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AN ESTIMATED 3,000 CHILDREN TRAPPED AND RUNNING OUT OF FOOD AND MEDICINE AS NEW AREA COMES UNDER SIEGE IN SYRIA
5/13/2016

Friday, May 13, 2016…Toronto…A complete siege has been imposed on the Khan Eshieh area in Syria in recent days, blocking essential supplies from entering and risking the lives of an estimated 3,000 children trapped inside, according to a local aid group there.

The last remaining road in and out of Khan Eshieh, a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus, was shut this week by heavy shelling and snipers, according to the Jafra Foundation, which provides education, psychosocial support and other aid in the camp. On one recent evening, three youths were reportedly shot dead while trying to escape. Shelling and bombing has intensified, with dozens of barrel bombs falling on the area.

Sonia Khush, head of Save the Children’s Syria programme, said: “Despite the supposed ceasefire across the country, people are living in terror of siege and bombardment. People in Khan Eshieh tell us that most medicine, fuel and flour has almost run out, and food prices have doubled in the past few days. They expect it to get even worse in the coming days. The roads and access to the camp must urgently be reopened and vital humanitarian aid immediately allowed in.”

There are an estimated 12,000 people – about a quarter of them children – in Khan Eshieh. The camp has been partially besieged for nearly three years, with all the main roads between the camp and Damascus closed since 2013 and military checkpoints around the camp to prevent people from entering and leaving. Civilians were able to use one road – known locally as ‘the Death Road’ due to the high risk of travelling on it – to get food, medicine and supplies from the nearby town of Zakia. However, in recent weeks medicine has been prevented from entering Zakia and the road has now been shut off by heavy shelling and sniper fire.

Only one doctor and one dentist are believed to remain in the camp, and do not have enough medicine, equipment and electricity needed to treat patients. Residents report an urgent need for water purification tablets to reduce the growing risk of disease.

Despite the recent February agreement to increase humanitarian access to besieged areas of Syria, hundreds of thousands of families are still without aid. Only 17% of the more than 4.5 million people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas have so far received assistance, and UN aid convoys continue to be denied permission. At least six besieged areas have still not received any aid at all.

The situation in Yarmouk, another Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus, is continuously alarming, after weeks of fighting in the area. A new checkpoint in the camp is preventing families from accessing food and water, and much of the water supply is now contaminated. The main hospital, Palestine Hospital, reports that it has run out of fuel to operate with and medical supplies are still being prevented from entering the camp.

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Notes to editors:

Save the Children works with Syrian partners in besieged and other hard to reach areas in Syria to provide food parcels, support schools, repair water systems and provide psychological support for children affected by bombing and siege.

For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
Save the Children
647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca

 

 

SAVE THE CHILDREN ESTABLISHES SECOND CHILD FRIENDLY SPACE IN EDMONTON, FOR EVACUEES FROM FORT MCMURRAY & SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES
5/12/2016

May 11, 2016, Edmonton…Save the Children’s team in Edmonton, Alberta, deployed in response to the devastating Fort McMurray fire, is supporting more evacuated children and families every day. The Chateau Nova Hotel is the site of our first Child Friendly Space. Two First Nations communities who were evacuated from areas surrounding Fort McMurray are calling this hotel their temporary home, and Save the Children is staffing the Child Friendly Space with members of its National Indigenous Program team.

Save the Children’s second Child Friendly Space or CFS has just opened at the University of Alberta. Currently acting as a temporary home to over 1,000 people, this CFS is already welcoming significant numbers of children and Save the Children expects these numbers to grow as families learn about the space. With these two Child Friendly Spaces established, as well as essential material provision continuing for families with babies and young children, Save the Children’s wildfire response is on track to provide vital support to evacuated children and families. In the aftermath of disasters and trauma, Save the Children’s focus is on ensuring the protection and safety of boys and girls. Save the Children’s staff are trained to address and support the unique needs of children following emergencies. The Child Friendly Space is the calling card of Save the Children’s emergency response programming. The structured, supervised activities offer comfort to children whose daily routines have been disrupted. Routines assist with children developing their coping mechanisms, and strengthen their resiliency. They also give kids a sense of normalcy and community, when everything familiar has been disrupted and potentially lost. Safe, designated areas allow children to play, socialize, and express themselves under the supervision of caring, trained adults. They also provide kids with the opportunity to begin their recovery process by working through their emotions. 

Play is vital for children to recovery from trauma. Play helps them learn, explore, and experiment. Play is therapeutic and is a child’s work. Child Friendly Spaces provide spaces for boys and girls to interact, play, build self-esteem and begin their own recovery processes.

Save the Children prides itself on partnerships and collaboration and is pleased to be working with teachers from evacuated schools in the Fort McMurray Catholic School Board. Teachers are ideal assistants for a Child Friendly Space, as they are experts in communicating and working with children. After receiving Child Friendly Space and Child Safeguarding training from Save the Children, these volunteers are essential to helping children on their recovery journeys. An added bonus of this collaboration is the familiarity some boys and girls will have with these teachers, allowing the Child Friendly Space to prove even more welcoming.

An equally important aspect of Child Friendly Spaces is the relationship it allows for Save the Children staff to establish with parents and caregivers. Details on how to access education and health services are essential, and can be challenging to find during the immediate post-disaster period. Save the Children provides service referrals and helps parents determine which service providers to contact to ensure children are able to access health and education services. 

“The city of Edmonton and the many different charities on the ground have done a wonderful job of supporting the families from Fort McMurray and surrounding communities. We look forward to partnering with other organizations as much as we can, filling any gaps existing programming might have. Emergency responses are complex and time is needed to fill in all the details. We know that these first few days are just the beginning of our commitment to helping boys, girls, and and families in their recovery process,” said Patricia Erb, President & CEO of Save the Children

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For more information:

Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
Save the Children
647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca
 

SAVE THE CHILDREN RESPONDS TO THE FORT MCMURRAY WILDFIRE
5/9/2016

May 9, 2016, Edmonton…In response to the raging forest fires consuming Fort McMurray, Alberta, Save the Children has deployed an emergency response team. While globally recognized as a leader in responding to disasters and ensuring the safety and protection of children following emergencies around the world, Save the Children’s domestic emergency response program in Canada is relatively young.

Children are not little adults, during emergencies they are vulnerable and have unique psychosocial needs. These needs are often not taken into account when emergency plans are being executed. A one size fits all approach to emergencies can lead to dangerous situations for children - in mass shelters without sleeping areas designated for small children, the possibility of children wandering unsupervised and situations leading to abuse and exploitation are high. Save the Children’s focus is on ensuring the protection and safety of children, whenever and wherever possible.

Within hours after the mandatory evacuation in Fort McMurray began, Save the Children was on the ground in Edmonton. This disaster is still in its early days so the full extent of Save the Children’s response is not yet clear. To-date we’ve begun providing essential materials for the safety and wellbeing of children, caring for children, and establishing Child Friendly Spaces.

For the evacuated families from Fort McMurray and environs, many had to leave their homes with nothing. They’re arriving in Edmonton with only the clothes they were wearing and sometimes a few possessions. For children and expectant mothers, this makes them extremely vulnerable. Save the Children has been working to provide necessarily supplies for the safety and wellbeing of children, including pop up cribs, hygiene kits, baby baths, and newborn clothes.

Child Friendly Spaces are the calling cards of Save the Children. A Child Friendly Space or CFS is a critical component to providing support to children and families in temporary locations following a disaster. The program’s structured, supervised activities offer needed comfort to children who are used to daily routines, strengthen children’s resilience, and help them begin to cope. These Spaces also provide a forum for sharing valuable child safety and recovery information with families when they need it most.

Child Friendly Spaces give kids a sense of normalcy and community when their lives are disrupted by disasters. They provide a safe, designated area where they can play, socialize, and express themselves under the supervision of caring, trained adults. CFSs also help boys and girls interact with peers, build self-esteem, and begin the recovery process by working through their emotions and building upon their natural resilience.

As the extent of the evacuation from Fort McMurray becomes clear, Save the Children’s response will solidify. As with all disaster response, Save the Children is committed for the duration, and will work alongside the community not only during the disaster response phase, but also during recovery and rebuilding efforts. To make a donation to the Fort McMurray response, visit our Donate Now page.

“The forest fires around Fort McMurray are devastating. The horrific images of homes burning and families fleeing are very difficult to watch. It’s reassuring that Save the Children was able to be on the ground so quickly and begin its response mere hours after the evacuation began. Edmonton and other evacuation reception areas are doing a wonderful job of welcoming children and families to their new homes. Seeing Canadians from across the country pull together to show their support and help the affected communities be resilient has been a reminder that disasters, while terrible, can also bring out the best in humanity. I’m pleased that Save the Children is responding to this Canadian disaster and proud that we are committed to working alongside the communities, every step of the way,” says Patricia Erb, Save the Children President and CEO.

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For more information:

Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
Save the Children
647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca

SAVE THE CHILDREN COMPLETES PILOT OF EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM FOR FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITIES
5/5/2016

Toronto, May 5, 2016…Save the Children has successfully concluded its pilot project on emergency preparedness for children and families in First Nations communities. Working with the Siksika Nation in Alberta and Wabaseemoong Independent Nations in Ontario, Save the Children set out to help both communities ensure they were prepared to address the unique needs of children and families during emergencies.

Far too often, emergency response plans are ‘one size fits all’, focused on adults. Save the Children knows that children and their families have unique emergency needs, and any response plan must take those into account. Children are not just small adults; their experiences of emergencies are very different and their reliance on family and social structures to protect them from harm becomes abundantly clear in emergency situations.

With this in mind, Save the Children worked with both Siksika Nation and Wabaseemoong Independent Nations to strengthen their emergency preparedness. This pilot project involved a variety of activities, including multi-day training sessions. Save the Children took the context of each community into account to ensure a collaborative approach to emergency preparedness, working alongside members of the community to ensure they are equipped to be resilient in the face of any disaster.

Siksika Nation made national headlines in 2013 when it was affected by severe flooding. Save the Children was on the ground then, assisting Siksika Nation’s 250 evacuated households. Save the Children quickly established a Child Friendly Space, where boys and girls had access to a safe place to play as well as psycho-social support activities. Recovery is an ongoing process and the community continues to feel the impacts of the flood today. In the emergency preparedness pilot program, Save the Children helped Siksika Nation community leaders and frontline workers to incorporate lessons learned from the flood into their emergency preparedness plans for children and families.

Save the Children trained 372 young children and 163 youth in Siksika Nation’s four main schools. For younger children, the focus was on basic preparedness - what is an emergency; people, places and things that keep us safe; the basics of an emergency plan and the sort of items needed in an emergency backpack. Save the Children guided older children and youth in creating a ‘safety map,’ which includes the basics of an emergency plan, and discussed how to deal with the stress that is associated with emergencies and crises. 

Save the Children also trained 95 teachers from these schools and supported the schools’ leadership with a workshop on school-based emergency preparedness plans.

The impact of the training was recognized by the community, as a frontline worker in the community told Save the Children staff that her daughter returned from school after an emergency preparedness training session, pulled out her disaster family checklist and said, “Mom, we really need to talk about this. It’s important.”

In Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, Save the Children provided emergency preparedness training to 138 children and youth attending the Mizhakiiwetung Memorial School. Following the training sessions, the school leadership fuelled the school’s generator and held a fire drill; important steps in support of emergency preparedness. In addition, Save the Children conducted a collaborative workshop with the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation, which kicked off Wabaseemoong Independent Nations’s process of updating its emergency plan for the whole community. 

Save the Children’s emergency preparedness work in both Siksika Nation and Wabaseemoong Independent Nations was funded by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Lessons learned from this pilot phase will be applied to the continuation of our emergency preparedness programming with other First Nations communities. 

“Save the Children’s emergency preparedness project recognizes that the needs, strengths, and opportunities of each community are unique,” said Terry Swan, Director, National Indigenous Programs at Save the Children Canada. “Working collaboratively, we identify ways to strengthen communities and create resilience among all generations. We are grateful to the Government of Canada for its commitment to this program. With this ongoing support, we will continue to work with First Nation communities in need as we expand the program and reach even more children across Canada.”

“We all agree that having emergency management plans in place and ensuring residents are prepared for natural disasters is critical for any community,” said Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett. “Our government is pleased to have worked in partnership with Save the Children, the Siksika First Nation and Wabaseemoong Independent Nations on this initiative to promote community resiliency.”


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For additional information, please contact:

Katharine Harris,
National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
416 221 5501 x 295
647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca 

 

SAVE THE CHILDREN STATEMENT ON THE ATTACK ON AN ALEPPO HOSPITAL
4/28/2016

April 28, 2016…Save the Children strongly condemns the deadly bombing of a hospital in Aleppo yesterday evening, as violent attacks rapidly escalate in northern Syria with dozens of civilians killed and wounded in the past few days.  

Last night’s airstrike on Al Quds hospital reportedly killed several children and the area’s only remaining pediatrician, as well as other medical staff and civilians. The hospital has one of the largest pediatric units in the city and many children are likely to be left without care as a result. 

The hospital bombing comes as the latest round of peace talks falters and the cessation of hostilities agreed in February is disintegrating into bloodshed. Save the Children partners in the area have told us of almost constant bombing and shelling this week, and urgent action is needed to save the small but crucial gains of the past few months. 

“Bombing hospitals that are treating sick children is a despicable act. This latest attack will deprive thousands of people of essential healthcare at a time when their homes and neighbourhoods are again being destroyed by a new surge in bombing and shelling,” says Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada.

Targeting of hospitals and health facilities has become common in Syria. Earlier this week, another hospital in nearby Al Atareb, just outside Aleppo, was bombed. 

Save the Children calls on parties to the conflict to end the targeting of hospitals and health facilities, and other civilian infrastructure such as schools. We urge the international community and the parties to the conflict to ensure that the current round of peace talks do not fail, and recommit to a full cessation of hostilities. 

Save the Children works with local partners to run health programs across northern Syria, including supporting seven health clinics. In the past month Save the Children supported measles and polio vaccination campaigns for more than 280,000 children. 

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For additional information, please contact:

Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
Save the Children
4
16 221 5501 x 295
647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca 

 

 

TOXIC MIX OF POVERTY AND DISCRIMINATION DAMAGING THE LIVES OF MILLIONS OF CHILDREN WORLDWIDE
4/26/2016

New report from Save the Children reveals millions of the world’s poorest children are being denied life-saving services because of who they are and where they live;new campaign launches to reach ‘every last child’


APRIL 26, 2016…In today’s world the bodies of child refugees wash up on European beaches, girls are denied access to education because of their gender, and indigenous children miss out on life-saving healthcare because of ongoing discriminatory policy and funding decisions. Deliberate discrimination or neglect is the largest threat to the well-being of the world’s poorest children and it is only getting worse, according to a new report from Save the Children.

Even in the richest countries, tens of millions of children live with uncertain access to food, inadequate shelter and social services, and with the damaging effects of social exclusion. The Every Last Child report shows that recent progress in fighting extreme poverty is often not reaching children who need it most – because of geography, their gender, ethnicity or race, a disability or because they are victims of conflict. At its worst, this discrimination is deadly. Of the 16,000 children still dying each day from preventable causes, a disproportionate number are from these excluded groups. 

“Our report reveals how some of the world’s poorest children are being left behind because of who they are or where they live. The system is broken,” says Patricia Erb, President & CEO of Save the Children. “It is not an accident that discrimination is preventing some of the most vulnerable children from accessing life-saving services – these children are being systematically left out by design or neglect.” 

Save the Children is today launching a new three-year campaign, Every Last Child. The campaign calls on decision makers at the household, local, national and international levels to eliminate the barriers put in place that prevent the poorest and most vulnerable children from accessing life-saving services.

The organisation also calls on world leaders to commit to three basic guarantees for all children, everywhere. These are fair financing – financial security for every child and their family, along with sustainable financing of essential services so that everyone can access them – equal treatment for all children – remove barriers to health and education through laws and policies - and for decision makers to be held accountable.

“When I was 14, I witnessed indigenous children in Bolivia die because they had measles and couldn’t afford a doctor or medicine. I knew then that I would devote my life to the fight against poverty and injustice.  The recent UN goals have the world promising to leave no child behind by 2030. To achieve this, we need real change. Governments must change their laws and policies, we must have a global economy that is inclusive and people must change their discriminatory attitudes and beliefs. The cycles of inequality and poverty that entrap generations must be stopped, and we must work together to do so,” continues Patricia Erb.


