so even spending £5 online at Amazon, Tesco or WH Smith can make a difference. Especially if we all do it.
For example, just £1 can provide four days of education for a child at our Early Childhood Development Centre in Loco, Uganda.
3. Make a Regular Donation
A regular donation to Children on the Edge can help to fund our work to get children back to school throughout the whole year. This means you'll be directly supporting a vulnerable child to get a high quality education, in a safe, child friendly environment.
For example £10 can provide books and pencils to help educate three children for a whole school year at one of our schools in Bangladesh, India or Lebanon. So throughout the year, a monthly donation of £3 can go a very long way.
How we help
Your support can help us get more children Back to School this year and continue to deliver the best quality education for children in some of the most vulnerable circumstances. Can you make a donation today?
17 year old Abby Brooks has spent a week in our Chichester office on work experience. She’s written a blog about her week with us...
I am a student at nearby, Bishop Luffa Sixth Form and I’m studying A Levels in geography, media and maths. Throughout the year in my human geography lessons I touched on topics such as border control issues and refugees which sparked a strong passion and interest within me, inspiring me to learn more. I have set myself a goal to study International Development at University as I believe it will be the stepping stone in finding a career that combines my interest in Human Geography with my passion for charity.
When my school offered the opportunity of a week of work experience I began to research local international charities and was surprised when I came across Children on the Edge right on my doorstep. As most international charities are located in London, I was delighted when they allowed me to join them in the office for a week, as I knew it was an exciting and rare opportunity to find out how a charity is run and gain some vital experience.
I was warmly welcomed by the COTE team on Monday morning and given an interesting and insightful introduction of the charity’s history and current projects. I learnt about the different roles within the office and how each member of the team contributes to the smooth operation of the charity. This opened my eyes to the range of jobs available within a charity organisation, including roles that I had never heard of before such as Operations Manager - who makes sure all the work is kept legal.
Throughout the rest of the day I generally helped with tasks in the office such as sorting through old video tapes of previous COTE projects footage and transferring them onto DVD disks for easier storage. I also explored the COTE website and created a document answering questions such as how easy it was to navigate and suggesting improvements.
Tuesday began with creating thank you letters to local shops and businesses who kindly donated prizes for COTE’s tombola at Priory Park Festival; I was able to not only write the letters but also hand deliver them which I enjoyed as I was representing the charity and got to personally thank the generous businesses in our community. Other tasks included documenting the COTE’s search results to give them an idea of how easy it is to find their website online, and to update the press page on their website by taking press clippings.
The highlight of the week was Wednesday, as I was given the opportunity to sit in a ‘COMMs’ meeting where the team updated one another and planned for upcoming events. A clip about one of COTE’s projects in India was shown and I learnt about the ‘Untouchable’ Dalit children. This really impacted me and made me fully realise the extent to which the help of this charity is desperately needed. I was then set an exciting challenge by my supervisor Amy, to create a presentation which could be used in encouraging other schools to fundraise for Children on the Edge.
I spent the rest of Wednesday and Thursday creating a power point presentation, following their brand image which I really enjoyed as I could express my passion for media and design, as well as broadening my own knowledge and understanding of the charity in the process.
On Friday, to conclude the week I was able to present my presentation to the team which was beneficial as it developed my presenting skills and confidence when speaking to an audience.
Overall my week with Children on the Edge has been impacting and inspiring, as I have expanded my knowledge of international issues through researching COTE’s projects in India, Bangladesh, Uganda, Burma and Lebanon.
Learning how an organisation can reach the children on the very edge of society and change their lives has further encouraged me to study international development at University and hopefully work for an international charity in the future.
Find out how you can volunteer with Children on the Edge
Bourne Community College student wins prestigious Diana Award for Children on the Edge fundraising efforts
Local student, Megan McCulloch, aged 16, from Bourne Community College in Southbourne has been included on a prestigious list of winners as part of the 2017 Diana Awards’ Roll of Honour, to honour her fundraising efforts for Children on the Edge.
Megan was jointly nominated by Children on the Edge and the school for leading their Charity Committee to raise £1,471 throughout 2015-2016 with a range of different fundraising activities.
