Children on the Edge is a Chichester based charity that works to support some of the worlds' most marginalised children, living in some of the toughest situations.
The charity was co-founded in 1990 by Bishop Luffa graduate and Chichester resident, Rachel Bentley and the late Dame Anita Roddick.
After witnessing the appalling conditions in Romanian orphanages first hand, Dame Anita Roddick mobilised her company, The Body Shop International, based in Littlehampton, to help.
The Body Shop, sent supplies and a small group of volunteers, to help three orphanages in the remote village of Halaucesti. Rachel Bentley, a 23-year-old law graduate from Chichester, was one of these volunteers, and together, they sparked the response that created Children on the Edge, which exists to this day to support some of the most marginalised children around the world.
As we approach what would have been the late Dame Anita Roddick's 80th birthday, we take a look back at our history and what sparked Anita and her company, The Body Shop to co-found Children on the Edge in 1990. Rachel Bentley, our CEO talks about Anita in those early days, describing how The Body Shop and Children on the Edge are still working to create brighter futures for children around the world to this day.
Children on the Edge are delighted to give a little wonder with The Body Shop this festive season, funding over 195,000 days of education for refugee children.
Children on the Edge is delighted to be partnering with The Body Shop this festive season. Every time you buy a gift from The Body Shop, (in-store, online or from your local Body Shop at Home consultants) you’ll be creating brighter futures for refugee children around the globe. This Christmas The Body Shop will be donating to Children on the Edge from the sale of every pre-filled gift, hoping to raise up to £100,000. This support will help to fund over 195,000 days of education for refugee children across Uganda, Bangladesh and Lebanon.
Back To Our Roots in Romania
As Children on the Edge work with partners to respond to the needs of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Romania, we have found ourselves going back to our roots; now working with Ukrainian refugee children without parental care, living in state run institutions.
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been fleeing the Russian invasion in their country and crossing the borders into Romania and Moldova where our local partner organisations are providing food, clothing, shelter and support. With more refugees expected, they need urgent funds to help support more families.
Please donate to our appeal and support Ukrainian refugee families.
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?
We're taking a look back to our history, and will be sharing memories from our early work in the 1990's and early 2000's as part of a #ThrowbackThursday series.
Rachel Bentley, our International Director describes a memory from 1999 that makes her smile:
Children on the Edge were part of the effort to help refugees from Kosovo residing in Albania during the Kosovan conflict. The people we were helping were spread out across difficult terrain, scattered across different temporary camps. It was summer and the temperature was in the high 30’s often reaching 40 degrees.
The issue all of the organisations were facing in the camps was sanitation. To prevent the spread of disease in such a setting, a solution needed to be found so that the refugees could wash themselves. They were living in remote locations with no water or facilities. Also, it was important to not spend a lot of money on building expensive infrastructure within these camps as it was likely in a few months the refugees would return home to Kosovo.
We came up with the idea of mobile shower and sanitation units. The company, Elliott helped us make these to specification, they were towed by land rovers and visited each camp every two days.
Money was not wasted on expensive infrastructure and these mobile units followed the people back to Kosovo where they were used in the village of Cabra that was completely destroyed during the war. They provided washing facilities for the community as they literally rebuilt their lives from scratch.
Our mobile shower units, providing hot showers (with on tap Body Shop shower gel!) became famous within the refugee population and many a tale was told of them long after the crisis.
It’s one of my favourite memories (and in 26 years I have a lot!) because it’s a great example of an innovative, bespoke solution to a specific problem, thinking outside of the box. As a smaller, more agile charity we were able to move fast and still rely on that skill in all of our projects today.