The Every Last Child report reveals:

  • 400 million children globally face discrimination because of their ethnicity/race and religion, and this discrimination can be deadly. 
  • Child marriage is prevalent among the world’s poorest girls. 720 million women were married before they were 18, compared with 156 million men. Apart from being a human rights violation, child marriage has grave consequences for girls’ sexual and reproductive health, limits education and employment opportunities, and makes girls vulnerable to sexual and physical violence. 
  • Many of the basic rights of children are undermined and violated during emergencies and situations of protracted displacement. The consequences for refugee and displaced children and their communities are devastating. 1 in 4 refugee children of secondary age are estimated to be in school, compared with 3 in 4 children worldwide. A third of the 10 million stateless people worldwide are children. Once displaced for six months, the average length of displacement is now 17 years. Business as usual is clearly failing most of the world’s displaced people.
  • Discrimination and exclusion are also affecting children in some of the wealthiest countries. The average poverty rate for Indigenous children in Canada is 40%, more than twice the national average of 17%. Fifty percent of First Nations children in Canada live below the poverty line. They are lagging behind compared to the rest of the country’s children, and are suffering as a result of low family income, low educational success rates, poor water quality, high infant mortality and suicide.

“For generations in Canada, governments of all levels failed to provide First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and communities with the most basic of services in health, education, housing and water. Now more than ever Canada needs to open its eyes,” says Patricia Erb. “Unless we work to provide Indigenous Peoples in Canada with the services they are entitled to, we make it impossible for Canada to be the nation it wants to be. We cannot wait for more meetings, roundtables, and discussions. The urgency has never been greater and our past failures never more obvious, but it is never too late for us to begin the important work of reconciliation.”

“The Every Last Child Campaign is about justice. It’s about the right of every child to healthcare, to education, to shelter and food. Today, far too frequently, the rights of children are being denied. And that is not an accident. Choices are being made at the systems level, by governments, businesses, and the public, to let children’s rights go unfulfilled and to let children suffer. We need to start making a different choice. And we need to start now.”

ENDS
For media enquiries, photos contact:

Katharine Harris
Save the Children
T: 416-221-5501 x 295 
M: 647-973-1185
E: kharris@savethechildren.ca

 

ONE YEAR ON FROM THE NEPAL EARTHQUAKES: THREE MILLION PEOPLE STILL WITHOUT PERMANENT SHELTER
4/25/2016

Twelve months on since the Nepal earthquakes, homeless families are still living in temporary shelters covered by tarpaulins, under bridges and in unsafe buildings as 600,000 households remain without permanent shelter, Save the Children says.

Alongside this continuing challenge, the aid agency today launches a new report revealing that many of the most marginalized and vulnerable communities missed out on aid like cash distributions during the critical emergency response phase of the relief effort. 

“Though millions of people in Nepal have been reached with vital healthcare, water and hygiene support, food, temporary shelter and education, the response could have been better in some areas,” Save the Children Country Director, Delailah Borja, said. “No formal rebuilding program has commenced in the past 12 months, and that’s in part due to the sheer scale of the disaster and the massive logistical challenges in an extremely mountainous region. 

“Millions of families are still living in the temporary shelter supplied by aid agencies months ago, having already braved a very cold winter and are now facing the prospect of another monsoon season, which will start in June. 

“Save the Children has been preparing its shelter program for months now, which includes training 6,000 masons in safe rebuilding practices and preparing cash grants for 6,000 households– a value of 12 million dollars - that will allow vulnerable households to commence rebuilding. When we are given the green light, we will be ready to go.”

Save the Children’s report, “Did the humanitarian response to the Nepal earthquake ensure no one was left behind?” analysed the effectiveness of the emergency response, in particular the targeting and distribution of aid to the most vulnerable groups in Nepal. 

A number of key lessons learned were identified, including the local governments request to use ‘blanket’ rather than targeted distributions of aid, poor communication with isolated communities and elderly or disabled people, and a lack of thorough assessment to work out which families were most in need.  “For example, cash handouts were payable only to the owner of the house, meaning those who were renting or living in a home registered to somebody else didn’t get the money they so desperately needed and were entitled to,” Ms Borja said.

Ms Borja said the mountainous terrain of Nepal, poor conditions of roads and fuel shortages added to the difficulty in reaching the most isolated and vulnerable communities. Despite these challenges Save the Children has reached over 580,000 earthquake survivors so far, and continues to work on the ground offering much needed support where it can. 

“Getting out to many of the more remote and often badly affected areas was almost impossible with roads cut off from landslides, while many villages were only accessible by foot,” she said. “A number of aid agencies including Save the Children used helicopters to deliver aid, but even then it could only be to a central point where landing was possible, meaning those affected still needed to walk – often for several hours – to that central point to get the aid they had been allocated.  “The sheer scale of the disaster, with 8 million people affected, is enormous – Nepal hasn’t faced a challenge like this in decades.”

ENDS

For additional information, please contact:

Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
Save the Children 
416 221 5501 x 295
647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca

Notes to editor: 

  • Save the Children has operated in Nepal since 1976. As the largest child-focused organization in the Nepal, Save the Children covers a wide geographical area with multiple programs that support the vision for all children to attain the right to survival, protection, development and participation
  • We have reached 582,902 people (including 350,795 children) through our emergency response efforts. Spend to date on our emergency response totals USD28 million (end of March 2016)
  • Research for this report was conducted over a two week period in November 2015, covering the districts of Ramechhap, Gorkha, Dolakha, Rasuwa and Bhaktapur. Sixteen focus group discussions were conducted with affected communities•As of 30 October, the latest figures are 8,891 dead and 22,309 injured. (UNOCHA)
  • A total of 8 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance due to the earthquakes (UNOCHA)
  • Sindhupalchowk, Kathmandu valley, Gorkha, Dolakha, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Dhading, Kavrepalanchowk, Ramechhap, Makawanpur, and Sindhuli have been identified as the most-affected districts. A total of 32 districts were affected
  • As of 9 July, the Government reported a total of 602,257 houses destroyed and 285,099 damaged by the earthquake on 25 April and on 12 May. (NEOC/MOHA 23/07/15)

 

 

60 DAYS FOR 60 MILLION DISPLACED PEOPLE
4/22/2016

April 22, 2016…The members of the Humanitarian Coalition unveiled today a national campaign in the lead up to World Refugee Day, on June 20th, to raise awareness and funds for the 60 million people displaced around the world. 

Supported by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, and Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary for the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the “Help Them Dream Again” campaign aims to mobilize all Canadians in support of refugees worldwide, with a particular focus on children.  

Together, they call on Canadian humanitarian organizations and the corporate sector to join the campaign and encourage all Canadians to get involved. 

“Today we start a 60 day countdown to World Refugee Day on June 20th – 60 days for the 60 million people forcibly displaced from their homes due to disasters, conflict and crises. More than half of this number are children. We’ve seen so much generosity and compassion from Canadians for the Syrian refugees.  We ask Canadians to see this as an opportunity to better understand and support the millions of refugees who will never make Canada their home and the efforts underway to assist them around the world,” said Patricia Erb, Chair of the Humanitarian Coalition and President & CEO of Save the Children.

Humanitarian Coalition members CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Quebec, Plan International Canada and Save the Children are proud to collaborate with trusted partners such as the UNHCR Canada, World Vision Canada, Islamic Relief Canada and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to promote the needs of refugees and displaced people worldwide. The participation of other Canadian international NGOs is welcome as the campaign unfolds.

“Behind the numbers, refugees are ordinary people facing extraordinarily difficult situations. From Yemen to Jordan, from Cameroon to Kenya, refugees need our attention, but also the care and assistance they need to rebuild their lives. We welcome this campaign by Canadian partners to highlight the plight of refugees around the world,” said Minister Bibeau.

The campaign has already enlisted the backing of key corporate and media partners, and an official announcement will be made once agreements have been finalized. In the meantime, Canadian businesses are encouraged to join this effort.‘’All over the world, people are leaving their homeland due to war and conflict. Canada is strongly committed to resettling refugees from all around the world and 2016 is expected to be the most ambitious resettlement year in Canadian history. I thank Canadians for showing our values of compassion, kindness, and generosity by supporting this campaign,’’ said Mr. Virani.

"UNHCR has been calling for more support and increased solidarity with refugees all over the world.  We are happy to support this campaign by Canadian humanitarian agencies, which is yet again another demonstration of Canada's longstanding commitment to help and assist refugees," said Furio De Angelis, UNHCR Representative in Canada.

Canadians can learn more and help raise their voice for the 60 million displaced people at www.worldrefugeeday.com 

Together, we can save more lives.

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The Humanitarian Coalition is Canada's only joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan International Canada and Save the Children Canada. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs.

For more information
Yosé Cormier
Humanitarian Coalition
613-292-2687 
yose.cormier@humanitariancoalition.ca

Felix Corriveau
Office of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
613-954-1064
Felix.Corriveau@cic.gc.ca 

Bernard Boutin
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
343-203-5977
bernard.boutin@international.gc.ca

 

 

CHILDREN PULLED ALIVE FROM THE RUBBLE AFTER ECUADOR’S WORST QUAKE IN DECADES
4/19/2016

FAMILIES SPEND THE NIGHT OUTSIDE TO AVOID IMPACT OF AFTERSHOCKS 

April 19th 2016, Toronto…Hundreds of children have reportedly been pulled out of the rubble alive by Ecuadorian authorities and local people, while thousands of families have slept out in the open to avoid the impact of further aftershocks in the wake of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which struck off the coast of Ecuador on the evening of April 16th. 

“Rescue efforts have succeeded in saving the lives of many children who were trapped under the rubble in the immediate aftermath of the quake, with some families still searching through the debris for friends and relatives with their bare hands,” says Maria Villalobos, Country Director for Save the Children Ecuador and Peru. 

“There are still at least 200 people missing, including infants and the elderly, and we remain hugely concerned that emergency access to many areas remains difficult due to landslides, falling buildings, and unstable roads and power supplies.”

Ecuador’s worst earthquake since 1979 has resulted in 413 confirmed deaths so far, and left an estimated 3,000 injured, with an additional 3,000-5,000 people now in urgent need of emergency shelter assistance. 

“Temporary camps are being set up as quickly as humanly possible but many families have spent the night outside in the open in a bid to avoid building collapse or falling wreckage, and we are still receiving numerous reports of lone children who can’t find their parents or siblings.”

At least 500 buildings have reportedly been destroyed across the affected provinces, with 146 schools severely affected, three universities closed, and a number of key health centres and hospitals reporting devastating damage, making treating the wounded increasingly problematic. 

“The authorities have deployed mobile hospitals and rapid response units to the worst-affected cities, including the center of Portoviejo, Manabí, which has been completely destroyed. Currently, only five per cent of the population have access to electricity and nine roads into the province have been completely blocked by debris,” adds Villalobos.

“Obviously this is an extremely dangerous and chaotic environment for the most vulnerable, particularly unaccompanied children or those that are badly injured and trapped in isolated areas.” 

A state of national emergency is now in full force in Manabí, where more than 200 people died, as well as in Santa Elena, Esmeraldas, Guayas, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, and Los Rios. 

Alongside the Ecuadorian government and local authorities, Save the Children is working round the clock to help affected families, with particular focus on the northern part of the country, in Muisne, Esmeraldas Province. 

“Muisne is already one of the poorest areas within Esmeraldas Province, with 98% of the population living below the poverty line and 80 per cent living in rural areas. Now, close to 90 per cent of infrastructure here has been critically damaged by the quake and aftershocks, leaving at least half of the population displaced and a high percentage of children considered to be at risk,” says Villalobos. 

“Schools are currently on vacation and are scheduled to reopen on May 1st, depending on the damage that is reported in the next few days, so we will distribute 1,500 student kits to ensure that children have the materials to go back to school and restart their education as soon as possible.  

“We will also be providing psychosocial support to children, as well as delivering 800 household kits which include emergency tents, food, electricity generators, and hygiene kits, and assessing the damage to existing water systems.” 

The widespread destruction of infrastructure will require the full resources of the government and emergency services, with some 10,000 troops and 3,500 police already present in the affected areas.An 18-person United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team has also been deployed to Pedernales to support coordination and initial assessments, including Roberto Martínez, Humanitarian Coordinator for Save the Children Spain.

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For additional information, please contact:

Katharine Harris
National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
Save the Children 
416 221 5501 x 295
647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca 

About Save the Children Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world’s most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 55 million children in 2014. Learn more here: www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

READY TO RESPOND WHERE HELP IS NEEDED - 7.8 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE IN ECUADOR
4/18/2016

Save the Children staff will be working in the days and weeks ahead to give support where we can to those most affected by this earthquake, particularly children.

The rising number of dead and injured and the widespread destruction will require the full resources of the government and emergency services.

Save the Children will use our existing networks across the country to assess the needs of those most affected and help where we can. Our teams on the ground have emergency supplies ready to distribute.

"Our thoughts are with the families of those killed and injured, " said Maria Villalobos, Country Director for Save the Children Ecuador and Peru. 

"Children are among the worst affected by this disaster, with many being injured and left without homes. We already have teams on the ground who are working with the Ecuadorian Humanitarian Network to assess the needs of children and respond accordingly. The safety and protection of children and their families is our main priority and we will focus our efforts on the worst affected areas."

Save the Children is currently conducting a needs-assessment, from this decisions will be made as to the scale and nature of our response.

Please consider a donation to our Children’s Emergency Fund. Designed to help Save the Children mobilize rapidly in the face of any disaster or conflict, or to scale up work when an existing situation deteriorates and children’s lives are in danger, the Children’s Emergency Fund is key to our ability to reach children in the face of disasters or conflict.

Your support of the Emergency Response Fund gives us the flexibility to begin responding to the needs of the most vulnerable children within hours of a disaster striking, without having to wait weeks or even months for other donations to arrive.

For additional information, please contact:
Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement

Save the Children 
416 221 5501 x 295

647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca 

About Save the Children 
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world’s most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 55 million children in 2014. Learn more here: www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

 

SIX MILLION CHILDREN IN ETHIOPIA ARE HUNGRY AND WITHOUT CLEAN WATER
4/14/2016

It is in all of our interests to help Ethiopia overcome the worst drought in fifty years. 

Op-ed by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International 

When four-year-old Malou first arrived at the Save the Children stabilisation centre in the small community of Fedeto, she was severely underweight and limp, her feet swollen. But having been treated for the effects of malnutrition, and it seemed starting on the road to recovery, she now has a second battle on her hands – to overcome pneumonia. This is just a small illustration of Ethiopia’s current crisis: that a child who fought one life threatening illness would emerge from that, only to be exposed to another. 

Children are at the forefront of this suffering, amid the country’s worst drought in fifty years, with six million said to be at risk. $600m is needed to tackle this crisis. I implore the international community to step up and urgently respond. The irony is that the environment has been particularly cruel to a country which has been doing all it can to improve itself.  Perceptions of Ethiopia are fraught with contradictions but there are two equally important facts which are at risk of being lost in the mire. 

Ethiopia is not any country. It is a country right in the middle of an economic u turn - despite ranking the second poorest country in the world, it is now achieving steady economic growth, at an average of 10% per year in the last decade, and set to be a middle income country within the next ten years. 

This is not just any drought. This is the worst drought in fifty years. The extent to which the rains have failed is unprecedented, regional temperatures are higher than ever, and we are dealing with the strongest El Nino on record. The damage caused by climate change and erratic weather patterns driven by El Nino are only going to see conditions worsen.  

Ethiopia is financially secure enough to respond to the crisis alone if it has to, but not without detriment to the massive development progress it has made so far – or without damaging its ability to respond well, in the future. 

Rainfall patterns are deteriorating at an alarming rate in East Africa. The spring rains, which usually bring fifteen days of rainfall a month between February and April are now two months overdue. In places like Siti Zone in the east of the country, this is the third failed rainy season since mid 2014. The landscape paints a bleak picture of dried leaves on tiny shrubs, peppered with the carcasses of emaciated livestock and dried out, cracked, riverbeds. Around a third of the population – including six million children - are now entering the ‘hunger season’, facing critical food shortages. 

It is important to note that Ethiopia has made huge strides since previous droughts. In 1990, it was estimated that 204 Ethiopian children in every 1000 would die before their fifth birthday. By 2012, the country had reduced this toll by 67%, meeting its Millennium Development Goal commitment to reduce child deaths, three years ahead of time. 

The Ethiopian Government has shown strong leadership in the food crisis too, committing an unprecedented $380million to tackling the growing emergency. NGOs have worked with the government in recent years to channel development funds into strengthening resilience, and the country is better equipped than ever to respond to the crisis. These factors – are the reason we are not seeing the loss of life we saw previously.  