The Diana Awards are set up to celebrate and reward exceptional young people who embody Princess Diana’s qualities of kindness, compassion and service. To celebrate Princess Diana’s Birthday this 20th Anniversary year, the 2017 Roll of Honour, which included Megan's name, was announced over the weekend.
Megan said: “I cannot express how honoured I feel to have been given the opportunity to help those less fortunate than myself. It was a pleasure to lead a team of great students. I have been inspired and supported by an outstanding member of staff who guided me through my journey of fundraising and leadership - I am filled with joy at becoming a Diana Award winner!”
Fundraising Manager at Children on the Edge, Eloise Armstrong said: “Megan has been a fantastic ambassador for Children on the Edge within Bourne Community College. We have been impressed by her pro-active leadership; innovative fundraising ideas and her communication with our fundraising staff. As a small charity, the impact of Megan’s fundraising has been significant and timely, enabling us to provide ‘on the edge’ safe spaces and education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and Rohingya refugee children fleeing Burma and living in Bangladesh.”
Megan managed all aspects of the relationship between us and the school; arranging visits and presentations from the Children on the Edge staff team, coordinating the fundraising events, and delivering assemblies to share the impact of the total money raised.
Megan brought leadership and energy in her role as chair of Bourne Community College’s charity committee and committed time each week to bring together a team representing all year groups. She coordinated all year round fundraising which included a school-wide sports day featuring unique sports played in the countries where we work. As well as the Easter “Children on the Egg” challenge.
The money raised by Megan and the school can help provide education in an informal tented school in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon for eight Syrian refugee children for a whole year.
Children on the Edge rely completely on voluntary donations and receives no institutional or government funding for their programme in Lebanon, which makes this support all the more vital for the charity during the worsening refugee crisis in Syria.
Phil Harper, Student Voice Coordinator said: “I have loved seeing Megan grow in her leadership skills. She knew how to lead staff and students with enthusiasm and purpose. I now feel genuine pride at Megan's achievements and the young person she has become - courageous, resilient and compassionate.”
Head Teacher, Yvonne Watkins said: "All of us at Bourne Community College are delighted with the Diana Award for Megan. She has worked tirelessly as Chair of our Charity Group. She is an exceptional young student, embodying all the qualities of kindness, compassion and service that are reflected in the Diana Award. She has worked selflessly, always aiming to inspire and motivate other students and staff to raise awareness and money for those less fortunate than themselves. She truly deserves this wonderful Diana Award.”
Megan will collect her Award at a special Ceremony later this year.
The Diana Award was set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. It is committed to fostering, inspiring and developing positive change in the lives of young people through practical social action. Today The Diana Award has the support of both her sons The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
All the award winners – who come from every region in the UK and USA, Canada, UAE, India, Belize, Australia, Greece, Indonesia, Croatia, Liberia, Jersey, New Zealand, Indonesia and Liberia – have had a monumental impact on society and lives of those in their communities. Many of them only know Princess Diana as a historical figure but they carry the honour of the Diana Award with pride and admiration for whose memory it was set up in.
Would your school like to fundraise for Children on the Edge? Find out more here or contact our Fundraising Officer, Amy Rook.
The pupils, parents and staff at Shellingford CE Primary School in Oxfordshire have been raising money for our work with Syrian refugee children in Lebanon since September 2016 as part of a whole school year of fundraising. So far they have raised an enormous £4871.13!
We visited the school in September 2016 and spoke to the staff and students about our project in Lebanon, providing education for 500 Syrian refugee children through our tented schools in Bekaa Valley. We spoke to the young students about what it was like to be a refugee and tried to get them to think about what life might be like for a Syrian refugee family who had to flee their home because of the ongoing conflict. The children were asked to think about what items they might take to help ensure their survival; things like like blankets, passports, money, a torch, first aid kit and a mobile phone.
This visit from Children on the Edge in September kicked off Shellingfords' fundraising for the year ahead. But teacher, Alex Drew was behind all the schools' fundraising activities. His family foundation set up in memory of his father (the Simon Drew Foundation) kindly provide financial support for our work in Lebanon, and he was keen for the school to get behind Children on the Edge too. Alex has led the schools fundraising which included a 'Self-Portrait' project, 'The Ultimate Sport Challenge' and a community picnic.
