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.