But the scale of this crisis cannot be overstated. An estimated six million children - are currently hungry, or without access to clean water. Save the Children is working closely with the government to identify the areas in most critical need. Much of our work in the 100 stabilisation centres we operate in focuses on treating moderate acute malnutrition, and preventing it from reaching the ‘severe’ stage, which is much harder to recover from, and has long term implications on child development and health. Children who are malnourished do not have the resilience to fend off other childhood illnesses, like measles or diarrhea – two of the major causes of under-five mortality. 

In Fedeto, I met Habiba, a former pastoralist whose family had struggled for months without clean water, watching as her livestock died off in front of her. Like her neighbours, she was confronted with difficult decisions – to wait for the rains, knowing the animals may not survive, or to leave them to perish, and have no livelihood to return to. The decision was eventually made for her, when six of her children fell ill, as a measles outbreak wracked the small community that had been home to her all of her life. Weakened and already underweight, her children were at high risk of the illness. Save the Children’s outreach teams brought Habiba and her family to Fedeto, where the children underwent a month long course of treatment to bring them to recovery. 

The complexities of this crisis go beyond the very real human need I saw playing out in Fedeto. Were it faced with this drought alone, the Government of Ethiopia would have a heady, but manageable task. Sadly, all indications of the climate change trajectory suggest that this is not an isolated case of drought, but rather the paradigm for what is yet to come. 

The Government is faced now with dealing with three challenges:The emergency needs of the 10 million people facing food shortage; Preparing to respond to the next drought, which could come at any time, including by ring-fencing funding so it can be released fast, at the first signs of drought, to address critical needs and prevent escalation; and, Developing a longer term sustainable plan for adapting to this changing environment and ensuring livelihoods and communities are given the skills and resources for much needed change. The funding and resourcing must be available to take on all of these tasks, if any of them are to truly succeed. 

Ethiopia offers economic hope to the horn of Africa – it is one of the most stable countries in the region, attracting significant overseas investment. It provides a haven to 750,000 refugees, the largest amount in Africa, many of whom are fleeing conflict in neighbouring countries. It is critical that we recognize the value in having a stable country in this region.  

The International community invested heavily in bringing Ethiopia to a point where it can lead a self-sustaining economy, capable of withstanding crisis. This included the development of all the early warning systems to identify risk and to stop emergencies like the current food crisis escalating into a catastrophe. It is the failing of us all, if we ignore the sound of the alarm bells ringing now.

SAVE THE CHILDREN WELCOMES REBECCA DAVIES AS NEW CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER
3/28/2016

Toronto, March 28, 2016 - Save the Children is pleased to announce that Rebecca Davies will be joining its team in the role of Chief Development Officer. Rebecca brings to Save the Children over 20 years of fundraising and executive experience in the Not-for-Profit sector. In addition to demonstrating a successful track record for building and executing fundraising strategies, her extensive experience also includes team building, team and volunteer leadership roles, and professional speaking engagements.

“I’m excited to welcome Rebecca to our team,” stated Patricia Erb, President & CEO of Save the Children. “We went through a long selection process that involved participation and input from senior staff, Board members, and Save the Children colleagues based overseas. It’s a busy time at Save the Children, it seems that our work in many ways is more necessary than ever, and the protection of children and their rights has never been so important. I look forward to working with Rebecca to ensure all children have the right to survival, protection, development and participation.”

Rebecca Davies brings to Save the Children expertise in areas of marketing, communications and relational fundraising. She has helped a number of organizations successfully build their private donor portfolios, including MSF/Doctors Without Borders Canada, Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, and the University of Toronto. Her first day with Save the Children is Monday, March 28.

For additional information, please contact:
Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement

Save the Children
416 221 5501 x 295

647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world’s most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 55 million children in 2014. Learn more here: www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

SAVE THE CHILDREN SUSPENDS SUPPORT SERVICES ON GREEK ISLAND DETENTION CENTRES FOLLOWING EU-TURKEY DEAL
3/24/2016

Toronto, March 24, 2016 - Following initial implementation of the EU-Turkey deal that came into effect on 20 March 2016, Save the Children has suspended all activities related to supporting basic services at all detention centres on the Greek islands due to extreme concerns that newly-arrived vulnerable children and their families are in danger of unlawful and unjustified custody for sustained periods of time.

 

Currently, all asylum seekers and migrants arriving on the islands after Monday, regardless of their status, are now being placed in the newly designated detention centres until their individual ‘admissibility’ interview and assessment take place.

 

“Asylum applications, interviews, and assessments could take weeks, or even months, and the result is that asylum-seekers are, and will, be placed in unlawful detention, contrary to International and European Human Rights Law,” said Patricia Erb, President & CEO of Save the Children.

 

While the European Commission has clarified that ‘Irregular migrants may be held in closed reception centres on the Greek islands, and asylum seekers will be accommodated in open reception centres,’ at present, this does not appear to be the case in reality, according to Save the Children teams on the ground.

 

“There is no possible way that the sudden turnaround of reception centre hotspots into detention centres can happen in line with international and European legal requirements, and this will be in particular to the detriment of children,” continued Erb.

 

“We already know that among those being detained are unaccompanied children who are particularly vulnerable as they require specialist support and protection which they cannot receive in their current environment, and we remind authorities that the detention of children is unlawful and never in their best interests.

 

“Furthermore, maintaining family unity should never be used to justify the detention of children. Children and their families should always be in appropriate accommodation in line with the best interests of children.

 

“As conditions are worsening in Greece, the first priority should be to address humanitarian concerns and deal with the existing protection needs.”

 

Save the Children has suspended all basic service support activities in detention centres on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros until further notice, including the provision of bus transport to the centres on Lesvos, the distribution of basic cooking, shelter, and winter provisions, and food distribution in Moria camp on Lesvos, which has been taken over by the Greek Armed Forces.

 

“We will however maintain food distribution in collaboration with Oxfam only in Kara Tepe camp on Lesvos, which is run by the local municipality and remains an open facility, and will also maintain some child protection activities in all closed centres due to ongoing concerns regarding the living conditions of the children inside,” said Erb.

 

Save the Children is also alarmed about the proposed forced returns to Turkey, particularly the possibility of the rejection of asylum applications in Greece without examination if they are found to be ‘inadmissible’, and the lack of capacity in Greece to administer asylum seekers’ rights to appeal.

 

Save the Children reiterated concerns around the imminent ‘return one to resettle’ one scheme for Syrians.

 

“It is shameful that Europe is finding ways to cut back on commitments already made to offer safe and legal routes for vulnerable refugees into Europe - the result is that the number of these routes is now actually diminishing, not to mention that their availability in this scheme still requires people to risk their lives at sea,” Erb warned.

 

“It is clear that the main message of the EU-Turkey deal agreement is the prevalence of maintaining borders over saving lives.”

 

For additional information, please contact:
Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement

Save the Children
416 221 5501 x 295

647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world’s most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 55 million children in 2014. Learn more here: www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

350,000 BABIES EXPECTED TO BE BORN ACROSS DROUGHT-AFFECTED PARTS OF ETHIOPIA AS FOOD CRISIS PEAKS
3/22/2016

March 22, 2016, Toronto… As a result of the severe drought in Ethiopia thousands of women and children are currently spending up to six hours a day fetching clean water as many wells are now drying up, and up to 1.2 million children are missing out on education as schools are closed in the worst affected areas. Save the Children is therefore calling on the United Nations to urgently raise the global alarm on Ethiopia’s worst drought in 50 years.

The call comes as figures show an estimated *350,000 newborns are expected in drought-affected communities in the months leading up to August 2016 when Ethiopia’s ‘hunger season’ peaks, according to Save the Children. The aid agency says that the international community needs to immediately increase funding towards the $1.4 billion drought appeal – which is less than half funded to date.

“Ethiopia has made been a model in terms of reaching the goals we globally share for children. They met the Millennium Development Goal #4 – reduce under-five child mortality by two-thirds – two years early. If emergency funding doesn’t escalate very soon, there is a real risk of reversing some of the vital progress they’ve made over the last two decades, including halving the percentage of the population living below the poverty line,” warns Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. “The Ethiopian Government has shouldered much of the funding burden for this crisis to date but if they don’t get more immediate help from foreign donors they may be forced to redirect funding from other vital areas, including education and maternal and child health programs, in order to buy life-saving food aid.”

Drought conditions, triggered by El Niño, began in June of last year in remote northeastern areas of the country, as well as many parts of Somalia and Somaliland, and have spread rapidly to the more populous highlands, leaving an estimated 10.2 million people in need of food aid.

Save the Children currently classifies just two global humanitarian crises at the organization’s highest level of emergency – the on-going war in Syria, and the drought in Ethiopia.

"The world is dealing with too many massive humanitarian crises today, from Syria to Yemen and South Sudan, but the scale of the drought in Ethiopia is like nothing we’ve seen before,” Erb says. “This is a code red emergency and it needs to be treated like one. We’ve never seen such a small response to a drought of this magnitude from the UN or the international community.”

Save the Children is also extremely concerned about the impact the drought could have on the 350,000 newborns expected in drought affected areas in the upcoming months.

“Giving birth is physically demanding for women. Giving birth in a desperate situation where there are already serious food shortages, and where nutrition sources are s
care due to large-scale livestock deaths, is extremely dangerous for both newborns and their mothers,” she said. “We are seeing more and more pregnant and lactating mothers suffering from malnutrition because of the drought. This not only reduces their chances of delivering a healthy delivery, but also means many will struggle to feed babies who are already significantly underweight. Newborns and pregnant mothers need to have access to quality health care services and a nutritious diet.”

This year more than 2.5 million children are expected to drop out of the education system due to the drought, while an estimated 400,000 children are at risk of suffering severe acute malnutrition according to the Government of Ethiopia.“If the next rainy season fails again and the international community doesn’t significantly increase funding for this emergency response, we could see the number of children suffering from severe malnutrition rise significantly,” Patricia Erb adds.

Save the Children is working in over 60 of the worst drought-affected districts in Ethiopia, providing food, water, medicine and crucial support to families who have lost their incomes, with immediate focus on increasing food aid; treating child malnutrition; water trucking; intervening to save livestock and crops where possible; and supporting families to keep their children in school through the crisis.

For additional information, please contact:
Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
Save the Children 
416 221 5501 x 295 647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca 

About Save the Children 
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world’s most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 55 million children in 2014. Learn more here: www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

 

HUMANITARIAN COALITION LAUNCHES NEW VISUAL CAMPAIGN
3/21/2016

Monday, March 21, Toronto…The Humanitarian Coalition is excited to launch its new videos and media materials, which will help raise awareness of how working together can save more lives.  

The Humanitarian Coalition’s Rapid Response Network partners, which include Save the Children, play a key role during a humanitarian crisis. In their own unique way, each partner organization helps the Humanitarian Coalition increase awareness when a crisis occurs and engage Canadians in support of relief efforts. This helps reduce the costs of fundraising and ensure that survivors of terrible disasters around the world are helped more quickly.

To help increase awareness across Canada of the importance of working together in times of major disasters, the Humanitarian Coalition has developed tools for use outside of humanitarian crises. These tools include a series of new videos and media materials to help raise awareness of how working together can save more lives.  The Humanitarian Coalition has also created images for the public to use on their social media networks to show support for the Humanitarian Coalition: 

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For additional information, please contact:
Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
Save the Children 
416 221 5501 x 295 OR 647 973 1185
kharris@savethechildren.ca 

About Save the Children 

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world’s most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 55 million children in 2014. Learn more here: www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

About the Humanitarian Coalition

The Humanitarian Coalition is Canada's only joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs.

IKEA FOUNDATION GIVES GRANTS WORTH €9.4 MILLION TO MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES (MSF) AND SAVE THE CHILDREN
3/16/2016

IKEA Foundation gives grants worth €9.4 million to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Save the Children to help children and families caught up in Syria conflict

As the conflict in Syria enters its fifth year, the IKEA Foundation has donated €9.4 million to help children and their families, both within Syria and in neighbouring countries. The money is supporting the lifesaving work of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Save the Children.

The conflict has created one of the worst humanitarian crises of recent times. More than 11 million people—half the country’s pre-war population—have been killed or forced to flee their homes. Many essential services such as schools and healthcare have completely disintegrated.  

The IKEA Foundation’s €5.7 million grant to MSF is funding emergency medical aid to some of these children and families in Syria, and to Syrian refugees and vulnerable people in Lebanon and Iraq. It will pay for essential healthcare, mental health services—particularly for children—and training medical workers, in a region that is home to 1.17 million people.

Avril Benoit, Director of Communication and Fundraising from MSF, says: “The funding from the IKEA Foundation is helping MSF provide lifesaving medical care to some of the most vulnerable children and families in Syria and the surrounding areas. In a country where the healthcare system has collapsed, it will enable us to offer essential services such as maternity clinics, paediatric healthcare and treatment for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.” 

The Foundation has also given €3.7 million to Save the Children to support its work in strengthening and training 17 local partner organisations in Syria. This funding will give them the knowledge and skills they need to increase protection of 41,000 vulnerable children and provide basic services such as healthcare and education. 

Seven-year-old Fatima (not her real name), from northern Syria, dreams of becoming a teacher. But with fighting a constant part of daily life, children’s lives, health and futures are in danger. Once, nearly all children in Syria went to school but the country now has the second worst enrolment rate in the world.

In the area where Fatima lives, Save the Children and its partners are supporting schools, repairing classrooms and setting up temporary learning spaces. They are also providing learning equipment, and training and supporting teachers, so children like Fatima can continue learning.

Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s Senior Humanitarian Advisor for Syria, says: “We are very excited about this partnership with the IKEA Foundation that will allow us to reach vulnerable children by supporting local organisations who can access hard-to-reach areas in Syria. This is the first time Save the Children is able to work from all our bases, inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, to deliver a coordinated approach in strengthening the capacity of our partners across Syria.” 

Jonathan Spampinato, head of strategic planning for the IKEA Foundation, says: “A generation of children in Syria are losing their childhoods, as the conflict disrupts every part of their daily lives. These children are at risk of illness, malnutrition and abuse, while millions have been forced to quit school. The work of organisations like MSF and Save the Children is essential in protecting and supporting Syria’s children, offering them - and the nation - hope for a better future when the conflict ends.”

Last month, the IKEA Foundation, UN Refugee Agency and What Design Can Do challenged designers and creative thinkers to find new ways to support urban refugees.The five best entries will receive up to €10,000 each, along with expert advice and guidance to develop their concepts into feasible plans. Both new ideas and existing concepts that need development are eligible. Everyone is welcome to join the challenge, including IKEA co-workers. Read more about the process or enter now. The deadline is 1 May 2016. 

 

 

250,000 CHILDREN LIVING IN TERROR IN SYRIA’S BESIEGED AREAS
3/9/2016

A new report from Save the Children reveals that barrel bombs, air strikes and shelling are the biggest issues for the more than a quarter of a million children estimated to be living in besieged areas in Syria. Parents testify to the horror of family life under siege, not only dealing with the psychological impact on children terrified of explosions, but the dire consequences of being deprived of food, basic medicine and clean water.  

Recent moves to increase aid to besieged areas are welcome, but deliveries have been found to be ad-hoc, piecemeal and often stripped of vital supplies including medical equipment.

More than 125 mothers, fathers and children living under siege were interviewed in 22 focus groups for the report, ‘Childhood Under Siege’, which is released today [March 9th] ahead of the 5th anniversary of the war in Syria. In every group interviewed, children said they live in constant fear of attack and parents said their children’s behaviour had changed – becoming more withdrawn, aggressive or depressed. 

Their testimony painted a shocking picture of daily life in Syria’s besieged towns. Health staff reported operating by candlelight, running out of medicine and sick babies dying at checkpoints because of delays in reaching medical care. Children are being forced to eat boiled leaves and animal feed for their one daily meal and teachers say they are setting up schools in basements to protect pupils from bombs. Residents described how snipers try to shoot at anyone who leaves, trapping the population in an open-air prison.

“Fear has taken control. Children now wait for their turn to be killed. Even adults live only to wait for their turn to die,” said Rihab*, a mother in Eastern Ghouta. 

Over the last six months attacks appear to be getting worse. New information suggests that barrel bombs are dropped on besieged areas more than any other part of Syria and that this trend increased significantly in the second half of 2015. Attacks include the shelling of a playground in Al Wa’er in September where dozens of children were playing and airstrikes which killed at least 29 children in Eastern Ghouta in two weeks in December alone. 

