Children on the Edge works in coalition with local communities in some of the toughest places in the world, transforming the lives of marginalised children by creating protective environments where they can safely live, play, learn and grow.
It will come as no surprise that our focus in 2020-2021 has been responding to the coronavirus pandemic and it’s devastating effects in every area where we work.
1. CREATING PROTECTIVE ENVIRONMENTS
In Myanmar, all 15 Early Childhood Development Centres have had new play materials and 104 Committee members have received training and advice to help them continue improving the centres with renovations and new supplies.
Parenting workshops have been facilitated every other month for 29 parents, changing attitudes for the better. 32 teachers have been on a five day refresher training course to ensure their knowledge and practice is up to date.
UGANDA - KYAKA II
In Kyaka II refugee settlement in Uganda, Covid-safe teacher training was given to 90 teachers and 90 more teachers were recruited to help support a new cluster learning programme.
Building of new Early Childhood Development Centres commenced on six sites using sustainable methods and refugee apprentices.
Child Protection training was given for 70 key participants of the programme and 294 people involved with managing the Early Childhood Development centres were trained on child rights, gender responsiveness and child abuse.
UGANDA - JINJA
In Uganda, Child Protection Teams across five slum communities in Jinja received extra training and community workshops were held for over 800 people to help combat and address the rise in domestic violence and throughout lockdown. Attendance at regular community workshops more than doubled in Loco, Masese I and Wandago and Child Protection Team training attendance across all areas increased from 79% to 98%.
The campaign to protect children from child sacrifice at the national level through the passing of The Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice Bill 2020 continued, making significant progress.
In India, our mobile mentoring programme arranged focused discussions between children and parents to help them cope with lockdown and to identify instances of child abuse both at home and in the community.
We learned a lot about the huge amount of stress and anxiety being faced by the children in our project areas throughout this time and designed a number of extra programmes and events to engage children in fun activities to help them overcome their fears and manage their feelings.
As a result of widespread research, training, campaigning and tracking of trafficking cases through a new helpline, there was a direct increase in community vigilance. 80 Women’s Groups trained on saving and small business loans in order to provide for their children, and learned about parenting and preventing domestic abuse and child marriage.
In Bangladesh a new learning centre for 200 children was constructed in Cox's Bazar. The classrooms have removable partitions to allow for larger parents meetings to take place. Teachers continued to receive their monthly refresher training where they focus on skills, attitudes and behaviours as well as how to develop strong teacher-student relationships.
In Lebanon, a 'Shine for Girls' programme was established for girls aged 12-14 to help develop their self esteem and confidence.
Vocational classes covering IT, crafts, sewing, sport, dance and carpentry were offered to children in addition to their normal lessons.
Parents described how their home environments have become calmer and more positive as a result of the school improving self esteem and happiness of their children.
2. EMERGENCY RELIEF
In India, thanks to support from our donors, we provided 7,420 food parcels including rice, lentils, oil and soap, to struggling households during lockdown, and conducted extensive campaigns on hand washing and how to prevent the virus spreading in the areas where we work.
350 people in the communities most adversely affected by COVID restrictions were provided with blankets, clothes, household resources, educational support and medical help.
Women’s Groups directly increased the resilience of nearly 1,000 families throughout lockdown, inspiring 490 new membership applications from friends and neighbours.
In Bangladesh, we provided emergency food parcels to 3,000 households in Cox's Bazar who were struggling during lockdown.
Permission to break lockdown restrictions for food distribution was negotiated with the Bangladeshi government over a tense couple of weeks. Each parcel contained rice, pulses, oil, salt, sugar, semolina and soap, enough to last a family about a month.
Our partners worked with the Emergency Response Team to build awareness of the virus and how to stay safe, installing hand washing stations in the camps where we work.
Every year in Myanmar, we provide warm clothes and shoes for the young children who attend our Early Childhood Development Centres to help them manage in the poor seasonal weather when it gets very cold and very wet and muddy. Raincoats and wellington boots were provided to 440 children and 412 children were also provided with warm clothes including jackets, trousers, hats, boots and socks.
In Lebanon, our partners delivered food for over 1,000 Lebanese and Syrian refugee families struggling through lockdown.
In the midst of the pandemic we also contributed to the work of our partners in the aftermath of the Beirut blast, providing emergency supplies to 750 affected families and repairs to 520 damaged homes.
3. EDUCATION THROUGH LOCKDOWN
In India, 31 teachers in 31 Learning Centres (four new this year) provided education for 971 children through lockdown, making the most of limited digital technology, small batch classes in homes and outside, along with home visits.
In Bangladesh, learning continued for 8,900 students who were taught at home or through small community batch lessons.
Two new staff members created digital lessons and videos to build awareness of coronavirus and how to stay safe. 81% of children interviewed said they continued to teach friends and family what they learned in school.
