Better the balance, better the world. This is the theme for this years International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March and we couldn’t agree more.
International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.
To help create safe places for vulnerable children around the world, we empower women (and men) to realise their rights. We work with the community as a whole, rather than providing stand alone children's services. Communities have a right to build protective environments for their own children, and over the years we have seen that this ownership is the key to lasting change.
You’ll see this as a core aspect of all our programmes (see below for some examples). We work with so many inspiring women every day; through our partner organisations and in the communities we support. All these women are working to 'better the balance' and you’ll see us celebrating their achievements all year long if you follow our Latest Stories or sign up to our monthly email updates.
Last year's theme on International Women’s Day, was 'Press for Progress'. Since then we have been supporting our partners to do just this, ready to celebrate their achievements this year, with the theme ‘Balance for better’.
You can read some of the amazing positive change stories from India here.
Aisha, one of our Child Protection Team members in Uganda has recently been elected as Secretary for Women's Affairs for the local Jinja authorities. This is the first time someone in her area has been elected, who has such a broad knowledge and understanding of women’s and children’s issues.
Our local partners in Uganda have a strong focus on ensuring opportunities for women. Many women, like Aisha, are involved in the running of our Child Protection Teams.
Aisha has been volunteering as the Chairperson of the Masese II Child Protection Team for over six years. Working with our local partners, Children on the Edge Africa, we support five slum communities around Jinja to create protective environments for their children through these Teams. They are made up of 10 elected and trained local volunteers work closely with their communities.
What do the Child Protection Teams do?
Child Protection Teams have become the ‘go-to’ for their communities because of the dedicated work they accomplish on behalf of vulnerable children. As a result, they have quickly become the first port of call not only with residents but also with the local authorities. Lost children are often brought to the teams by local people when found wandering, sometimes miles from home.
As Secretary for Women's Affairs, Aisha is now leading a team of five people and is confident that becoming the Secretary for Women’s Affairs will strengthen the work of the Child Protection Team in her community even further.
Aisha said: “Those who hide after violating the rights of women and children are now more afraid, because they know am the community member’s representative as both a Child Protection Team Chairperson and a council leader, recognised by local government".
Aisha puts this knowledge down to working with Children on the Edge, saying “I have taken this office with lot of hands on experience of both women’s and children’s issues because Children on the Edge Africa embraced our Child Protection Teams as their very own right from the start. They gave us training and helped us with networking. There was a tremendous improvement in terms of our case management”.
We're delighted for Aisha and can't wait to hear about her progress in the role.
Read more about our work with slum communities in Uganda. and how we're bringing vital change.
Children on the Edge supporter, Ani Evans, did something special to celebrate her ‘big’ birthday and set up a Birthday Fundraiser on Facebook recently. She set a target of £500 - ‘£10 for every year of my life!’ she said.
Ani not only met her target, she absolutely smashed it, and has raised £741 so far - an amazing achievement. One that will make a huge difference to our work around the world with vulnerable children.
Could you use your birthday to make a difference and fundraise for Children on the Edge?
Ani has been a long standing supporter of Children on the Edge, and was involved with us back in 2010 through her work with The Body Shop At Home. She took part in a Playscheme in Moldova where she saw first hand how our donations are used to work with and support some of the worlds most vulnerable children. She said wanted her friends to donate as a way of celebrating her birthday with her, and said that our work “means a lot to her”.
Ani said: “The children I met in Moldova had very little and were at risk of being victims of child trafficking. Children on the Edge built a Centre which was where the Playscheme was run. It was an emotional trip and probably the most rewarding thing I have done in my life so far”.
Children on the Edge supported and protected children living in poverty and without adequate care in Moldova; using our Child Friendly Space model. Our 'Centre', (a converted house), served over 200 vulnerable children from the local rural community. Activities included: after school lessons and homework clubs, computer lessons and free play sessions, including arts, crafts, games and sports. The most vulnerable also received a daily nutritious meal.
In the years since the Centre was established we saw it become the hub of the community. Work with the children at the Centre reduced the crime rate and increased school attendance, helping to halt the cycle of poverty and vulnerability. We assisted our local partners to become an independent Moldovan run organisation, who took over running the centre using independent local funding. Read more about our current projects.
Ani said: "I have been blown away by the support I have had. It’s a long time since I did any fundraising, so I am over the moon that people were on board. The more people who know about Children on the Edge the better."
