More than four million Syrians have now fled war and persecution and become refugees in neighbouring countries, making the Syrian conflict the worst crisis for almost a quarter of a century.
Children on the Edge have been supporting work with Syrian refugee children in Lebanon for over a year now. The work here provides these children with an education within the refugee camps, medical support and much needed winter clothing and fuel for heating. As Christmas approaches we are launching an urgent appeal for the project called ‘All Wrapped Up’.
Skilfully designed by local illustrator Hannah George, we have some beautiful Christmas wrapping paper and matching tags for sale, with all profits going to the project. In this way, the paper has your gifts wrapped up for Christmas and is enabling a refugee child to be warm and ‘wrapped up’ this winter.
This is an excellent resource to fundraise in the run up to Christmas. Naturally we’d like to sell as much as possible and we need your help!
We’re excited about the difference we can make through this appeal, and hope you will join us!
Their villages burned and their families attacked, the Kachin people have been physically pushed to the edge of their country and given no help. Our work here is crucial.
When our staff witnessed first-hand the indiscriminate shelling and burning of civilian villages in Kachin state in 2012, Children on the Edge set out to provide aid to the children who were most affected by the conflict. After an initial survey and a delivery of aid to the hardest to reach areas, we have gone on to establish safe, nurturing environments in seven different camps for 580 internally displaced Kachin children aged 3-6.
This is done through 12 Early Childhood Development Centres in some of northern Myanmar'’s most dangerous and remote Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps. These centres are places with a trusted adult presence where children can receive the building blocks of basic education, access nutritional support, and simply enjoy being a child for several hours each day. In this way the centres play a vital role in helping these displaced children process their harsh surroundings and past experiences.
Constructed primarily from bamboo, ply wood, and tin, the structures are basic, but teachers and students have transformed each centre into a colourful space where the children can learn and express themselves. Supplied with art materials, musical toys, building blocks, sand pits, tire swings and a large collection of story books, the centres are vibrant hubs of activity in the heart of each IDP camp. Each centre blends an organized curriculum, that includes maths, language basics, hygiene, and environmental sciences, with free and organised play activities. Focus group feedback from teachers and parents has already reported an increase in confidence and positivity among the children over the past year.
Community groups which meet monthly in each centre engage with parents to educate them about the principles of early childhood education and discuss issues which children are facing in the broader community. Parents also pitch in to help construct and maintain each building as well as assist with food preparation and logistics for the centres.
This year Children on the Edge will continue to ensure the delivery of winter provisions so the children can survive the harsh, high-altitude weather conditions. A set of warm clothes, which includes a wool hat, jacket, warm trousers and pair of socks, is provided to each child in the IDP camps. As most homes are constructed from thin ply wood, and temperatures regularly plunge below zero, hypothermia is one of the greatest threats faced by young children in these camps.
Children on the Edge are the only international organisation operating in these remote, northern camps.
When our Asia Regional Manager visited last month it took him over 2 days to reach the outlying camps, and he was the first non-Kachin visitor to the area in 3 years. He describes the situation, “We cannot stress enough how little help these people are receiving. They are physically pushed to the edge of their country, teetering on the border in case of attack from forces that have no hesitation in razing villages and harming civilians”.
Living in such locations presents numerous challenges to daily survival. The high altitude makes the digging of wells nearly impossible, so camp residents must rely on surface water to survive. Finding clean surface water often means a trek of several miles and firewood must be sourced outside the camp from considerable distances.
Most families rely on daily labour and subsistence farming in order to make ends meet. In this environment, the support of early childhood care has become vital to these families. By providing care for the community’s youngest children, this programme is also allowing parents to provide food, water, and firewood for their families.
You can support this project by both donating to the work here and by raising the profile of the need here by sharing this story.
This Sunday saw the fourth staging of the Chichester Half Marathon, organised by Children on the Edge and Chichester District Council. Sponsored by Montezumas and Store Property and started by Sally Taylor of BBC’s South Today, this year’s race had the largest number of entrants yet. Runners took to the popular Chichester route in golden autumn sunshine and the atmosphere in the Chichester College race village at was buzzing.
From a fundraising perspective the event was a tremendous success. With many runners getting sponsored for their efforts, a record amount of 946 registrations, 98 volunteers helping (many from 6.00 am), 975 litres of water donated by Southdowns Water and many other generous donations from different companies, the total raised for Children on the Edge came in at £23,940.
To give an idea of what this figure can achieve, this can cover the full running costs of one of our schools for Syrian refugees in Lebanon for a whole year. Each school serves 100 children and employs Syrian teachers from within the camps so is a real benefit to the whole community.
Our executive director, Rachel Bentley said, “The arrival of thousands of Syrian refugees in Europe has prompted a huge public response. Many local people have been organising events and collections for refugees arriving in Europe, but for over a year now Children on the Edge has been supporting work with Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. We really appreciate the contribution that all runners, volunteers and sponsors of the Chichester Half have made towards the vital work both here and in our other projects around the world”.
Next year’s date is set for Sunday 9th October 2016.
So a lot of runners signed up for the Chichester Half 2015 might be feeling nervous this week. It's a challenging race, but if that's you, spare a thought for James, who'll be running in heavy boots, wearing army trousers and carrying a back pack weighing 35lb. The Chichester Half is one of a series of events that James is taking on this year to raise money for Children on the Edge.
Here's his feedback from his last challenge in Catterick;
Firstly I apologise for maintaining radio silence over the summer, unfortunately I was a bit poorly for 6 weeks so couldn’t train – however as “luck” would have it the Paras 10 event in Colchester was rescheduled till November. However, I unfortunately had to miss the Fan Dance this year but I will replace it with another event – although I do still have the Chi half and the Paras event to tab, plus a marathon to run in December!! As such I have started to get back into training again properly, although not yet back up to half marathon distance so Chi could well be mental as opposed to physical. Therefore, given all these disclaimers, this weekend’s report from the northern town of Richmond will not be full of derring-do feats testing the limit of human endurance, Instead it will be mild whinging about the traffic on the M1 and not being very fit. More Victor Meldew than Ranulph Fienns!
So for the second year in a row I dragged my wife and kids 300 miles north to Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire, where I prepared for the event with a health conscious steak and chips and a pint of Guinness - this being the night preceding the actual event as opposed to breakfast on the day! At breakfast itself I self-consciously trundled in wearing my second hand army surplus gear to find that the entire hotel was dressed the same, it would seem that almost everyone staying there was taking part in the event in one form or another.
I got to the barracks and got my bergen officially weighed by a gentleman from the Para Reg…39lbs inclusive of water….he sent me off to the registration tent with a knowing smile.
Knowing that I wasn’t fit enough to make it in the Paras selection time, combined with memories of last year’s vomit-inducing start, I chose not to skip off like a gazelle and used the recommended technique of jogging downhill and striding up, this plan paid off as I at least didn’t burn myself out in first few miles. All in all it took me 2hrs 20 mins, which in timing is pretty dreadful BUT I made it round and can tick it off the list now! It does however make it seem that Chi might take nearly 3 hours to tab....Although Hastings took 2 hours 30 so fingers crossed for the day now! That’s and a few more miles looking like an ageing squaddie around the street of Surrey."
You can sponsor James by going to his Just Giving page. If you're at the Chichester Half this Sunday, cheer him on!