Hassan*, a father from Deir Ezzor, said: “When the shelling was happening my children were terrified… I saw four children that were hit by the bombs. It was so tragic, I couldn’t even watch what was happening. Some children lost their limbs.”  
The focus groups, which were conducted this year in eight besieged areas, found widespread and deadly deprivation of food, clean water, medicines and healthcare:

  • In all but one of the adult focus groups (16 out of 17) people reported that children in their community had died from lack of medicines or access to healthcare.
  • In every group respondents said they had to cut the number of meals they eat per day by at least half.  
  • In four groups, people said children there had died from malnutrition and hunger-related causes.

Despite the UN Security Council passing six resolutions since 2014 calling for unobstructed humanitarian access in Syria – one every four months – the number of people living under siege has more than doubled in the last year. The recent efforts to deliver aid into some of the hardest-hit areas are welcome, but they have delivered only a tiny fraction of what is needed. Some vital medicines, fuel and high nutrition food are being removed from convoys, and people are still not allowed to leave for medical treatment. Until full access is granted, life-saving supplies will not reach everyone who desperately needs them.  

Patricia CEO, President & CEO of Save the Children Canada says, “Children are dying from lack of food and medicines in parts of Syria just a few kilometres from warehouses that are piled high with aid. They are paying the price for the world’s inaction.

“Families interviewed for this report spoke of sick babies dying at checkpoints, vets treating humans and children forced to eat animal feed as they cower in basements from airstrikes. Enough is enough. After nearly five years of conflict in Syria, it’s time to end the sieges.”

The primary responsibility for the suffering of Syria’s children lies with the parties to the conflict – Save the Children calls on them to end the sieges and immediately allow unfettered and permanent access for humanitarian aid to all areas, and to end attacks on schools, hospitals and other vital civilian infrastructure.

There is also much more the international community should be doing to save the lives of Syria’s besieged children. They must hold all parties to the conflict accountable, to ensure full and unobstructed access to areas currently under siege. We also ask world leaders to decouple humanitarian relief from peace talks and stop using aid as a bargaining chip for political negotiations. 



For additional information, please contact:

Katharine Harris

National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement

Save the Children 

416 221 5501 x 295

647 973 1185

kharris@savethechildren.ca 

 

 

SAVE THE CHILDREN MARKS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
3/8/2016

Today Save the Children celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD) which recognizes the achievements of women, and the advances that have been made in guaranteeing the equal human rights of women and girls. This day also serves as an important reminder that although progress has been made, there is still much to be done in closing gender gaps and creating equitable, positive and sustainable change for women and girls. With a theme for 2016 of gender parity, Save the Children will spotlight for IWD two priority areas for the closing of gender gaps:  the issues of decent and equitable livelihoods opportunities for girls and women, and Child and Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). 

Livelihoods

During adolescence girls often have very little opportunity to build economic skills and support themselves and their families; yet it is widely observed that where there is greater gender equality there are lower rates of poverty, stronger economic growth, better health outcomes and a higher overall standard of living. 

Save the Children’s Children Lead the Way (CLW) program – run in five countries in Latin America and Africa - is designed to provide working boys and girls with access to learning opportunities and educational information about their rights, to equip them with skills that will enable them to cope with the demands of life both now and as they grow into adults. Through its recent Photovoice project, CLW participants used photography to provide a window into their lives and specifically into the gender equality issues they witness impacting their daily lives and livelihoods. Both boys and girls as enablers of change at family and community levels then became active voices in generating solutions to these problems.

Child and Early Forced Marriage

Promoting gender equality is at the heart of Save the Children’s Child, Early and Forced Marriage portfolio. One CEFM project based in Somalia aims for enhanced governmental capacity to develop and enforce frameworks that prevent early marriage, as well as to empower girls and women, in partnership with boys and men, through the delivery of gender-sensitive training and services. Key to the success of the project is the leadership role that Women’s Lobby Groups play to promote gender equality and address CEFM at the community level.

“On this International Women’s Day, Save the Children recognizes that equality of girls and women is not only a moral obligation, it is the foundation of a successful society,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. “Girls and women need equal access to livelihood prospects, this is a key step not only in gender equality but in breaking the cycle of poverty and in enabling and sustaining a successful economic marketplace. They need control over their futures and to be decision-makers in the paths their lives follow. Our work on the prevention of Early and Child Forced Marriage is important in supporting women and girls to be empowered, active citizens and ensure their voices are heard.”“As the world's leading independent organization for children, Save the Children is committed to ensuring children realize the rights to which they are entitled. Our vision is a world where every child equally attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. On this International Women’s Day we recognize the changes the world has made so far, while also reaffirming our commitment to creating breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and ensuring equality for all.”

For additional information, please contact:

Katharine Harris

National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement

Save the Children 

416-221-5501 x 295

647-973-1185

kharris@savethechildren.ca 

 

INCREASED CANADIAN COMMITMENT TO SYRIA REFUGEE CRISIS, SAVE THE CHILDREN RESPONDS
2/8/2016

Toronto, February 8, 2016…Save the Children welcomes today’s federal government announcement on its new plan to address the crises in Syria, Iraq, and surrounding regions. This comprehensive approach to a complex problem is in keeping with Canada’s goal of working constructively with stakeholders and local partners to build real solutions that will last.

Save the Children applauds the decision for Canada to step up its diplomatic and development engagement in this area, but ultimately the only durable solution to this crisis situation is a political one. There are millions of Syrians who have been displaced from their homes, some remaining in the country and many more who have been forced to flee to surrounding regions. They are in desperate need of our help. Countries near Syria who welcomed refugees are now themselves at a crisis point; Canada’s decision to address the humanitarian needs in Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan is a positive step in the right direction. The immediate humanitarian requirements of food, water, shelter, healthcare and dignity must be provided; while longer-term needs such as access to educational opportunities and livelihood options for caregivers and youth cannot be forgotten.

Save the Children has been responding to the Syria crisis from its beginning. At the recent Supporting Syria and the Region conference held in London last week, we revealed a new analysis that shows that since the conflict started in March, 2011, an average of 3,245 children have been forced to flee their homes every single day. The total number of children who are now displaced, either within Syria or as refugees in the region, now stands at 5.8 million. While children continue to be at risk in Syria and face the daunting challenges of displacement, Save the Children will continue our efforts to ensure that their rights are protected and needs are met.

For More Information:

Katharine Harris, Save the Children

T: 416-221-5501 x 295

M: 647-973-1185

E: kharris@savethechildren.ca

BORN ON TIME: NEW CANADIAN-LED INITIATIVE TACKLES LEADING CAUSE OF CHILD MORTALITY
2/8/2016

World Vision, Plan International Canada, Save the Children, the Government of Canada and Johnson & Johnson partner to prevent preterm birth

(Toronto, ON, February 8, 2016) – As International Development Week gets underway, major investments from public and private sources have created a Canadian-led initiative to tackle prematurity, now the leading cause of death in children under age five. Announced today, Born On Time: A Public-Private Partnership to Prevent Preterm Birth brings together expertise and resources from World Vision, Plan International Canada, Save the Children, the Government of Canada and Johnson & Johnson.

In Spring 2016, Born On Time will begin implementation in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Mali, where the burden of newborn death is high and governments are committed to improving survival rates. The five-year initiative will address the risk factors which can lead to preterm birth: Lifestyle, Infection, Nutrition and Contraception (LINC). Working closely with local stakeholders, the partners will take a comprehensive approach throughout communities and regional health facilities with activities including:

  • Training health care providers and community health workers to provide quality care for mothers before, between and during pregnancies;
  • Strengthening referral systems for high risk deliveries, and preterm, low-birth weight babies.
  • Improving local health facilities with essential equipment, supplies, and supply chain management;
  • Working with community and religious leaders, traditional birth attendants, youth groups and radio broadcasters to raise awareness of family planning methods, healthy lifestyles, taboos related to preterm birth, and gender equality issues;
  • Empowering women’s self-confidence, negotiation and leadership skills.
  • Training health workers and managers in data collection and reporting of preterm births.

Born On Time is funded through a $20 million (CAD) contribution from the Government of Canada, and an additional $10 million (CAD) from Johnson & Johnson. Designed to expand, Born On Time welcomes additional support from organizations interested in joining the effort to ensure every birth is full term, and every child has an opportunity for the healthiest start in life.

QUOTES

“Despite a remarkable drop in global child mortality since 1990, too many babies still don’t survive or thrive because they are born too soon. Mothers urgently need access to existing, practical solutions to help them reach full term pregnancies and care for premature babies. Born On Time will focus intensely in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Mali, where preterm birth is a contributing factor in more than a third of newborn deaths,” Michael Messenger, President & CEO, World Vision Canada.

“Early pregnancy is a key factor in pre-term birth. While addressing the health needs of teenage girls who become pregnant is a vital necessity, we also need to work to prevent early pregnancy by empowering girls with sexual health information as well as education and livelihood opportunities that help them reach their full potential,” said Patricia Erb, President & CEO of Save the Children Canada.

“Effective support for new mothers to reach full term and better prepare for childbirth, as well as quality care for the newborn, particularly those that are born too soon – can have a huge impact on saving newborn’s lives. Born On Time provides an important opportunity to nurture solid partnerships and use our comprehensive field knowledge, expertise, experiences and resources to jointly address ongoing challenges around pre-term birth, specifically in the developing world,” said Tanjina Mirza, Vice President of Plan Canada’s International Programs.

“The Government of Canada is proud to partner with World Vision Canada, Plan Canada, Save the Children, and Johnson & Johnson on this initiative to prevent preterm births in Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Mali. The Government will continue to seek opportunities where it can work with NGO’s, the private sector and others to help improve the health and reproductive rights of women and girls across the developing world,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Global Affairs Canada

“Born on Time is a bold collaboration that is tackling the challenge of reducing preterm births in a new way,” said Joy Marini, Executive Director, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health at Johnson & Johnson. “We have a long heritage of reducing preterm births in order to improve the chance of a healthier life for a newborn baby. We’re proud to invest in this unique partnership.”

FACTS

  • Premature birth has become the single greatest cause of under-five mortality, accounting for 18 per cent of all deaths (UNICEF)
  • Each year, approximately 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation), and this number is rising (WHO)
  • Three-quarters of deaths due to preterm birth complications could be saved with existing, cost-effective interventions. (WHO)
  • Preterm birth is caused by risk factors related to Lifestyle, Infection, Nutrition and Contraception (LINC) such as: short intervals between births, adolescent pregnancy, maternal malnutrition, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), chronic disease such as diabetes, poor psychological health, high stress and substance abuse.

View PDF Report

CONTACT

Katharine Harris

National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement

Save the Children Canada

Tel : +1-647 973 1185

Tel : +1-416 221 5501 x 295

Email : kharris@savethechildren.ca

Born On Time: A Public-Private Partnership to Prevent Preterm Birth brings together expertise and resources from World Vision, Plan International Canada, Save the Children, the Government of Canada and Johnson & Johnson. This key partnership is amplifying an international movement spearheaded by the United Nations’ MDG Health Alliance to help mothers deliver healthy babies on time. As a catalytic initiative, Born On Time supports the UN’s Every Newborn Action Plan, as well as the new Every Woman Every Child global strategy. With an intense focus in three countries (Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mali), Born On Time will also drive progress towards achieving the global goal for newborn survival (SDG 3.2).  For more information, visit bornontime.org

 

HISTORIC CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL RULING IS VITAL STEP IN RECONCILLIATION STATEMENT BY SAVE THE CHILDREN'S PATRICIA ERB
1/26/2016

Toronto, January 26, 2016 - Today the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has found that the federal government’s management and funding of its First Nations Child and Family Services “resulted in denials of services and created various adverse impacts for many First Nations children and families living on reserves.” This systemic discrimination has meant that vulnerable children were denied equitable access to culturally appropriate child protection and mental health supports because of who they are and where they lived.

This ruling will positively affect over 160,000 Indigenous children and their families on reserves across Canada.

“This is an historic decision and recognizes that the rights of Indigenous children living on reserve have been violated. That First Nations were forced to fight for these basic rights for their children is a profound disappointment but today is a day of celebration and points us in a new and better direction,” said Patricia Erb, Save the Children President and CEO.

Save the Children recognizes and thanks all those who worked so hard for this historic victory, in particular child advocate Cindy Blackstock. We urge the Canadian government to act swiftly to remedy these rights violations and to fully implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

For more information:

Katharine Harris

National Senior Manager, Communications

Save the Children

T: 416-221-5501 x 295

M: 647-973-1185

E: kharris@savethechildren.ca

IKEA CANADA CUSTOMERS RAISED MORE THAN $500,000 FOR SAVE THE CHILDREN AND UNICEF TO PROVIDE QUALITY EDUCATION TO CHILDREN LIVING IN POVERTY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
1/18/2016

As part of a global campaign, more than 12 million children now have better educational opportunities through IKEA Foundation, Save the Children and UNICEF partnership

TORONTO, January 18, 2016 – Today, IKEA Canada announces its results for its annual Soft Toys for Education Campaign where for every soft toy or children’s book sold from November 2, 2015 to December 26, 2015, the IKEA foundation donated €1 (approximately $1.56 CDN*) to Save the Children and UNICEF to provide quality education to children living in poverty in developing countries.

“At IKEA, we recognize that every child has the right to an education and through the Soft Toys for Education Campaign we’re having a significant impact educating the world’s most vulnerable children,” said Stefan Sjöstrand, President, IKEA Canada. “The success of this campaign is due to the ongoing engagement of both our customers and co-workers along with the incredible work that both Save the Children and UNICEF do.”

IKEA Canada also took this opportunity to give twice and positively affect our local communities, toy drives took place across the country with stores making donations to their local charities. To further encourage the act of giving, as part of our annual Share to Donate social media campaign, IKEA Canada was able to donate more than 1000 Soft Toys to CTV Toronto’s Toy Mountain to distribute toys to those less fortunate.

More than 12 million children in more than 46 countries have better schools, teachers and learning materials, thanks to a 13-year partnership between the IKEA Foundation, Save the Children and UNICEF. Since 2003, the IKEA Foundation’s ‘Soft Toys for Education’ campaign has contributed €88 million to Save the Children and UNICEF, helping to increase school attendance for some of the world’s most marginalized and vulnerable children. Funds have also helped train teachers, provide educational materials and improve child‑protection systems in schools and communities.

“Save the Children is extremely grateful for the partnership we have with the IKEA Foundation and the support we receive from IKEA employees and customers around the globe. Together, we have made an enormous difference for children with disabilities and children from ethnic minority groups, and Save the Children will not rest until all children have the opportunity to learn. Education is a human right and provides children with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive. It also saves lives, protects and builds peace,” said Patricia Erb, President & CEO, Save the Children.

“We are so grateful for the continued and invaluable support of the IKEA Foundation, IKEA co-workers and customers for the commitment they’ve shown over the past 13 years to help transform children’s lives through education,” said UNICEF President & CEO David Morley. “Every child deserves the opportunity to go to school and learn so that they may build a better future for themselves and their families. No child should be denied this opportunity because of poverty, disability, gender, conflict or disaster.”

Although the Soft Toys for Education campaign has ended its successful run, the IKEA Foundation will continue its commitment to UNICEF and Save the Children through ongoing grants in Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia in the areas of education, early-childhood care and development, child protection, adolescence and humanitarian response. 

About IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation (Stichting IKEA Foundation) is the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies. We aim to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and a sustainable family income, while helping these communities fight and cope with climate change. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org and www.facebook.com/IKEAfoundation.

About IKEA Canada

IKEA is a leading home furnishing retailer with 375 stores in more than 50 countries worldwide, which are visited by 884 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 12 stores, an eCommerce virtual store, Pick-Up and Order Points in Quebec City, QC and London, ON with four additional Pick-Up and Order Points opening spring 2016. Last year, IKEA Canada welcomed 25 million visitors to its stores and 75 million visitors to the IKEA.ca website. Founded in 1943, IKEA’s business philosophy is to offer a wide range of products of good design and function at prices so low, the majority of people can afford them. For more information on IKEA, please visit: www.IKEA.ca.

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world’s most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 55 million children in 2014. Learn more here: www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.

