They say that Christmas is for kids, but since I’m a childless adult (sorry mum) I don’t know one way or the other, but what I do know is that every child the world over deserves to grow up with optimism and opportunity.
Now while I may not have kids, I think that making sure every child has the tools and resources they need to grow up healthy and happy is not only something I hope for but is indeed a necessity. So for the past years, I’ve made a donation to and put my support behind, Children Believe.
Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, they have brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, they have been driven by a shared belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.
Children and communities that need attention
Globally, they are helping improve the lives of 900,000+ children, youth, women and men.
Children Believe work in 160 communities across 12 countries (India, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nicaragua etc.). They work with local staff, partners and community groups in each country. They also work closely with 27 local partner agencies and more than 390 local community groups to plan and deliver their programs.
Communities that have been helped
While COVID-19 has impacted the entire world, the most impoverished communities and countries are most vulnerable because the resources to fight the virus are less readily available, and families are already struggling in their daily lives to access basic resources. Despite these challenges, Children Believe is responding to the crisis, by working with local partners to help keep children and families safe.
With COVID-19 threatening the health, safety and education of children and their families, so far they have reached out to:
- 241,900+ children (51.3 per cent girls)
- 341,790 adults (53 per cent women)
As a result, nearly 600,000 children and families have benefited from various forms of COVID-19 program response interventions (including food rations, lifesaving PPE, education supplies and more).
Children Believe reallocated a significant amount of funds and changed its approach, responding quickly to the COVID-19 crisis to keep children and families healthy and safe throughout lockdown. I’m delighted to share that they have helped over 583,000 children and their families since April 2020, providing lifesaving education and supplies, personal-protective equipment, food rations and cash vouchers, and psychological and social support.
Children Believe’s COVID-19 response efforts
Children Believe’s COVID-19 response efforts are focused on four key priorities:
Stopping the spread:
- Children Believe is continuing to educate families on the importance of COVID-19 preventative measures such as frequent handwashing, social distancing and other precautionary measures through radio, pamphlets, and other channels. Personal protection equipment (PPE) kits, including masks, gloves, body covers, and sanitary kits with soap and hand sanitiser are being distributed, and 350 health care workers are being trained on protocols and testing for COVID-19.
Nourishing vulnerable children:
- Children Believe mobilised their partners to deliver dry food rations to families at risk of malnutrition due to lockdowns, lost incomes, and inability to work. More than 72,000 family members have received food packages.
Keeping children safe from violence:
- During lockdowns, mental health can suffer. This increases the risk for women and children in particular to be victims of abuse. Childen Believe has engaged community leaders, caregivers, and children to act together to identify issues and to contact proper authorities when needed. There are 61,392 children helped so far and 78,404 adults.
Keeping children learning:
- Despite school closures, they are keeping children learning. More than 15,670 children have been provided with learning aids, such as workbooks, to help them learn when COVID-19 lockdowns keep them out of class.
Issues Children Believe are continuously tackling
- 258 million children and youth are out of school
- 9 million girls (and 3 million boys) of primary school age will never enter a classroom
- 168+ million children are engaged in child labour
- 15 million girls are married before the age of 18 every year
How can Canadians Support?
The best way to help? Sponsor a child. Through Children Believe’s Gifts for Good catalogue, Canadians can choose from more than 40 gifts that can help change children’s lives for the better.
Gift options include COVID-19 emergency food pack, school supplies, female hygiene kits, and even sending a girl to school for a full year.
I know this has been a challenging year for everyone, and that money may be tight for many, but, if you are one of the lucky ones like I consider myself to be, please help if you can. As I hold back the tears while going through the staggering data and write this feature, I can’t help but think; I wish I had a 50 billion dollars, I’d give away every cent if it allowed every child that I was blessed enough to receive.
I can believe, right? We all should be able to, and that’s what Children Believe is all about!
Visit childrenbelieve.ca to access their online gift catalogue, make a donation or sponsor a child today.