Our Fundraising Officer, Kerry said: “We want to thank Ani and her friends for their kindness and support, and of course wish Ani a huge Happy Birthday! We’re delighted she chose to remember Children on the Edge as she celebrated a big milestone".
The money Ani raised will help marginalised and forgotten children, who are living on the edge of their societies around the world. These are children without parental care, neglected or persecuted by their governments, ignored by international media and missed by large overseas agencies.
Children on the Edge work in partnership with local communities. We help create safe, child friendly environments and support children to realise their rights. All our work aims to restore the ingredients of a full childhood by generating hope, life, colour and fun.
Would you like to join Ani and support our work?
Setting up a birthday fundraiser on Facebook is a fantastic, and simple way to raise money for Children on the Edge and help us support more children.
To set up your Birthday Fundraiser:
If you get stuck or want any help or advice, contact our Fundraising Officer, Kerry: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01243 538530
Around a year ago, we reported how the Kachin communities we work with in the remote displacement camps of Kachin State Myanmar, were beginning to lose hope. Having faced over seven years of being trapped in high altitude camps, cut off from basic services and humanitarian aid, the motivation that carried them through the first season was waning.
Living through what they describe as a ‘slow genocide’, while international attention remains on other crises around the world, 100,000 Kachin civilians endure terrible conditions, and remain ignored. Throughout 2018 these people have faced the threat of continued forced displacement, spontaneous return, land grabbing, and a continuing decrease of humanitarian aid. This has all increased the difficulty of providing for their families, facilitating transportation and facing weather conditions of less than minus ten degrees during winter.
Not only are children aged 3-6 cut off from early learning facilities, but our local partners (KDG) report that most camps have limited opportunities for playing, with terrain being unsuitable to build playgrounds, and little access to play materials. Consequently many older children disappear to the forests and find dangerous places to play.
In the past year, the 13 Early Childhood Development Centres we support in the most remote camps on the China border have been supplied with new art materials, musical toys, building blocks, sand pits, tyre swings, story books, and table tennis sets. 431 children received warm clothes and 18 new teachers were recruited, receiving intensive, high-quality training in Laiza. This brings the total number of teachers on the programme to 49.
The stand out feature of this programme however, is the contribution of the community. This ownership, despite the fact their situation has not abated, has continued to increase through 2018. In addition to providing ongoing nutritional support, 258 parents and committee members have attended workshops at each Centre, learning how to make play materials for the inside and outside nursery spaces. This included making ladders, bridges, swings and sand pits of bamboo and wood for the playgrounds. All of this has created 13 colourful, fun environments for the children to have fun and forget about the conflict situation they live in.
All the teachers are trained from within the Kachin community, learning about child psychology, dealing with behaviour, building a child-friendly environment, teaching techniques, child protection and managing logistics. 10 of the more experienced teachers have received further ongoing training on creating safe spaces where children can be free and secure enough to express themselves. They support children to regain a sense of security and self-worth while facilitating their long term recovery and well-being.
Nang Pu Lum is just over three years old and attends one of the Centres. Despite being so young, he is the middle child of a family of five, who all live in the Maga Yang Internally Displaced Person’s camp. His family fled their village back in 2011 when the ceasefire between the central government and ethnic Kachin rebels broke down. Maga Yang camp has endured further armed conflict over the last few years, with residents being re-displaced and cut off from humanitarian aid.
Nang Pu Lum’s family has struggled a lot over this time supporting such a large family and having no real means of income in the camps. Teachers described how “He just stayed alone, wasn’t talking much and wasn’t playing much with friends. Sometimes he shouted without realising it and would often just sing alone. He was always separated from others”
The teachers in Maga Yang talked with Nang Pu Lum’s family about how to give him the attention he needs, despite having lots of brother and sisters. With more support at home and extra attention at the Centres, Nang Pul Lum became an active and engaged child by the middle of the school term.
Our partners have reported that there has been a noted increase this year in parents interest in their children’s education and development, and that they listen more to their children’s opinions, leading to improvements in the children’s behaviour, self-esteem and happiness. Marip Ngwa Mi is the mother of one of the children at the Centres and says ““I am so grateful to this ECD Centre because I believe that even though I am not well educated, my child will be educated by attending this Centre. I am also so happy when my child is singing a song and dancing, which she has learned at the Centre. My child always tells me everything she has learned, such as how to wash hands before eating. I am so happy with my child’s development.”
Find out more about this work, and give further support by clicking the buttons below.