For further information, please contact:

IKEA Canada

Stephanie Kerr Corporate Press Officer:

Tel: 905-637-9440 ext. 6378

E-mail: stephanie.kerr@ikea.com

Save the Children

Katharine Harris National Senior Manager, Communications

Tel: 416-221-5501 ext. 295

E-mail: kharris@savethechildren.ca

UNICEF Canada

Tiffany Baggetta

Tel: 416-482-6552 ext. 8892

Email: tbaggaetta@unicef.ca

FORMER DANISH PRIME MINISTER HELLE THORNING-SCHMIDT APPOINTED TO LEAD SAVE THE CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL
1/14/2016

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016 - Save the Children International announces the appointment of Helle Thorning-Schmidt as its new Chief Executive. The former Danish Prime Minister replaces Jasmine Whitbread as head of the umbrella organisation for the Save the Children movement, the world's leading independent children's charity, with responsibility for programmes reaching over 55 million children in 120 countries.  

Sir Alan Parker, Chairman of Save the Children International, said:  

“We are very pleased to appoint a new CEO with a proven track record of international leadership and a passion to improve the world for children. As an organisation, we are dedicated to helping those children who need it most wherever they are in the world. There is a real opportunity to deliver further significant progress in the coming decade, particularly in the areas of child mortality, education and child protection. At the same time, we are being called on to respond to an increasing number of humanitarian crises affecting children all over the world.  

“In the 21st century, with all of the capabilities we now have, it is simply not right that so many children continue to suffer and die unnecessarily and to be held back from fulfilling their potential. Helle shares this conviction deeply and I believe that she can play a real role in helping to increase our impact and deliver real improvements for children. The Save the Children organisations around the world are working together to try to transform the future for the most vulnerable children, and Helle’s experience and capabilities will be a great asset as we look to deliver on this ambition.”  

Helle will take up her position on April 4th, and will be based at Save the Children International’s headquarters in London.

Commenting on her appointment, Helle Thorning-Schmidt said: “I am deeply honoured to be given the opportunity to lead Save the Children International.  

“In recent decades the world has made unprecedented progress in reducing child mortality, and the work of organisations like Save the Children has made a huge difference. But as we see every day, there is still much more to do to rescue children from suffering and danger and give them a future.”  

“Children’s protection, rights and development have always been close to my heart, and I look forward to doing everything I can to help us deliver on our bold but simple ambitions: that no child under five dies from preventable causes, all children get access to quality education and that no child should live with violence and abuse.  

“Save the Children has been at the forefront of fighting for children's rights since its foundation and I am delighted to follow in that tradition by building on Jasmine’s fine work. I couldn’t imagine a better cause and I look forward to meeting and working with our dedicated staff around the world.”  

For more information Media Contact

Katharine Harris

National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement

Save the Children Canada

Tel : +1-647-973-1185

Email : kharris@savethechildren.ca 

Notes to editors:  

1. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, 49, was Prime Minister and led a coalition government for a full parliamentary term from 2011 until 2015. She led the Social Democratic Party for 10 years. Helle was a member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2004, and previously worked as an international adviser to the Confederation of Trade Unions. During her time as Prime Minister she increased international aid spending to 0.83% of GDP. She has a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Copenhagen and a Master’s Degree in European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges. She was born in Copenhagen and her mother tongue is Danish. She is fluent in English and has a working knowledge of French. She is married to Stephen Kinnock, MP for Aberavon. They have two daughters.

2. In September 2012, the UN Secretary General invited Helle Thorning-Schmidt to be a Global Education Champion, promoting the Global Education First Initiative. In September 2015, along with 20 other world leaders, Thorning-Schmidt was appointed to the Education Financing Commission led by Mr. Gordon Brown.

3. Save the Children International was formed in 2010 to strengthen the organisation’s operational effectiveness. It delivers Save the Children’s programmes internationally, on behalf of the 30 member organizations, to ensure that the movement has the greatest possible impact for children. It has its main office in London but does not fundraise in the UK and is distinct from Save the Children UK. More information is available here: https://www.savethechildren.net/about-us  

4. Save the Children runs programmes that directly reach over 55 million children in around 120 countries every year, with more than 25,000 staff operating in some of the toughest places in the world. Save the Children manages an annual budget of over two billion USD.

5. Helle Thorning-Schmidt is taking over from Jasmine Whitbread, who was the CEO of Save the Children International. She stepped down in December after five years in the post.

SAVE THE CHILDREN WELCOMES MATCH DONATION EXTENSION FOR SYRIA CRISIS
1/7/2016

Toronto, January 7, 2016 - Today, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced that the federal government will extend its matching program for donations to the Syria Crisis. Save the Children applauds this extension of the government’s pledge to match up to $100 million of Canadians’ donations to this cause.

Canadians have truly risen to the challenge to support the resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees. As we welcome these new Canadians at airports and in communities across the country we can’t forget that for every family now safe there are millions of children and their families still suffering; under attack in Syria, fleeing violence and persecution, living as displaced persons or eking out existence in refugee camps. There are millions of children who today are not properly fed or sheltered, who are not safe. In the cold of winter more than ever, Canadians can help save the lives and improve the chances of these children.

“Save the Children is pleased that the government has extended its donation matching program for the Syria Crisis. With the world facing the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, children are suffering and at great risk. Support from countries like Canada is key to ensuring these children are fed, sheltered, educated and safe from abuse,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children.

UNHCR stated that as of November 2015, an estimated 7.5 million children have been affected by Syria’s conflict and more than 4 million people have fled the country. Children make up 51.1% of the refugee population – meaning there are an estimated 2,190,806 children living as refugees.

Save the Children is working in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon to bring emergency support including food, water, sanitation, shelter, warm clothing and health care to those in need. We also establish Child Friendly Spaces and work to provide education and schooling to children.

“We risk losing a whole generation of young Syrians – the same generation that will have to rebuild Syria once the conflict is finally over. Hundreds of thousands of children are missing years of education as the school systems in neighbouring countries are bursting at the seams and in need of much greater support,” said Patricia Erb.

Save the Children has been on the ground in Syria and surrounding regions since before the crisis began, and will continue to help children, families and those most vulnerable. We welcome this news from the federal government. We know that Canadians will continue to demonstrate their generosity to the children of Syria.

Donate Now:

https://savethechildren.ca/saverefugees

For additional information, please contact:

Katharine Harris, National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement

Save the Children 416 221 5501 x 295

647 973 1185

kharris@savethechildren.ca

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world’s most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 55 million children in 2014. Learn more here: www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

LONG-TERM PSYCHOLOGICAL RECOVERY OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN FLEEING SYRIAN CRISIS HANGS IN THE BALANCE
12/12/2015

December 8, 2015

LONG-TERM PSYCHOLOGICAL RECOVERY OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN FLEEING SYRIAN CRISIS HANGS IN THE BALANCE

The psychological recovery and long-term development of vulnerable children fleeing the Syrian crisis is in serious jeopardy due to a chronic lack of child protection funding, spiraling numbers of refugees, and severely over-stretched resources in host countries.

Inside Syria, a staggering quarter of all children are at risk of developing a mental health disorder, according to the United Nations 2016 Humanitarian Needs Overview, with the ever-mounting psychological needs of millions of displaced Syrian and Iraqi children still vastly under-met.

“The repercussions for the future mental health of an entire generation could be catastrophic,” warns Ian Rodgers, Country Director for Save the Children in Lebanon.

“In addition to the obvious psychological damage caused by witnessing traumatic events and extreme violence, there are a myriad of secondary, under-funded and often over-looked, daily causes of psychological and social damage once a displaced child arrives in a new community.”

A new Save the Children report, Childhood in the Shadow of War, provides a unique snapshot of the pressures and burdens of daily life in host communities as experienced by Syrian refugee children now living in Lebanon and the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and internally displaced (IDP) Iraqi children.

In Lebanon alone, a considerable portion of children have now been out of school for at least three years, and this year alone, around 200,000 will still be without any form of education and are growing up lacking even basic numeracy and literacy skills.

“Millions of families simply cannot access basic life-saving assistance such as food, shelter, and medical care and, due to their refugee status, many are unable to work legally and are reliant on ever-dwindling government and humanitarian agency provisions” continues Rodgers.

“For children in particular, being out of school for months or years, dealing with the acute tension and anxiety at home, as well as separation from friends and relatives, daily discrimination, child labour, early marriage, and living in insecure, poor parts of cities or towns, has a serious and profound impact on their mental and physical health.”

Staff at a Save the Children IDP camp in the Kurdistan region of Iraq estimated ten per cent of the children participating in the program have lost at least one parent. Rates of early marriage among Syrian girls in Jordan have increased, up from 25% in 2013 to 32% in 2014 (UNICEF). In Za’atari camp alone the rate of early marriage more than doubled over two years, from 12% in 2011 to 25% in 2013 (Save the Children).

None of these issues are being properly addressed, particularly the long-term impact on children who, before they have even arrived, have experienced significant distress.

“Leaving children untreated has a negative impact later on – they can become aggressive, depressed, and acquire phobias. Children are more resilient for treatment now, more than in adulthood,” says Save the Children psychologist, Reem Nasri.

Child protection is a life-saving response in any humanitarian emergency – but there are huge gaps in providing this much-needed service, with only 26 per cent of requested child protection funding for the Syria refugee crisis secured as of October 2015[1].

Ian Rodgers said “There is a frightening lack of child psychologists and other trained professionals in all neighbouring host countries and the emotional and psychological impact on children, now and in the future, is a huge concern.”

Media Contact:

Katharine Harris


National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement


Save the Children Canada


Tel : +1-647-973-1185


Email : kharris@savethechildren.ca

Additional Notes:

  • Over 150 children and adolescents, as well as a dozen caregivers in Lebanon and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, participated in the assessment and provide a unique snapshot of the pressures of life in host communities on Syrian refugee children. The group comprised of 100 Syrian children in Lebanon and Iraq and 53 displaced Iraqi children. This report built on earlier (additional) testimonies of 70 Syrian children.
  • The unrelenting conflict in Syria has killed an estimated 300,000 as well as killing close to 12,000 children[2]. The conflict has resulted in 4.29 million Syrian refugees.Over two million, or 51 per cent, of Syrian refugees are children under the age of 18 years.[3] These figures only reflect those who have managed to register with UNCHR[4] - actual numbers are thought to be higher. In Iraq, 3.2 million people are internally displaced.
  • Millions of people in Syria live in areas difficult to access with humanitarian aid, and an estimated 4.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance live in hard to reach and besieged areas.
  • Save the Children has been working in the region for decades and has mounted a robust response to the crisis within Syria, as well as in the neighbouring countries hosting the largest number of refugees. As the intensity of the crisis continues to increase, we at Save the Children recognise the need to intensify our efforts, as well as adapt them to changing needs.
  • As of September 2015, Save the Children has reached over two million children with critical services in Syria, as well as in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey – but the needs are increasing. 
  • [1] Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2015 – 2016. Regional Monthly Update – August 22015: Protection.
  • [1]Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, http://www.syriahr.com/en/2015/06/320000-people-killed-since-the-beginning-of-the-syrian-revolution/
  • [1] Save the Children. Syria Crisis Response Dashboard, updated 13 September 2015.
  • [1] Syria Regional Refugee Response Inter-agency Information Sharing Portal. http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php, accessed 11/08/2015

[1] Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2015 – 2016. Regional Monthly Update – August 22015: Protection.

[3] Save the Children. Syria Crisis Response Dashboard, updated 13 September 2015.

[4] Syria Regional Refugee Response Inter-agency Information Sharing Portal. http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php, accessed 11/08/2015.

 

Humanitarian Coalition welcomes steps in right direction with respect to Syrian refugees
11/30/2015

November 27, 2015

The Government of Canada’s announcements this week relating to the Syrian Refugee Crisis were welcome news for the Humanitarian Coalition and its members.

The $100 million to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in addition to the recommitment to matching donations from Canadians up to $100 million, is much needed as Syrian refugees prepare for winter.

In addition, the government’s focus on the most vulnerable refugees in its resettlement plan aligns with humanitarian priorities and shows a strong commitment to processing refugee claimants in line with its international obligations.

These are significant steps in the right direction and build on the Government of Canada’s promise to increase its international leadership role. Nevertheless, until the situation in Syria is resolved, the refugee crisis will not improve.

We therefore encourage the Government of Canada to increase its diplomatic engagement, to demand an end to abuses against women and children, to press for unhindered humanitarian access, to reignite the global effort to assert the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict agenda and to work to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

 

For more information



 

Media Contact

Katharine Harris


National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement


Save the Children Canada


Tel : +1-647-973-1185


Email : kharris@savethechildren.ca

 

CANADIAN AID AGENCIES CALL FOR A “NEW DEAL” FOR SYRIA’S REFUGEES
11/9/2015

(Toronto, ON, Nov. 9, 2015) -  The international community must agree to a bold new deal for Syria’s refugees if it is serious about tackling the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II, seven aid agencies warned today in a new report.

With no end to the conflict in sight and no prospect of safe return home, the new deal must provide more investment in Syria’s neighbours, which host more than four million refugees, and an end to restrictions that prevent refugees from working and in some cases living legally in these countries. At the same time, it must protect and strengthen their right to seek asylum.

“For over four years now, refugees have lived without knowing where the next meal comes from,” said Oxfam Canada’s Executive Director, Julie Delahanty. “Women and men, including former teachers, healthcare workers, and tradespeople among others are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and buy food and clothing for their families. As long as this happens people will continue to make the desperate and perilous journey to Europe, putting themselves at grave risk of innumerable human rights violations including the sexual abuse of women and children.”

She added: “Syria’s neighbors need more support and investment in order to cope with the refugee crisis within their borders. Canada has so far been generous, but when compared to countries like Lebanon - where a quarter of the population are refugees – we could do more. The new Government’s plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees is a good place to start.”

“We applaud recent commitments to resettle more refugees in Canada. However, more help is required to support the neighbouring countries hosting the overwhelming majority of Syrian refugees,” says Jacquelyn Wright, vice president of international programs for CARE Canada. “Many refugees have already used their savings and struggle to find work to support their families. Syria is a protracted crisis and there is a clear need for a long-term solution that supports both the refugees and host communities.”

The agencies argue that a new, creative long-term approach is needed. With the right help from international donors, including Canada, Syria’s neighbouring governments should develop policies that allow refugees to better support themselves financially without the risk of arrest by authorities. This would also allow refugees to contribute to the economy of the communities hosting them.

Unable to afford rent or food, and relying on dwindling aid, refugees are pushed into a spiral of poverty and debt.  Some 70 per cent of refugees in Lebanon lack the documents needed to stay in the country legally, and many refugees in Jordan outside of camps are struggling to access medical and education services because they lack updated documents.

“We risk losing a whole generation of young Syrians – the same generation that will have to rebuild Syria once the conflict is finally over. With adults and youth unable to earn a living, families are struggling to provide food and shelter. Hundreds of thousands of children are missing years of education as the school systems in neighbouring countries are bursting at the seams and need much greater support,” said Patricia Erb, CEO Save the Children.

“As refugee families continue to flow across borders– including into Canada - we need to offer a future of hope, safety and dignity.  Traditional aid is not enough – we must work together and prioritize support for host countries to provide jobs, housing and social services in the long-term,” said Michael Messenger, President, World Vision Canada.

Even with the right investment and policies, the scale of the crisis means that the most vulnerable refugees will need asylum outside of the region. Rich countries should provide a safe resettlement option for at least 10 per cent of refugees who are most in need, but so far they have only pledged to accept less than three per cent so far and waiting time is far too long.

Signatories:
1.            CARE
2.            Danish Refugee Council
3.            International Rescue Committee
4.            Norwegian Refugee Council
5.            Oxfam
6.            Save the Children
7.            World Vision International

Notes to editors:

For interviews contact:
Melanie Gallant, Oxfam Canada, 613-240-3047 or Melanie.gallant@oxfam.ca
Katharine Harris, Save the Children, 416 221 5501 x 295 or kharris@savethechildren.ca
Darcy Knoll, CARE Canada, 613.790.2134 or darcy.knoll@care.ca
Britt Hamilton, World Vision, 416-419-1321 or britt_hamilton@worldvision.ca

The full report is available for download here: Full Report

Lebanon is hosting more than one million refugees, 30% of its population, including almost 500,000 school-age children. Since January 2015 it has effectively closed its border to new refugees. Those who wish to obtain legal residency have to sign a pledge that they will not work, or find a Lebanese citizen to sponsor them. Hundreds of thousands are facing a choice between giving up their ability to work, or living without valid residency with all the risks that entails.

In Jordan, more than 83% of its more than 630,000 Syrian refugees live outside of camps, in towns and cities. Some 48% of Syrian refugees in host communities have not left the camps through the bail out system and face challenges remaining registered, accessing services and humanitarian assistance and registering birth, deaths and marriages. 99% of refugees who manage to find work have to do so in the informal sector, usually for extremely low wages.

