Why GiveTake Action on Behalf of Vulnerable Children
Photo by Jake Lyell for ChildFund International.
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Almost 600 million children live in extreme poverty worldwide and are vulnerable to many factors that threaten their well-being. In order for children to achieve their given potential, they need protection, support and care at each stage of childhood to ensure basic needs such as safety, health and education are met.
With your support, ChildFund International works with partner organizations, governments, businesses and individuals to provide environments where underserved children can thrive in communities around the globe (the Americas, Africa and Asia).
Free to Learn in the Philippines
For Jessa, making it to school everyday and helping her family farm for their livelihood was impossible. One of eight children, she would wake up early each morning and trek up the mountainside to work on her family’s small plot of land, which often required that she miss school.
Because of supporters like you, Jessa’s family received assistance through ChildFund International’s LEAP project, which sought to remove children from laboring and promoted the value of education.
Having missed a significant amount of her studies, Jessa was also able to take part in catch-up classes that ChildFund organized. With this assistance, Jessa’s family no longer needs her and her siblings to help farm and they have been able to attend school regularly.
“I’m happy and fortunate to have encountered an organization that reminded me of my freedoms, rights and responsibilities as a young person,” she says. “I’m not embarrassed to step forward anymore. On the contrary, I’m proud I’m an achiever now.”
“Though my parents wanted me to become a policewoman,” she adds, “I want to become a teacher when I grow up — I want to help children who can’t go to school because of poverty.”
Tigist, LP staff /Kumbi Tegeno
In Ethiopia, ending period shame one pad at a time
“My school is some distance away — an hour’s walk or more is not uncommon — and getting there from my village often requires crossing difficult terrain,” says Tigist, who participated in a recent ChildFund project to reduce the stigma around menstruation in Ethiopia. “So a girl like me with only a bit of cloth to protect herself is likely to arrive at school in an embarrassing mess. As a result, I simply choose to stay home during my period.”
Tigist’s story is not uncommon. In rural Ethiopia, for instance, a number of cultural traditions restrict what girls can do, where they can go and whom they can touch while they have their period. Parents often discourage girls from leaving the house during menstruation, even to go to school. Even schools often lack adequate water and sanitation facilities for girls to change their clothes, and even when toilets are available, many girls dread the humiliation they might face if someone finds out they have their period.
To address the lack of sanitary pads, ChildFund provided workshops for girls’ clubs at 10 schools in Tigist’s area on how to make comfortable, reusable pads that are eco-friendly, highly absorbent and easy to wash. Now, the girls’ clubs make the pads themselves on a regular basis and distribute them to the rest of the girls at their schools. Making pads together — and talking openly about their periods — helps normalize menstruation in the school setting, dispelling the stigma girls feel. And the less stigma they feel, the more they will want to go to school. The more they go to school, the less likely they are to experience domestic violence, teen pregnancy and early marriage, and the more likely they are to improve their earning potential — and send their own children to school.
“Children themselves have shown us how the violence they face threatens to destroy their growth, achievement and potential. ChildFund’s goal today is to ensure that children can grow up not only healthy, educated and self-sufficient, but also — especially — safe. Children must grow up free from violence if they are to achieve and sustain their potential.”