‘Together for Purpose’ - Another record breaking weekend for Children on the Edge as The Body Shop At Home celebrates 25 years.
The Body Shop at Home Spring Live! was an epic success; with consultants raising an incredible £65,209 in just a day. More than double the previous record total last September.
The Body Shop at Home’s Spring Live! event gathered 2,400 like minded entrepreneurial consultants to celebrate 25 years of the business and 25 years of female empowerment.
Along with raffle tickets and t-shirts, our team were armed with over 5000 goody bags, filled with products generously donated by The Body Shop. At an astonishing rate of selling one bag per second, every bag was sold in record time.
Together, this all helped to raise an absolutely whopping £65,209 in just one day. This is more than double the previous record fundraising total from September’s Christmas Conference.
The goody bags were packed in record time last week, with the help of a fantastic group of volunteers in Littlehampton who gave two days of their time to put them all together.
Our Executive Director, Ben shared good news from our projects in Uganda, with an update about our work in Wandago slum. Last February, Ben showed some clips from a tour we were taken on by children living in Wandago slum. They told us about the well they had to walk to for water, and the fact that many girls had been victims of rape and sexual assault when visiting there alone. Jjust a year later, our Child Protection Team in Wandago is fully established and have spent time working with the community to ensure that no-one travels to the well by themselves. There have been no attacks since.
Ben also celebrated Children on the Edge’s new Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre in Wandago, which opened last week, thanks to the fundraising efforts of The Body Shop At Home. The children are settling in well to their new colourful classrooms and our three new teachers, Leila, Faith and Prossy (pictured below) are delighted to have welcomed the children into the start of term. We hope the new Centre will replicate the success seen at our ECD Centre in Loco. Keep an eye on our Latest Stories for updates.
This was the first time we had the support from 64 new Children on the Edge Ambassadors (pictured above helping to sell goody bags) from The Body Shop, who helped to sell goody bags and raffle tickets and then launched their 2019 fundraising challenge. They will be sharing updates and ideas on how raise money with their regional teams. We’re excited to see what they can raise throughout the year.
Our Fundraising Manager, Eloise Armstrong said:
‘We are completely blown away by the generosity, passion and commitment to Children on the Edge shown by The Body Shop At Home consultants. The record fundraising total from Spring Conference is more than we could have ever imagined’.
‘The support we receive from The Body Shop At Home is absolutely vital, not only to carry on Anita’s legacy, but more importantly, to create safe spaces for vulnerable children in Uganda and empower other women across the globe to transform their communities’.
As you can see, support from The Body Shop At Home continues to change lives. Thank you to all those who are supporting us to continue this work, especially those who bought a goody bag, t-shirt, raffle tickets, or donated at the weekend and helped us to raise such a phenomenal amount of money.
You can support us throughout the year by making a regular donation, organising a fundraising event or by taking on a challenge.
If you are a consultant from The Body Shop At Home and you'd like to find out how to get more involved with fundraising, please email email@example.com.
For 25 years, The Body Shop At Home have supported Children on the Edge raising over £1.3 million and helping create safe places for vulnerable children around the world. The Body Shop and Children on the Edge have worked together since Dame Anita Roddick founded the charity in 1990. In her mission to prove that business could be a force for good, Dame Anita Roddick created a whole new way of thinking about trade and the beauty industry. Find out more.
Over 18 months since the start of the Rohingya refugee crisis, despite the wealth of agencies investing in education for children in Kutupalong, only about 45% of refugee children currently have access to education in the camps.
Navigating the multiple layers of bureaucracy and negotiating building space in the densely populated camp has made provision a huge challenge, and as the crisis has become protracted, the promised formal curriculum for refugee children was postponed by the government for over a year.
Despite these obstacles, Children on the Edge have successfully established 75 Learning Centres which have all been running five days a week since June 2018, providing education for 7,500 children.
150 Bangladesh and Rohingya teachers are fully trained and running classes each day. They have been trained on communication, child rights, health, hygiene, first aid, identifying trauma, classroom management and how to make learning engaging.
The unique traits of these Centres are as follows:
We are confident that our prior experience in the camp and unique perspective on education with Rohingya children will allow us to set the benchmark for quality education in the refugee camp areas in the coming year.
The Good Guys: SpinningTop comedy shows raise a fantastic £6,411 for our work with Rohingya refugees
SpinningTop is a charity based in Wellington, New Zealand, which originally grew out of Children on the Edge UK. While they are no longer called ‘Children on the Edge NZ’, they still adhere to the same vision to ‘help forgotten children living on the edge of their societies across the globe’. In their case, they aim to “give balance to vulnerable children”.