In Turkey, which is hosting some 2 million Syrian refugees, some towns have seen their populations double. Refugees can get services where they arrive but unless for family reunification or medical reasons are often unable to move to urban areas where jobs are available. Around 600,000 Syrian refugees remain unregistered and cannot officially use most public services. Most are unable to work legally and end up in the informal economy, often in exploitative conditions.

In the Kurdish Region of Iraq, refugees in camps can get residency permits allowing them to work and access services – although these are difficult to get for refugees outside camps. Refugees in camps elsewhere in Iraq are unable to work.

In Egypt, there are almost 130,000 registered Syrian refugees but the government estimates there are almost double that number in the country. Only a tiny fraction has been able to obtain work permits due to the lengthy and costly process and quotas limiting the number of non-Egyptians in employment.

SAVE THE CHILDREN PARTNERS WITH UNICEF AND THE IKEA FOUNDATION FOR THE 13TH ANNUAL SOFT TOYS FOR EDUCATION CAMPAIGN.
10/29/2015

The Soft Toys for Education campaign aims to provide quality education to children living in poverty in some of the world’s poorest countries. For every soft toy or children’s book sold from November 8, 2015 until January 2, 2016, the IKEA Foundation donates €1 to Save the Children and UNICEF.

Last year IKEA Family invited customers’ children all around the world to design their dream soft toy. After receiving thousands of wonderful contributions, ten winners were chosen. The winning soft toys in the competition became patterns for the new collection named SAGOSKATT.

For over 12 years, the Soft Toys for Education campaign has raised nearly 77 million euros, reaching more than 11 million children through 99 projects in 46 countries.

For More Information Contact:

Katharine Harris
National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
Save the Children Canada
Tel : +1-647-973-1185
Email : kharris@savethechildren.ca

NEPAL QUAKE SIX MONTHS ON: 240,000 CHILDREN BEING SCHOOLED IN CLASSROOMS UNFIT FOR FREEZING WINTER CONDITIONS
10/24/2015

October 24, 2015 – Six months since the Nepal earthquake, almost a quarter million children are being schooled in classrooms unfit for freezing winter temperatures, warns Save the Children.

The child rights agency can also reveal that one million children have been left without permanent classrooms and another 171,400 children continue to require support to return to learning.

The immediate concern this winter is for children whose education may suffer because they have to endure plummeting sub-zero temperatures in temporary learning centres.

Almost 3,000 temporary learning centres were built quickly after the earthquake in April so that children could continue their education. With winter approaching Save the Children says funding is urgently needed to upgrade the temporary classrooms to protect children from harsh winter weather.

Save the Children’s Country Director for Nepal Delailah Borja explains, “We know how important education is to children affected by disaster. Therefore aid agencies quickly built temporary classrooms for thousands of school-aged children in Nepal. However, the slow progress in construction of permanent schools together with the onset of winter, mean that we need to act now to insulate and winterize classrooms. Winterization is imperative to ensure children remain in school and are protected from the weather while at school. Funding is urgently needed for this purpose."

For families in the mountainous and remote regions of Nepal, there is still an urgent requirement for basic food and shelter relief, says Save the Children. There is also a risk of families falling into debt because of the cost of construction of temporary shelters, pushing them into extreme poverty.

Save the Children stressed that urgent action is required to address shelter needs, for the community in general but in particular for those at greatest risk.

“Significant investment is needed to increase the local supply of trained technicians and construction workers to work with communities on safe and resilient construction techniques,” said Ms Borja.

“Households at high altitudes, and those people who have been forced to leave their homes and live in camps, are particularly at risk. Such high risk households must be provided with every assistance to ensure that they have adequate shelter for the winter, without needing to take on debts which they cannot possibly repay,” added Ms Borja.

For more information

Media Contact
Katharine Harris
National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
Save the Children Canada
Tel : +1-647-973-1185
Email : kharris@savethechildren.ca

SAVE THE CHILDREN CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO BOMBING OF MSF HOSPITAL IN KUNDUZ
10/7/2015

‘Save the Children condemns the bombing of the hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Kunduz, Afghanistan,’ says Michael McGrath, Asia regional director for Save the Children.

‘Twelve staff members and ten patients, including three children, were killed; 37 people were injured including 19 staff members. Save the Children extends their sincere condolence to the families and colleagues of those killed and injured.

‘Save the Children supports MSF’s call for a full and independent investigation, which provides a full accounting of the facts and circumstances, and results in steps being taken to ensure that this will not happen again.

‘We urge all parties to the conflict to respect the neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian workers and the safety of health facilities. The targeting of health facilities and killing of health workers and patients is a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law.

‘We are concerned that, in Afghanistan and in other conflict areas around the world, health workers face mounting threats, impeding their capacity to deliver essential health services to children and to their families.

‘Save the Children calls on all governments and armed forces to meet their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and to ensure the protection of health services. These services deliver much needed life-saving assistance to children and their families caught in conflict. Under no circumstances should they be targeted.’

Media Contact
Cicely McWilliam

Senior Advisor, 
Policy, Campaigns, Media 

Media Tel : +1-647-291-1683 

Email : cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

SAVE THE CHILDREN RESPONDS TO THE CHILD REFUGEE CRISIS
9/11/2015

"Children and families are on the move in unprecedented numbers, creating the highest level of displacement since World War II."

View the report here

 

#childrenwelcome

 

SAVE THE CHILDREN AND CARTER’S I OSHKOSH LAUNCH PARTNERSHIP TO SUPPORT INDIGENOUS CANADIAN MOTHERS AND CHILDREN
9/1/2015

Partnership a Canadian First for National Retailer

TORONTO, CANADA, September 01, 2015 – With the launch of a new partnership with Save the Children and Carter’s I OshKosh, the largest branded marketer in Canada of apparel exclusively for babies and young children, Canadians have a chance to help better the lives of young mothers and children in Indigenous communities across the country.

The partnership has kicked off with the launch of a back-to-school campaign, delivered through the 136 Carter’s I OshKosh retail outlets nationally. From late August until September 20th, customers have an opportunity to make a donation of $1 or more at the register to support this important cause.

The Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh brands, two of the most recognized brands of baby and children’s apparel in the marketplace, have been trusted by generations of families. A first-of-its-kind campaign for Carter’s I OshKosh in Canada, the company is directing all funds raised to Save the Children’s Canadian maternal and child health programs.

Save the Children Canada, the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivers programs to improve the lives of children in Canada and more than 120 countries worldwide. The Carter’s ı OshKosh partnership is a boost to Save the Children Canada’s role in delivering programs to better the lives of children and young mothers in Canada’s Indigenous communities.

About Carter’s, Inc. and Carter’s | OshKosh
Carter’s, Inc. is the largest branded marketer in the United States and Canada of apparel and related products exclusively for babies and young children. The Company owns the Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh brands, two of the most recognized brands in the marketplace.

Discover our quality baby, toddler and kids clothing essentials, sleepwear and accessories, offered at retail locations across Canada and online at cartersoshkosh.ca.

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world’s most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 143 million people in 2013. Learn more here: www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

For additional information, please contact:
Katharine Harris National Senior Manager, Communications, PR & Engagement
Save the Children Canada
Tel : +1-647-973-1185
Email : kharris@savethechildren.ca

SAVE THE CHILDREN READY TO RESPOND TO AFFECTED POPULATION IN MYANMAR FLOODS
8/4/2015

4th August 2015 - At least 150,000 people, including 60,000 children, have been affected by intense flooding in Myanmar, which so far has claimed the lives of 27 people. The government of Myanmar has declared a state of emergency in the states, of Chin, Rakhine, Magway and Sagaing. 

Save the Children today deployed assessment teams to the worst affected areas in Magway and Rakhine. 

Water was reported to be several metres high in some of the worst affected areas, destroying homes, schools and basic infrastructure. The meteorological department has forecast more rain in the coming days. Save the Children expects the death toll to rise, and urgent assistance will be needed for those who have been displaced from their homes.

Government emergency workers and UN agencies have also dispatched assessment teams to the worst affected areas. Save the Children has worked in Myanmar since 1995. The children’s aid agency has been one of the leading responders to major humanitarian crises in the country, including Cyclone Nargis in 2008 and Cyclone Giri in 2010. Save the Children’s programmes within the country support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and their families to access nutritious foods, health services, education, gainful employment, community protection, child rights, clean water and sanitation, malaria and TB control and HIV/AIDS treatment. Save the Children has presence in all affected states and divisions. 

Media Contacts

Cicely McWilliam
Senior Advisor, 
Policy, Campaigns, Media 
Media Tel : +1-647-291-1683 
Email : cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca 

 

 

 

CHILD MALNUTRITION LEVELS SOAR IN TANZANIAN REFUGEE CAMP AS BURUNDIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION APPROACHES - SAVE THE CHILDREN
7/21/2015

21 July, 2015 – Kasulu, Tanzania - Acute child malnutrition cases in Nyarugusu refugee camp on the border of Tanzania and Burundi are reaching critical levels, with the settlement’s specialist therapeutic unit for severely malnourished children now flooded with new cases.

In one day alone, more than 30 malnourished Burundian children were admitted and showing secondary complications including malaria, pneumonia, worms, anaemia and diarrhoea. At least four known deaths of malnourished infants have been recorded so far.

The number of children attending emergency feeding programmes is also spiralling as more and more families flee the escalating political violence preceding the strongly contested Burundian Presidential elections, set to take placed on Tuesday 21st July. An estimated 25,000 people have fled to the Tanzanian border camp in the last month alone, bringing the total number of Burundian refugees to around 78,000; a fifth of which are thought to be children under five.

“If the number of malnourished children arriving continues to climb, the current medical facilities in the camp will be unable to cope,” says Lisa Parrott Acting Country Director, Save the Children Tanzania.

“Refugee families arriving in Nyarugusu camp have been turning up in much worse shape than they were before, many having suffered extremely stressful journeys to reach here. More mobile clinics are desperately needed.”

Tensions are running high between new arrivals and the long-established refugee population from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), most of whom arrived in 1996 following the Rwandan genocide and the subsequent regional instability.

Rivalries over food and basic supplies such as soap, cooking pots and blankets are intensifying, with many schools in the camp now being used to house Burundian refugees, feeding fears that when the new school terms begins there will be no room for classes.

For more information:

Media Contacts

Cicely McWilliam
Senior Advisor,
Policy, Campaigns,
Media Tel : +1-647-291-1683
Email : cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

 

URGENT ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT WORKING CHILDREN DUE TO SYRIAN CRISIS: SAVE THE CHILDREN AND UNICEF
7/2/2015

AMMAN, 2 July 2015 - The conflict and humanitarian crisis in Syria are pushing an ever increasing number of children into exploitation in the labour market, and much more needs to be done to reverse the trend, according to a new report released by Save the Children and UNICEF.

The report shows that inside Syria, children are now contributing to the family income in more than three quarters of surveyed households1,  In Jordan, close to half of all Syrian refugee children are now the joint or sole family breadwinners in surveyed households, while in some parts of Lebanon, children as young as six years old are reportedly working2.  

The most vulnerable of all working children are those involved in armed conflict, commercial sexual exploitation and illicit activities including organised begging and child trafficking. 

“The Syria crisis has dramatically reduced family livelihood opportunities and impoverished millions of households in the region, resulting in child labour reaching critical levels,” says Dr. Roger Hearn, Regional Director for Save the Children in the Middle East and Eurasia. 

“As families become increasingly desperate, children are working primarily for their survival. Whether in Syria or neighbouring countries, they are becoming main economic players.”

The report finds that a spiralling number of children are employed in harmful working conditions, risking serious damage to their health and wellbeing.

“Exploitative and dangerous child labour hinders children’s growth and development as they toil for long hours with little pay, often in extremely hazardous and unhealthy environments,” says Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Carrying heavy loads, being exposed to pesticides and toxic chemicals, and working long hours – these are just some of the hazards working children face every day around the region.”  

Three out of four working children surveyed in Jordan’s vast Za’atari refugee camp have reported health problems at work, according to the report3.  A further 22 per cent of children casually employed in the agricultural sector in Mafraq and the Jordan Valley have also been injured while working4

Moreover, children who work are more likely to drop out of school – adding to fears of a “lost generation” of Syrian children. 

UNICEF and Save the Children call on partners and champions of the No Lost Generation Initiative, the wider international community, host governments, and civil society to undertake a series of measures to address child labour inside Syria and in countries affected by the humanitarian crisis.

  • Improve access to livelihoods including through making more funding available for income-generating activities
  • Provide quality and safe education for all children impacted by the crisis
  • Prioritise ending the worst forms of child labour
  • Invest in strengthening national and community based child protection systems and services 

“Syria’s children are paying a heavy price for the world’s failure to put an end to the conflict”, the report concludes. 

    View The Report Here

Small Hands Heavy Burdens

 

For more information: 

Media Contact
Cicely McWilliam
Senior Advisor, Policy, Campaigns, Media
Tel : +1-647-291-1683
Email : cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

References

  1. CPWG, Syria Child Protection Assessment, 2013
  2. A rapid assessment on child labour in Lebanon p. 37 http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---arabstates/---ro-beirut/documents/genericdocument/wcms_210579.pdf
  3. UNICEF and SCI, 2014, Baseline Assessment of Child Labour among Syrian Refugees in Za’atari Refugee Camp Jordan.
  4. ILO, ‘Rapid assessment on child labour in the agricultural sector in Mafraq and the Jordan Valley’ (Ghor), June 2012-February 2014, p. 52
  5. No Lost Generation initiative http://nolostgeneration.org/
  6. http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php

 

 

Thousands of vulnerable unaccompanied children arriving on Mediterranean rescue boats
6/9/2015

Italy is struggling to cope with the needs of vulnerable unaccompanied children, who have made the dangerous journey to Europe alone. At least 3,358 children have arrived without family or guardians since the start of the year.

Unaccompanied children are at the greatest risk from people traffickers. Some are being forced into manual labour, domestic work, drug smuggling and prostitution.

 Save the Children spoke to seven lone Nigerian girls who arrived on HMS Bulwark on Monday night – they had not paid money for their journey and did not know they were in Italy, suggesting they may have been trafficked.

 It is crucial that vulnerable children like these are placed in safe centres where they can be protected. But Italy’s migrant children’s centres are overwhelmed with the demand and finding appropriate places for unaccompanied minors – including in terms of identification of the best long term solution for them - is increasingly difficult.

“European governments showed leadership by supporting the Italian Government in rescue operations in the Mediterranean – but they must think about what happens to vulnerable children when they get off the boats,” says Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada. “For many of these children, their journey has only just begun. We have a brief window of opportunity to save them from people traffickers when they land in Italy, before they disappear into a criminal underworld. Italy must be given more support to protect every unaccompanied child, at the point of arrival, and beyond. EU governments must share the responsibility for the care and protection of vulnerable children who cross the Mediterranean – especially victims of trafficking and violence.”

 To prevent thousands of vulnerable migrants – including children – from becoming victims of violence, abuse, exploitation, and risking their lives to make the perilous journey to Europe, Save the Children is calling on Member States to strengthen resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes, as well as other safe and legal routes for migration to the EU.

Save the Children is working in Sicily (including Lampedusa), Calabria and Apulia, providing support to children and families as they arrive, including legal advice. In Rome and Milan, where many migrants travel through, Save the Children runs day centres and night shelters for vulnerable young people.  

 

 

THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN FLEEING BURUNDI CONFLICT ALONE
6/8/2015

More than 2,300 children fleeing escalating political violence in Burundi have made the long and dangerous journey to regional refugee camps without their parents over the last six weeks.

 Since the end of April, unaccompanied children have travelled for up to a week, mostly on foot, to reach the temporary refugee camps in Rwanda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Uganda.

 It is expected that many more will leave Burundi as the risk of violence escalates in the run up to the Presidential elections, originally scheduled for the end of June, but postponed this week due to ongoing civilian protests and national security concerns.

 “Often sent ahead by their desperate parents, who stay behind to protect family homes and property from looting, the number of vulnerable children arriving alone or separated from their families is unprecedented,” warns Edwin Kuria, operations manager for Save the Children in East Africa.

We are hugely concerned for the welfare of those risking this arduous journey, especially when seeing such young children arriving in the camps. Many are arriving without shoes and nothing but the clothes they are wearing.”

 Even if the children reach the over-populated refugee camps without incident, their safety is not guaranteed, with many refugees reporting acts of violence, harassment, and intimidation, allegedly carried out by local militias.

 "With no schools or play centres to attend, some children are working, collecting firewood, or digging pit latrines, which are both unsafe and laborious jobs for children,” Kuria says.