UGANDA - JINJA
In Uganda, whilst our two Early Childhood Development Centres in Jinja shut their doors, teachers made home visits and offered doorstep lessons. Home learning packs were delivered to 180 children and parents were given training to support home learning.
91% of parents reported children worked well in home lessons and they were pleased with their progress, including positive changes like improved handwriting, reading, counting, matching and drawing.
UGANDA - KYAKA II
In Uganda, in Kyaka II refugee settlement home learning packs were delivered to 4,500 children in response to the closure of our Early Childhood Development Centres through lockdown. Teachers made home visits to check in on children and support parents with home learning. Radio lessons were aired five times a week and we distributed 200 solar powered radios for households who needed them.
In Lebanon, through repeated lockdowns, a combination of learning in shifts at the school building, online and mobile phone lessons and home learning in refugee camps ensured 211 children continued to get an education. Homework packs were delivered to childrens’ homes by school bus drivers and teachers visited the children regularly to check on them. Vocational classes in IT, sewing, carpentry and sports were provided for the children, with hundreds taking part.
140 students were able to take Arabic, Maths and English exams in August. 85% passed, which is exceptional considering all the challenges they have faced.
4. CHILDREN LEADING THE WAY
In India, 10 Child Parliaments grew in confidence and took the lead in identifying vulnerable households in need of support during lockdown. They continued to teach hundreds of children about their rights and were supported to advocate for change with their peers and communities; tackling the issue of rising domestic abuse and training communities on hygiene and hand washing to reduce the spread of the virus.
12 year old Soni conducted her own safety awareness campaign, making masks for many people in her village.
In Bangladesh, the children worked with digital staff to create videos to help the community understand and prevent the spread of the virus. Child Councils were taught about the dangers of the virus; the children then disseminated information to their classes and throughout their communities.
In Uganda, Child Rights Clubs in Loco, Wandago and Masese I give children the opportunity to express themselves and begin to play an active role in their communities.
They have tripled in membership this year and been growing in confidence, and despite lockdown restrictions, have been very active, being the ears and eyes of their peers and working hand in hand with the Child Protection Teams to identify children at risk and intervene where necessary.
In Lebanon, 13 Grade 9 students passed their high school exams, bravely crossing the border into Syria to take them and inspiring those in the lower years that taking the exams can be a reality. The older members took responsibility on the trip and led the group in the adventure. All 13 passed and three made it onto a prestigious honours list.
For every £1 donated to Children on the Edge, 89p is spent on our projects supporting marginalised children, and 11p is spent on fundraising the next £1.
Our donors responded with huge generosity to the increased need created by the COVID pandemic. We grew our income by just over 5% on the previous year to £2,353,525 which enabled us to maintain programmes and respond directly to the needs of the crisis.
We do not engage the services of ‘professional fundraising’ businesses; all our fundraising activity is delivered by our own fundraising team. We do work with commercial participators; when doing so conducting due diligence and reviewing agreements annually.
Overall programme spending has increased by over just over 30% to £1,895,951. During the COVID pandemic we maintained 100% spending on overseas staff salaries.
Some small savings were made on programme running costs but were negated by increased spending on our COVID response to either create new learning opportunities or to respond to the immediate needs of the crisis. Spending in Lebanon increased due to a grant from the People’s Postcode Lottery.
As the UK went into lockdown in March 2020, at the start of our financial year, we focused our time and resources into building strong relationships with our supporters; and increasing the ways we could connect with them online.
This approach enabled us to pivot so many face to face fundraising events into virtual events which helped us to raise an incredible £864,552 with our partnership with The Body Shop at Home. We are so grateful to our growing “Ambassador” programme within the partnership that helped to champion so much virtual fundraising in 2020.
Without physical events, our supporters were creative in raising funds virtually, and most significantly we were delighted to have so many children supporting the charity in 2020 with virtual runs and walks.
We are grateful to so many grant makers and individuals who generously responded to the COVID-19 crisis and donated to help us respond to the emergent and ever changing needs of the communities we support.
We were delighted to be awarded a second grant from the Postcode Global Trust; a significant investment of £250,000. We are so thankful to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery which funds the Postcode Global Trust. Funds will support safe spaces and quality education for Syrian children and boost our Early Years education programme with Congolese refugee children in Kyaka II.
We ran our second matched giving campaign with The Big Give in December 2020, investing in education for Dalit children in India. With thanks to matching funders; The Charles Jacob Charitable Trust, Pacific Star Charitable Trust and The Coles-Medlock Foundation, we were able to connect with new donors, inspire more than 150 donations and raise an incredible £44,432 during the campaign.
This is only possible because of the ongoing generosity of supporters, from one-off donors, to those who give every month, businesses of all sizes, trusts and institutional funders as well as those who give their time in the office or at events.
We deeply appreciate every single one of you. Thank you.
Child Protection Team
Early Childhood Development
Kyaka II Uganda
Romania & Moldova
The Body Shop At Home