Over the past year, the charity has raised £6,411 for our work with the Rohingya, and are currently looking at how they might be able to partner with us in the future to make even more impact. Until this year they have worked predominantly either side of the Thai/Burma border with a couple of small projects in Shan State and another in Samoa.
After the escalation of the Rohingya refugee crisis in August 2017, they decided they wanted to do something for Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh. So they approached Children on the Edge about a one-off donation to help with our education work in the camps.
They raised these funds primarily through their well established comedy show, called ‘The Good Guys’. This has been running annually for the past eleven years as part of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival and features an all-star line-up of comedians who donate a set, with all proceeds going to SpinningTop.
“This is my favourite gig of the year,” says comedian Michele A’Court. “A bunch of comedy mates getting together to turn jokes into something actually useful.”
SpinningTop Manager Annie Fischer says she is humbled year after year that such a star-studded line-up agree to be part of their show. “Instead of taking a much-needed break between their own festival shows, these incredibly generous comedians donate their time and talent for this special event.”
SpinningTop are the charity of choice for The Body Shop New Zealand - who cover their wages and provide them with an office. Because of this, 100% of the money they fundraise goes directly to the projects they support.
Rachel Bentley, International Director at Children on the Edge says “We’re very pleased to reconnect with SpinningTop since the days of working together on the Thai-Burma border. Both organisations were sparked into being by the same vision from Anita Roddick, to focus on those children who are the most vulnerable, and we’re looking forward to seeing what can be achieved in the future”.
Find out more the history of SpinningTop and Children on the Edge
Read about our work with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
In the last few days Storm Norma has hit Lebanon with heavy rains, snowfall and freezing temperatures, leaving an estimated 70,000 refugees in need of emergency assistance.
Lebanon hosts over 1.5 million Syrian refugees, many of whom live in informal settlements with little to no infrastructure, as official refugee camps are not permitted. This makes these kinds of crises difficult to address, and UNHCR’s Interagency Coordination group report that 361 informal settlements and 11,301 refugees have been impacted by the storm so far. Unfortunately, the body of an 8 year old girl reported missing on Wednesday 10th January was recovered the day after. She had drowned after slipping into a rainwater channel.
For over four years, Children on the Edge have been supporting a small Lebanese organisation called Triumphant Mercy, to provide education for 500 Syrian refugee children, living in informal settlements the Bekaa Valley. They are also instrumental in providing additional support, care and supplies for the children and families living in these camps.
When the areas they work in were hit by the storms this week, this dedicated local group responded immediately, and Children on the Edge are urgently appealing for donations to assist them in rebuilding shelters.
Project leader Nuna Matar says, "All the refugees who are living under tents, or who are living in unfinished buildings were really severely hit by this storm...some of the tents are like shacks, so the winter snow is heavy on the roof, and some of them had their roofs collapse on them, so they had to find refuge in neighbouring tents and they had to rebuild, again”.
Many families have had mattresses, bedding, clothing and food destroyed and some tents are completely underwater. Children on the Edge are currently raising funds to pay for wood and plastic to help with rebuilding.
Nuna and her team are visiting the camps to provide help, but they struggle to get across the mountains from Beirut because of the heavy snow. Another storm is expected next week and they urgently need support to help affected families. 315 sites in the Bekaa area alone are at risk of further flooding and/or the accumulation of snow.
Nuna says, “There’s just not enough food, clothing, and shelter. Getting donor support for Lebanon has been challenging because the Syrian refugee crisis has fallen off the front page.”
You can support the appeal by visiting http://bit.ly/lebanonstorm
* Update 16/01/19*
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, yesterday we were able to send $1,000 to our partners in Lebanon. Today they have already began distributing warm jumpers and blankets in the storm-hit refugee camp (see photos below).
Project leader Nuna Matar said "I went yesterday to the camps to check how people are coping with Norma storm that hit Lebanon few days ago. And what I have seen is flooded tents, wet belongings and in some cases ruined tents. Another storm is also hitting today so I wanted to do the trip before roads are blocked with ice and snow.
We tried to help as much as possible distributing warm clothes for the children and opening up one of our schools as a shelter. I know we can do more. I received yesterday several calls from neighbouring camps begging us to come and help. We are so grateful that we are able to respond in some small way."
Thank you to everyone who has shared our social media posts and donated.