 In Rwanda’s Mahama Camp there are also concerns around water and shelter provision, with long queues of up to six hours every day to collect limited fresh water supplies.

Likewise, in Tanzania the health facilities at Nyarugusu Camp are overwhelmed due to the influx of new arrivals and the closure of two wards following a cholera outbreak. The numbers of daily medical consultations have more than doubled since the arrival of thousands of Burundian refugees, and the demand for antenatal consultations has increased six-fold.

Save the Children is urgently expanding operations in Tanzania, Rwanda and DRC, where teams are working in refugee camps in response to the crisis, including providing food and household distributions for the most vulnerable refugees, including unaccompanied children and child-headed households, and helping with access to vital services.

 

 

G7 – SURVIVAL OF 17,000 CHILDREN AT RISK EVERY DAY IF LEADERS FAIL TO TAKE ACTION
6/5/2015

The survival of 17,000 children and 800 mothers is at stake every day if leaders and heads of state do not take decisive action at the 41st G7 summit at Schloss Elmau on June 7 - 8, warns Save the Children.

“We have the end of preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030 within sight, but it is critical for G7 leaders to make ambitious political and financial commitments this year to help end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths for good,” says Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada. "G7 leaders must send a clear signal ahead of the Financing for Development (FFD) conference in July in Addis Ababa, and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September in New York, by endorsing these goals or we risk stalling vital progress.”

Despite the fact that the world has halved the number of preventable child deaths since 1990, an estimated 6.3 million children under five-years-old and 289,000 women still die from preventable diseases and complications every single year.

Recent Save the Children research shows that far too many countries fall short of the basic resources and services needed to provide access to even rudimentary healthcare, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable.

Save the Children's Wake Up report [i] found that only 16 of the 75 developing countries reviewed met the US$86 annual target per person needed to deliver an essential package of health services. Germany, by contrast, spends US$3,572 per person every year.

“The Ebola crisis has been a wake-up call - even before the outbreak, Liberia had just one health worker for every 3,472 people and only 51 doctors for the whole country. By contrast, the UK has one health worker for every 88 people, and Germany one health worker for every 65 people.

We need to support countries in building sustainable and resilient health systems, particularly those devastated by Ebola; work towards universal health coverage; accelerate progress towards the six globally agreed World Health Assembly nutrition targets; and ensure that funding gaps are closed by both donors and national governments, including by tackling tax avoidance.

The G7 leaders must also ensure that the post-2015 framework will be financed, monitored and implemented in every country, for all people,” says Erb.

In other research Save the Children has also discovered large gaps in maternal and child survival rates within cities[ii], as well as between[iii] countries and regions. 

Notes to editors

[i] A Wake-up Call - Lessons of Ebola for the World's Health Systems (http://www.savethechildren.org/atf/cf/%7B9def2ebe-10ae-432c-9bd0-df91d2eba74a%7D/WAKE%20UP%20CALL%20REPORT%20PDF.PDF

[ii] State of the World's Mothers 2015 (https://www.savethechildren.net/state-worlds-mothers-2015),

[iii] The Report "The Lottery of Birth" (http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/resources/online-library/lottery-birth) highlights inequalities in survival rates within countries.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Save the Children urges for immediate investigation of mass atrocities in Unity State, South Sudan
5/19/2015

Save the Children is horrified and deeply saddened by reports of the killing, maiming, rape and abduction of children in Unity State, South Sudan, in the last two weeks. We are particularly disturbed by the deliberate targeting of children by armed groups, the on-going recruitment of children into these armed groups, and the continued reports of the rape of children by armed groups.

These acts constitute grave violations against children under UN Security Resolution 1612 and Save the Children calls upon all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians, including children, and to uphold all principles enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was ratified in South Sudan less than two weeks ago.

Save the Children joins UNICEF in calling for an urgent investigation into these atrocities to ensure those responsible are held accountable, and for full and unhindered access for humanitarian workers into affected areas to reach children who have been cut-off by recent conflict.

Witness reports from survivors confirm that girls as young as seven-years-old were raped and killed, and that boys aged as young as 10 were forcibly recruited to join the fighting. Further reports suggest that children were also the perpetrators of violence - armed boys in military and civilian clothing were involved in attacks, including the killing of civilians.

Owing to on-going conflict in Unity State, two NGO partners have been forced to withdraw their teams from field sites where they were giving crucial support to 875 unaccompanied and separated children whom we are no longer able to reach.

More than 13,000 children have been recruited into armed groups on both sides of this conflict and Save the Children continues to call on all armed groups for their immediate and unconditional release.

 

Second deadly quake risks emotional scarring for hundreds of thousands of children
5/13/2015

It could take years for some children affected by two deadly earthquakes in Nepal to emotionally recover from the disasters, fears Save the Children as aid agencies work around the clock to prepare communities for the upcoming monsoon season.

 “Save the Children is extremely concerned about the emotional wellbeing of children affected by these two earthquakes, and the fear and distress they will feeling after having their lives ripped out from beneath them,” Save the Children Country Director Delilah Borja said.

 “The second quake in particular has created a new level of terrifying uncertainty as those affected must now ask themselves if another deadly earthquake is coming.

 “Families are opting to sleep in tents, makeshift shelters or out in the open once again rather than at home, either because their homes have been damaged or destroyed or because they are afraid of more aftershocks or another quake. In Kathmandu there are tents and tarpaulins seemingly pitched everywhere. The golf course has become a tent city.”

 The Government of Nepal is reporting that at least 65 people have died and nearly 2,000 have been injured following second quake, just two weeks after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake killed over 8,000 people.

 Aid agencies like Save the Children are racing against time to reach the most vulnerable families ahead of the monsoon season, which is due to start within four to six weeks.

 “Hundreds of thousands of people could still be homeless when the monsoon rains start, which has the potential to cause a new humanitarian crisis as the risk of disease and illness increases,” Ms Borja said.

 “Save the Children is urgently working to distribute temporary shelter, food and water to those worst affected by the earthquakes, even via helicopter and donkey, and has already reached over 76,000 people. We need to be able to use morehelicopters, especially in remote areas, to support our relief effort.”

 Save the Children has been working in Nepal since 1976, focusing on education, especially early childhood development and primary education, as well as basic health, including maternal child health and HIV and AIDS prevention and care. The aid agency runs programs in 63 districts of Nepal.

 

MEDIA ADVISORY: QUAKE DEATH TOLL GROWS AS RESCUE OPERATIONS BEGIN IN NEPAL
5/12/2015

The Government of Nepal  has reported that at least 42 people have been killed and 1,129 injured in a major 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Nepal today, just two weeks after more than 8,000 people were killed in a devastating quake.

 Sanjana Shrestha from Save the Children Nepal said: “The effect of this latest earthquake is deeply felt, and is setting people back psychologically, as we were all trying to creep back to some sort of normal life. Children and families in the worst affected areas are understandably terrified, with many sleeping outside tonight for fear of falling debris from buildings or further aftershocks.

Just days ago a prepositioned plane filled with 44 tonnes of tarpaulins, tents, hygiene kits, household kits and other supplies left Manila and has now arrived in Nepal, so we are well placed to scale up our response. With the monsoon rains due in a matter of weeks, we must respond to people’s needs as quickly as possible.”

 Save the Children is now assessing the situation on the ground to find out what impact the second earthquake has had on families.

 Thirty two of Nepal’s 75 districts have reportedly been hit and there have been at least a dozen landslides in six separate districts, hampering existing aid deliveries and vital medical responses.  

 Dolakha and Sindhupalchok are thought to be the worst affected areas, with an estimated 90% of homes reportedly destroyed in Dolakha, where injured civilians are currently being airlifted by military helicopters  to the main hospital in Kathmandu, with 70 casualties already admitted and many more expected through the night. Fears are growing that many more people may be buried beneath collapsed buildings and landslides.

 The Ministry of Education has reportedly declared that schools will remain closed until 29th May.

 The agency has already reached 67,000 people through our original response, distributing vital items including tarpaulins and hygiene kits, and working to set up mobile health clinics to provide basic primary health care.

 

MEDIA ADVISORY: Nepal hit by 7.4 magnitude earthquake – Save the Children staff in Kathmandu available for media interviews
5/12/2015

A major earthquake has struck eastern Nepal, two weeks after more than 8,000 people were killed in a devastating quake. The US Geological Survey said it had a magnitude of 7.4. An earthquake on 25 April, centred in western Nepal, had a magnitude of 7.8.

Save  the  Children's teams are on the ground in Kathmandu and available for interviews. 

Please contact:
Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
+1647-631-3862
kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

Save the Children congratulates Liberia for becoming Ebola-free
5/9/2015

Save the Children congratulates Liberia for becoming Ebola-free today after 42 days of no new cases.

“I want to personally commend President Sirleaf and the people of Liberia for achieving this significant milestone,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada. “While the battle against Ebola is not over yet, this breakthrough gives us hope that this is, indeed, a winnable fight.”

According to the World Health Organization, West Africa has reported the lowest weekly total of new cases of Ebola this year. However, it is important for the international community not to rest on its laurels until all countries in the region are declared Ebola-free.

“While I am confident that we can get to zero cases next in Guinea and Sierra Leone, we should be mindful that the hard part is just beginning," Erb added. “Rebuilding these three countries, which have been decimated by this unprecedented outbreak, will require untold resources. It’s vital we keep the spotlight on West Africa for the foreseeable future.”

Save the Children remains committed to working with the governments of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to restore and improve essential health services, invest in robust health systems and outbreak detection & management, break down stigmas around Ebola survivors and orphans, and make up for lost time in schools. 

For more information on Save the Children’s Ebola response, please visit www.savethechildren.org/ebola

 

Indigenous Mothers and Babies suffer greatest risks in Canada
5/5/2015

 Save the Children finds significant child and maternal survival discrepancies for the urban poor

Canada continues its descent in the global rankings of best and worst places for mothers, slipping two places to 20th out of 179 surveyed countries, reveals Save the Children’s 16th annual State of the World’s Mothers report.

Norway rose to the top of the list, closely followed by other Nordic countries, while Somalia remained last for the second year running, with all but two of the 11 bottom-ranked countries in the world in West and Central Africa.

“We urgently need to close the gap in life chances for mothers and children so that – no matter where they live - everyone has a fair chance to survive and fulfil their potential,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada.

The 2015 report found that in Canada the correlation between racial, income inequality and poor health outcomes is clear. In Canada, areas with a large Indigenous population consistently represented the highest maternal and infant mortality rates, such as Winnipeg’s Port Douglas or downtown core which has an infant mortality rate at 7.3 to 7.4 deaths per 1,000 live births. In Saskatchewan, mothers living in impoverished neighbourhoods, with significant Indigenous populations, experience the loss of a child at 1.5 times the rate of mothers in more affluent neighbourhoods. A 15-year analysis of infant mortality rates in highest-and-lowest-income neighbourhoods in urban British Columbia found infant mortality rates were two-thirds higher in the poorer neighbourhoods and that the gaps did not narrow over this time period.

This year’s report also evaluates the devastating health disparities between the rich and poor living in some of our major cities around the world, finding that while home to the wealthiest and healthiest people in a country, they are also home to some of the poorest and most marginalised families on earth. For example, women in the United States face a shocking one in 1,800 lifetime risk of maternal death - the worst performance of any developed country in the world.

 “For the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. People are often drawn to cities by the prospect of a better life for their children, but many cities around the world are unable to keep up with dramatic growth, leaving hundreds of millions of mothers and children in cities without access to essential health services and the clean water they need to survive and stay healthy,” said Erb. “If the world’s going to complete the task of ending preventable child and maternal deaths, we have to find better ways of getting health care to urban populations, regardless of income. For babies born in many of the world’s fast-growing cities, it’s survival of the richest.”

The 10 countries showing the greatest survival divide between wealthy and poor urban children are: Rwanda, Cambodia, Kenya, Vietnam, Peru, India, Madagascar, Ghana, Bangladesh and Nigeria

Survival gaps, in relative terms, have roughly doubled in the cities of Kenya, Rwanda, and Malawi despite these countries’ overall success in saving more children’s lives.

The gap between the health of the richest and poorest is just as stark in big cities in some of the wealthiest nations, according to the report.

In a ranking of child survival in 25 capital cities in the world’s wealthiest countries, Washington, D.C. came last, followed closely by Vienna (Austria), Bern (Switzerland), Warsaw (Poland) and Athens (Greece).

Leading the list of capitals where babies are most likely to survive are Prague (Czech Republic), Stockholm (Sweden), Oslo (Norway) Tokyo (Japan), and Lisbon (Portugal).

The report has also uncovered some good news, identifying a number of cities that are making significant survival gains city-wide for even the poorest mothers and children, including Kampala (Uganda), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia); Cairo (Egypt); Guatemala City (Guatemala); Manila (Philippines); and Phnom Penh (Cambodia).

These cities are working to strengthen health systems, increase maternal and pediatric health awareness, and make healthcare more accessible and affordable to the poorest urban families.

“The survival of millions of children in cities should not be a privilege for the rich but guaranteed for all,” said Erb. “We are calling on municipal and national leaders to put the health needs of mothers and children at the top of their agendas, and make universal quality health care a reality.” 

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For further information or to arrange interviews please contact
Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
647-631-3862
kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

Notes to editors

  • The full ‘State of the World’s Mothers : The Urban Disadvantage’ report is available here.
  • In much of the world, more children than ever before are living to see their fifth birthday. Today, around 17,000 fewer children die every day compared to 25 years ago (1990), and the global under-5 mortality rate has been cut nearly in half, from 90 to 46 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Rankings reflect a composite score derived from five different indicators related to maternal well-being - maternal health; children's well-being; educational status; economic status; and political status.

 

260,000 children homeless in Nepal
5/1/2015

One week on from the deadly earthquake in Nepal, Save the Children warns that more than a quarter of a million children face months sleeping out in harsh conditions after their houses were destroyed.

The charity is warning that in the most remote mountainous regions, only reachable currently by helicopter, children and babies are sleeping outdoors without any protection from the cold night-time temperatures and heavy rainfall.

In more accessible areas tarpaulins, blankets and baby kits have been distributed in temporary displacement camps, but children remain vulnerable to disease from the cold and unsanitary conditions they are living in.

Kesang, a first time mother speaking from a maternity ward, said she was terrified of taking her new born baby back to sleep outside. "We only have a plastic sheet to cover us and the ground easily becomes flooded – we have to stay standing all night. Disease spreads easily in these conditions, I'm really worried that my baby and I will get sick."

Parents sleeping outside are reporting fevers, outbreaks of diarrhoea and the risk of pneumonia. These is also a serious risk from asbestos – many homes and offices in Nepal were built using asbestos and the earthquake has exposed it.

Delailah Borja, Save the Children's Country Director in Nepal, said: "A week on from the earthquake, the full scale of the devastation is just becoming clear. Many of these 260,000 children have lost everything – their homes, their warm clothes and tragically sometimes their families."

"The risk of disease outbreaks and exposure are very real, especially for young children. That is why we are moving fast to get hygiene kits, tarpaulins and warm children's sleeping bags out to everyone who needs it."

Save the Children has distributed much of its existing in-country emergency relief stock, reaching thousands of people with shelter kits, baby clothes, cooking utensils and more. Three planes and several trucks have been loaded with more supplies in India, Dubai and Philippines and have begun to arrive in Nepal.

The organisation is also now setting up Child Friendly Spaces for children to play and be safe in the displacement camps that have sprung up across the affected areas.

 

Humanitarian Coalition Agencies Providing Assistance to Nepal Earthquake Survivors
4/29/2015

The member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition (CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada, and Save the Children Canada) are on the ground in Nepal, assisting survivors of last weekend’s earthquake. With the number of casualties passing the 5000 mark and UN estimates of eight million people being affected, the task is daunting. But years of experience in the region and solid partnerships with local organizations mean that our agencies are already having a tangible impact.

They are assessing the needs of thousands of people affected by the disaster and providing a wide range of emergency items and services, such as shelters, blankets, clean water and sanitation supplies, water storage units, food, medical aid, baby kits, and other essentials. Because children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable in the aftermath of natural disasters, special attention is given to their nutrition needs and to protection measures.

The large scale devastation has wreaked havoc with roads and infrastructure, and the Kathmandu airport is struggling with much heavier traffic than it is designed to handle. But despite immense logistical and communication challenges, work continues day and night to reach people in remote areas.

Together, the member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition are responding and committed to helping the people of Nepal through the relief and recovery phases.

