A charity football tournament organised as part of Atkins graduate corporate responsibility initiative raised over £670 for our projects supporting refugee children from Burma in Bangladesh, Thailand and on the borders of Burma itself.
The Charity Super Cup football tournament took place at the Jebel Ali Shooting Club, Centre of Excellence in Dubai. With a great atmosphere and more than 80 players playing 21 matches, a good time was had by all and all the players took a real interest in the cause.
Seven of the participating teams were from Atkins, with others coming from Buro Happold, IBM and Petrofac. The Super Cup and gold medal winner was the ‘Chamakh My Pitch Up’ team, with the silver medal being picked up by ‘Atkins Regulars’ and the bronze medal going to ‘Waylanders’ from IBM.
“We tried to get as many teams as we could to participate in order to raise as much money as possible for the cause,” says organiser Elie Choufani. “With the risk of an entire generation of children in refugee camps growing up unable to read or write, providing education becomes as essential as providing nutrition. As an engineer, I felt that our efforts to provide sustainable design through our work could also extend to providing social sustainability through charity work, by helping the less fortunate to learn and develop.”
On receiving the funds, John Littleton, our Asia Regional Manager said: “This money raised can cover the cost of a full class of 25 pupils for a year's education in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. Every dirham counts.”
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Atkins and especially Elie for organising this brilliant event. We’d also like to thank all the volunteers and players involved.
Find out more about our work with refugee children from Burma and if you think your workplace would be interested in raising money for our projects, please do get in touch.
Fun run in the Tenerife sun
With the imposing back drop of the Caldera of Cabo Blanco in Tenerife and a perfect blue sky behind them, Wingate School students started their sponsored run for Children on the Edge. With marked laps of 250 metres, the fastest runners completed 30 or more laps in 45 minutes; but in total, the students ran an amazing 581 kilometres, with sponsorship pledges per lap run.
This is the second year that Wingate have supported our work, linking fundraising to their assemblies and classwork regarding Universal Children´s Day. Funds this year were raised to support our ‘Sport in the Slums’ work in Haiti, while last year they raised over €800 for children on our project in Burma. This years efforts raised just over €1000 which is enough to pay for an entire football team living in the slums of Port au Prince to attend the programme for a year, including coaching, matches, mentoring, weekly food parcels and day trips out of the city.
Headteacher Graham Hurrell commented “We are very proud of the way that our students are fundraising for several charities at the moment. It is an important lesson to understand that many in society are less privileged than ourselves, and that there are practical and fun ways to help make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate”.
As well as supporting Children on the Edge, Wingate School raise money for a number of organisations and community Service is an important part of the curriculum. Students are encouraged to be part of both the planning and participation stages. Pictured above are Danny MacKenzie, Zöe Watkins , Ryan Walters and Anthony Glock who all ran over 30 laps in the allotted time. Special mention must also go to 6th former Linda Mekele who raised €177 for her completed laps and Physics teacher Miss Kerbey who ran with a smile and completed 11 laps, raising over €50.
We’d like to say a huge thank to all the runners, fund-raisers and staff supporters. May your fantastic community spirit be ongoing!
Read more about our work in Haiti, and If your school or organisation is interested in raising valuable funds for our work then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Preparing children for the path ahead: The future of Karen Refugees in Thailand
For the Karen refugee community in Thailand, the future is uncertain. With the Thai government threatening to send back one million migrants next year to an area that is not yet fully secure, concern amongst the Karen people is growing.
Within Karen State there has been a formal ceasefire with the Burmese government for a month, but human rights violations continue outside the conflict area. Landmines still need to be removed and a safe and secure place established for the return of refugees and internally displaced people. Return at this point is too dangerous.
The Children’s Crisis Centre we support in Thailand exists for unaccompanied refugee children fleeing Burma, it provides temporary shelter, education, nutrition and trauma counseling until a time when children can be reunited with their families. If conditions in Burma do radically improve, then some of the children at our Crisis Centre must be fully resourced and well prepared for the possibility of returning to their homeland, whilst those who cannot, need support in building a future within Thailand.
At the Centre we have started a Thai language training program for 8 teenage residents to prepare them for the possibility of entering Thai secondary schools or universities. In addition to their usual studies, these students are also participating in a General Education Degree (GED) programme not only to qualify for University but to get a grounding in other subjects including Non profit management, Accounting, and Community Development. Many are volunteering or working part time locally to build experience.
Seven younger children at the Centre have been orphaned and have no family in Burma to return to. To enable them to build a secure future in Thailand, these children are also receiving Thai language classes with the hope of enrolling them in local schools next year.
Staff at the Centre are talking with local agencies and the Ministry of Education to prepare for the possibility that some students, who have remaining family in Burma may later be able to return to Burmese schools across the border. We are ensuring they have a corresponding grade level for attending Burmese school.
Whether they have the option of returning to Burma in the future or not, most of the children here have experienced some serious level of trauma before, during or after their escape from the conflicts across the border. This term we will be focussing more on spending time with the children, especially those who have shown signs of stress or trauma. Activities will include play therapy, discussion groups, talks on nutrition, and one-on-one mentorship time.
One of the children described the play sessions “Other children might think that we are bored so we are playing games. But actually we are doing these activities to develop our life in a good way. Because these activities included unity, brother-sister hood, and trust.”
Find out more about our ongoing work with Karen refugee children in Thailand, and please consider donating to the project.