For the first of their activities, the 'Shellingford Self-Portrait Project', the children drew pictures of themselves which parents were able to order as keychains, framed portraits of fridge magnets, with all proceeds coming to Children on the Edge.
In February, staff and pupils took part in a series of sponsored sports activities called 'The Ultimate Sports Challenge'. The activities were linked to what Syrian refugees might have experience on their journey from their war-torn homes to refugee camps in Lebanon. Every child and teacher was asked to raise money with a specially created sponsorship form.
Tuesday: The Run
The whole school, including all the adults tried to run as many laps as possible in the school grounds, with 15 laps equalling 1 mile. The whole school ran an incredible 328 miles which they worked out as being as far as Shellingford to Paris, or the same distance from Aleppo, Syria to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Thursday: The Hike
Pupils took part in a hike in the local area. On the day each pupil brought a backpack with essentials they might need on a long journey. The children had been learning about refugees and thinking about what families and children might need to take with them to survive if they had to leave their homes in hurry, not knowing if they would come back. Despite storm Doris stopping them walking through the woods, they were able to walk through a mile long field and the village.
Friday: The Scramble
On Friday, the school organised a challenging obstacle in the playing fields. The obstacles were designed to be similar to what a refugee child might have endured when travelling across an unknown landscape. There were water and mud features and everyone got really stuck in.
Sunday: The Climb
For staff and families who were able to, the school finished their 'Ultimate Sports Challenge' with a climb up nearby White Horse Hill. The climb was related to a refugee's journey to hopeful safety.
Together, the Sports Challenge and Self-Portrait project raised an incredible £2546.52!
The schools' summer fundraising activity involved a community picnic which took place on Friday 26th May. Local residents were invited to join staff and pupils on a gloriously sunny lunchtime. The picnic raised another £127 to add to their total.
The parents at Shellingford Primary School have also been doing an incredible job of raising money through the 'Friends of Shellingford Primary School'. Their Spring Ball on the 20th May raised an amazing £806.50.
We were particularly touched to hear about year 5 pupil, Samantha's fundraising efforts. She independently organised for her family to make donations for chores completed at home. She raised a very impressive £43.90 with her hard work.
The money raised by Shellingford Primary School will go such a long way to help support our work with Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.
Over the past 3 years Children on the Edge have been working in partnership with Lebanese NGO - Mercy Foundation within the refugee communities in the Bekaa Valley, providing quality, child friendly education for refugee children who are unable to access government or UN school provision.
These tent schools, in addition to a school based out of a Community Centre in Beirut, currently provide education for 500 children aged 6 -12. They are safe places with a trusted adult presence. Where other projects of this kind bring in teachers from the outside, this model raises up teachers from within the Syrian refugee community.
Could your school fundraise to support Children on the Edge? Find out more and Download our Schools Pack or contact Amy Rook, our Fundraising Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brand new for this year, over the Easter holidays, families have the chance to explore Chichester City Centre and enjoy Montezuma’s Chocolate at the end!
Following on from 10 successful years running an Easter Trail in Priory Park, this year Children on the Edge are introducing something with a difference. In partnership with Montezuma’s Chocolates they have arranged a special treasure trail around the centre of Chichester that families can go on anytime that suits throughout the school Easter break.
The trail starts in Eastgate square and winds its way around Chichester town centre ending at Montezuma’s Chocolate shop where every participant will receive a bag of chocolate goodies!
Families can use the clues to make their way around the route, tackling quiz questions and challenges along the way. The idea is that treasure seekers can take it at a leisurely pace or challenge themselves to a whistle-stop tour. The route is approximately a mile long and children may well discover some delights of Chichester that they’ve never seen before.
All profits go to the work of Children on the Edge, helping some of the most vulnerable children around the world.
Entry is £4 per child and on sign up all entrants will receive an email containing the Trail Information sheet and one code per entrant.
The trail can be completed anytime between Saturday 28 March and Sunday 12 April. On completing your trail, treasure seekers simply present their codes to staff in the Montezuma's store, East Street, to receive their chocolate!
Montezuma’s will also be running their usual ‘Design an egg’ competition, where the winning design will be made into a real chocolate egg. Entry forms have gone out to local schools and are also available at the Montezuma’s Store, at Children on the Edge office and from the Children on the Edge website.
If you have any questions, please contact us on 01243 538530 or e-mail email@example.com.