5,000 schools estimated destroyed in Nepal quake, as aid distribution continues in hardest-hit areas
4/29/2015

As the scale of the devastation wrought by Saturday's deadly earthquake in Nepal continues to emerge, nearly 5,000 schools are estimated to have been completely destroyed – which is expected to have a devastating long-term impact on the lives of children, says Save the Children.

In Gorkha alone, Save the Children staff estimates that 90% of the district’s 500 schools have been destroyed or badly damaged, affecting 75,000 school children.
 

“Nepal's children will need the help of the international community to rebuild 5,000 destroyed schools and repair those that have been damaged – otherwise, this disaster threatens to deprive thousands of children of their basic right to education for months, or even years to come," says Roger Hodgson, Deputy Country Director for Save the Children in Nepal.

“A routine school environment is one of the best ways to return children to a sense of normality and to talk about their experiences with their peers, helping them to recover from the trauma of the disaster.”

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of children spent a fourth night sleeping outdoors in the pouring rain, unable or simply too afraid to return to their homes. Many sustained injuries in the earthquake or have seen their family members hurt or killed.

“At least 11 villages in Gorkha district have been completed demolished – including 60% of health centres and 80% of households – leaving desperate people and families braving the elements without any shelter,” says Lynette Lim, Communications Coordinator for Save the Children, in Gorkha. “We are doing everything we can to provide the most vulnerable with much-needed materials for temporary shelter, as well tarpaulins.”

Save the Children is distributing aid in some of the worst-affected areas of Nepal, including Gorkha and Kathmandu Valley. Despite challenges on the ground, the team is bringing in extra supplies via air and road to replenish diminishing stocks. Currently, 136 tonnes of aid are due to land in the country in the next few days – including jerry cans, buckets, plastic sheeting, soap and medical equipment, along with thousands of blankets and tarpaulins arriving by road from India.

 

Save the Children commends the Government of Canada’s commitment of a Match Fund to support emergency response in Nepal
4/27/2015

The Government of Canada has announced that they will match dollar-for-dollar gifts donated to Canadian organizations until May 25, 2015 to support the victims of the powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated Nepal on April 25, 2015.

“Canada had demonstrated leadership during moments of humanitarian crisis and this is a continuation of such leadership,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada. “Save the Children is estimating that nearly two million children have been affected by this deadly earthquake.  We know that children are the most vulnerable in an emergency situation and they urgently need our help and the Government of Canada’s commitment will allow us to reach children and their families.”

Save the Children is on-the-ground delivering life-saving aid to some of the hardest hitregions in Nepal. The charity will help to provide shelter, protection, clothing, clean water and urgently-needed food to children and their families. Save the Children has been working in Nepal since 1976.

Save the Children is proud to be part of the Humanitarian Coalition.

 

Nearly two million children affected by Nepal earthquake, as Save the Children begins aid distribution
4/27/2015

With nearly two million children feared affected by Saturday’s deadly earthquake in Nepal – which has claimed more 3,500 lives to date – Save the Children has begun the distribution of much-needed aid in Kathmandu Valley.

“As the sheer devastation of the recent earthquake becomes clearer, we know that children have been the most affected by this disaster,” says Roger Hodgson, Deputy Country Director for Save the Children in Nepal.

“Despite the difficulties in reaching some of the hardest-hit regions, Save the Children is mobilising much-needed items to help these children and their families. Helping those most affected by this disaster will continue to be our top priority in the coming days, weeks and months.”

To assist those displaced by the quake, the charity has begun the delivery of 136 tarpaulins in Kathmandu, while in the earthquake-affected Bhaktapur district, 180 baby packs – which include children’s clothes, blankets and soap – are being distributed to those in need. Save the Children will also begin distributing many more items to some of the hardest-hit regions outside Kathmandu Valley, including Gorkha and Sindhupalchowk districts.

The charity has launched a fundraising campaign with the goal of raising 50 million USD to assist with its aid efforts.

 

Humanitarian Coalition Launches Joint Appeal for Survivors of Nepal Earthquake
4/26/2015

The Humanitarian Coalition is launching a national joint appeal to help the victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal. The reports of deaths, injuries, and extensive damage caused to people's homes and livelihoods are making it clear that this is a disaster of immense and growing scale. So far, more than 2,200 are confirmed dead.

Our member agencies have been working in Nepal and the region for decades alongside local partner organizations. They are on the ground assessing the needs of the thousands of people affected by the earthquake and preparing to provide emergency assistance in the form of shelter, clean water, food, medical aid, and other essentials.

Together, we are responding and will continue to help the people of Nepal in this hour of need.

The generous support of Canadians is essential for relief efforts to have an impact and reach stranded families, children who have been separated from their parents, and the elderly, all of whom are scattered across several remote communities. As the Monsoon season approaches, the precarious situation of survivors is likely to get worse.

The Humanitarian Coalition is asking all Canadians who can help to make a donations to support the relief and recovery efforts of our member agencies.

The Humanitarian Coalition is Canada's only joint appeal mechanism for international disasters and emergencies. It is made up of five leading humanitarian agencies: CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada, and Save the Children Canada. Collectively, they are present in 120 countries. Together, saving more lives.www.together.ca

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Death count continues to rise in Nepal: Save the Children mobilizes relief effort
4/26/2015

The death toll after Saturday’s earthquake continues to raise overnight in Nepal. 

The count is now over 1,800 people killed and 4,700 injured. Save the Children is concerned that the death toll is likely to continue rising, as the day progresses and information from some of the affected districts become available.

“Shelter assistance is urgently needed. Many families have their houses destroyed or damaged and have to stay outside. Nights are cold”, says Roger Hodgson, Deputy Country Director for Save the Children in Nepal.

“We also need to provide clean water urgently. Access to clean water is a recurrent problem in many parts of Nepal, even in normal time”, adds Hodgson.

“We are particularly concerned by the situation in some of the most affected districts outside of the Kathmandu Valley. Information coming from these districts is still limited. We are sending assessment teams to these areas” Hodgson says.

Save the Children has some emergency kits, hygiene materials and tarpaulins already in Nepal and ready for distribution. “We hope to start distribution to the affected families as soon as possible.

"The earthquake and aftershocks are an important source of stress for the survivors, and particularly for children. Psychological support for children and their families should rapidly be established," Hodgson added.

 

Launch of Joint Appeal for Survivors of Nepal Earthquake
4/25/2015

As a member of the Humanitarian Coalition Save the Children is launching a national joint appeal to help the victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal. The reports of deaths, injuries, and extensive damage caused to people’s homes and livelihoods are making it clear that this is a disaster of immense and growing scale.

Our member agencies have been working in Nepal and the region for decades alongside local partner organizations. They are on the ground assessing the needs of the thousands of people affected by the earthquake and providing emergency assistance in the form of shelter, clean water, food, medical aid, and other essentials.

Together, we are responding and will continue to help the people of Nepal in this hour of need.

The generous support of Canadians is essential for relief efforts to have an impact and reach stranded families, children who have been separated from their parents, and the elderly, all of whom are scattered across several remote communities. As the Monsoon season approaches, the precarious situation of survivors is likely to get worse.

 

 

Nepal Earthquake
4/25/2015

A powerful (7.5 - 7.9 magnitude, reports vary) earthquake has hit Nepal this morning, leaving at least 150 people confirmed dead. In India, there have been some casualties in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The epicentre of the massive quake was 80km (50 miles) east of Pokhara, approximately half way between the town and the capital Kathmandu.

Strong tremors have been felt as far away as Delhi.

Initial reports indicate significant damage, with many buildings collapsing and casualties being rushed to hospital. There is a high prospect of significant damage and fatalities, with children and the elderly most at risk.

Government emergency workers are reportedly already on the scene in the most damaged areas. Save the Children teams on the ground are coordinating an emergency response.

*Save the Children has been working in Nepal since 1976. Our work focuses on education, especially early childhood development and primary education, as well as basic health, including maternal child health and HIV and AIDS prevention and care. We work in 63 districts of Nepal.

 

Statement - Migration Crisis - European Union Emergency Meeting in Brussels
4/23/2015

Brendan Cox, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Save the Children says: 

“Today’s deal on search and rescue is a case of two steps forward one step back. The commitment to triple Triton’s budget and national offers of significant new search and rescue capacity are critical breakthroughs. But fudging the question of Triton’s mandate isn’t good enough. 

EU leaders need to clear this up within hours and commit to Triton’s expansion of operational area and explicit search and rescue responsibility. Europe took a small step back from the moral abyss today, but it needs to do much more in the coming hours to provide clarity and turn this momentum into lives saved at sea.”

ENDS

 

2,500 children could die this year in the Mediterranean unless Europe acts
4/21/2015

April 21, 2015 - If current trends continue, 2,500 children could die in the Mediterranean this year unless politicians immediately restart rescue operations, Save the Children warns.

The charity is calling on European Union leaders meeting in Brussels tomorrow [Thursday] to agree to restart search and rescue operations off the coast of Italy within 48 hours, on the scale of the previous Mare Nostrum operation.

Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children, says: “EU leaders hold the lives of thousands of desperate people in their hands when they meet tomorrow. With every day that they prevaricate and delay restarting search and rescue operations, the risk grows that more people will die as they try to reach Europe.

“We cannot allow 2015 to be the deadliest year in the Mediterranean yet. We must get agreement at Thursday’s meeting to scale search and rescue back up to 2014 levels.  Even one boat that sinks is one too many, but the escalating number of people dying off Italy’s shores brings home the urgent need to act."

 In the latest news from Sunday’s tragedy, which saw approximately 820 people drown when their boat sank, Save the Children staff in Italy have learned that 60 adolescents were on board.

Four boys who said they were under the age of 18 survived the journey and are staying in a building used as reception centre for children in Italy.

Gemma Parkin, on the ground in Sicily with Save the Children, says: “Children arriving off the boats are exhausted and traumatised from the ordeal they have been through, not just at sea but also during their long and dangerous land journeys. But they also tell us they are grateful to be alive and in a safe place – they know they are the lucky ones.”

The charity has been responding to the needs of children arriving in Lampedusa, Sicily, Calabria and Apulia and is deeply concerned at the reports of violence they have experienced and witnessed in Libya.

It is critical to not only restart search and rescue operations, but to make sure vulnerable migrants – especially unaccompanied minors and families arriving with children – receive the support they need.

Notes to editors:

 

  • The 2,500 figure is based on IOM’s projection that 30,000 migrants could die in the Mediterranean this year. We know that 8.3% of arrivals are children, so assuming children die at a similar rate to adults, that would mean to 2490 children could die in 2015 (i.e. 30,000 x 8.3%).
  • Save the Children is calling for a commitment to establish and deploy a search-and-rescue mission of at least equivalent size, capability and mandate to Mare Nostrum within five days. This would include:
  • A budget of at least EUR £9 million per month and at least 900 personnel
  • A comparable fleet to Mare Nostrum, including large vessels capable of traversing and making rescues in rough seas with facilities for on-the-scene medical treatment
  • A clear mandate to provide search-and-rescue across the whole Central Mediterranean area

 

 

YEMEN CONFLICT: CHILD KILLED AND 48 INJURED FOLLOWING HUGE MILITARY EXPLOSION IN SANA’A RESIDENTIAL AREA
4/21/2015

A child has been killed and a further 48 children wounded after a daylight airstrike by the Saudi-led military coalition set off a huge explosion in area south of Yemen’s capital city Sana’a yesterday.

The aerial attack killed an estimated 39 civilians and badly injured 547, five of whom are children currently in a critical condition in hospital, according to latest Ministry of Health reports.

The explosion appears to have targeted a military base, but scores of nearby houses and vehicles in the residential Faj Attan district were destroyed, with collateral damage from the blast reaching a diameter of 5km. The area is home to at least five schools.

Children are at huge risk of injury and death as a result of the violence. The explosion yesterday, one of the biggest affecting the capital since the airstrike campaign started, offers a tragic example of the impact of using explosive weapons in populated areas, and illustrates the difficulties of operating in a context of full-on warfare,’ says Edward Santiago, country director for Save the Children, Yemen.

‘There have been reports of dead bodies in the streets, with injured civilians having major difficulties accessing medical help due to the fuel shortage. Hospitals all over Yemen are extremely short of drugs, medical supplies or blood, and Sana’a’s only blood bank is now likely to be foul due to no electricity.

‘Most houses have lost their windows and people are now reportedly evacuating the area because they expect more airstrikes in the coming days.’

Between 26 March to 18 April, 405 civilians, including 29 women and 86 children, were killed in Yemen, according to the latest figures from the UN. Schools have been closed since airstrikes started taking place during the daytime, raising concerns about the number of children missing valuable education and exams.

‘As of 16 April, the total number of children out of school due to the ongoing crisis reached 1.85 million – which has almost doubled from reports last week – and the total number of schools affected has reached almost 3,500. Before this latest explosion the number of schools affected at 48, with 19 in Saa’da, and 28 in the South of the country,’ says Santiago.

Yesterday’s explosion also hit the agency’s main office and guest house, injuring  three members of staff – the fourth Save the Children office damaged since the airstrike campaign started.

‘We have had to close down the Sana’a office until this weekend at least. Our priority is the safety of our staff, but in a context where the population was already extremely vulnerable, most of our operations are life-saving,’ explains Santiago.

‘Even stopping for a few days could cost lives, especially of children, with up to 850,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition in the poorest Arab country.’

 ‘Without the support of the main office, the other nine field sites will struggle to operate and could rapidly run out of cash, which could affect, for example, 11,500 people benefiting from general food distribution in Hajja or 3,000 receiving cash transfers in Hudeida,’ he adds.

Save the Children calls on all parties to the conflict to immediately end the violence and seek a negotiated solution to the conflict.  Access to humanitarian aid, which is impeded by the insecurity and the ongoing naval blockade, must be prioritized and all efforts must be taken to ensure that civilians, particularly children, are protected and spared from the effects of the violence, and international humanitarian and human rights law must be upheld by warring parties at all times.

Notes for editors:

  • As of 16 April, the UN reported 767 deaths (405 civilians) and 2,906 injuries (785 civilians) in Yemen since 19 March. 
  • Some 850,000 children suffered from acute malnutrition before the worsening of the conflict, and over 40 per cent of Yemen's children suffer from stunting in what is the poorest Arab country.
  • Humanitarian partners estimate that at least 150,000 people have been displaced by violence across Yemen since mid-March, when conflict escalated.
  • 15.9 million, or 61% of the population, was already in need of some form of humanitarian assistance before the war.
  • The rapidly deteriorating security situation in Yemen will exacerbate food insecurity. Many areas in the country are expected to face a crisis as a result of increasing needs due to continued conflict, market disruption, and limited humanitarian access.
  • According to WFP the average retail prices of wheat grain and flour already rose by 42 and 44 per cent in April, respectively, compared with February 2015.

 

Save the Children demands immediate set up of a European search and rescue operation
4/20/2015

Save the Children has accused EU Foreign Ministers of dithering as children drown, after they failed to agree immediate action to set up a European search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean at a meeting in Luxembourg today.

 While the charity strongly welcomed the decision to convene a heads of state summit on Thursday of this week, it warned that if trends continue, delaying the start of operations by three days could cost a thousand lives.

 Save the Children staff in Italy learned late on Monday that no women or children were believed to have survived Sunday’s major shipwreck, in which up to 700 people are feared dead. According to anecdotal testimony from a Bangladeshi survivor, there were approximately 200 women and several dozen children on board.

 Save the Children International's CEO, Jasmine Whitbread, says: “What we needed from EU foreign ministers today was life-saving action, but they dithered. The emergency summit on Thursday is now a matter of life and death.

 “With each day we delay we lose more innocent lives and Europe slips further into an immoral abyss. Right now, people desperately seeking a better life are drowning in politics. We have to restart the rescue - and now.”

 As more boats sank today and more children lost their lives, politicians at the Foreign Affairs Council failed to take decisive action on this critical issue. What we needed on search and rescue was ships at sea - what we got was an acknowledgement that they are important.  Longer-term strategies are important, but they will not save any of the lives currently hanging in the balance. The emergency EU Council meeting, which Save the Children called for on Sunday, will now be the make or break moment.

 Save the Children’s response team are currently at the port in Catania, where the 28 confirmed survivors from Sunday’s boat sinking are due to arrive later today.

The organisation has been responding to the needs of children arriving in Lampedusa, Sicily, Calabria and Apulia and is deeply concerned at the reports of violence they have experienced and witnessed in Libya. It is critical to not only restart search and rescue operations, but to make sure vulnerable migrants – especially unaccompanied minors and families arriving with children – receive support.

 

 

Shipwreck - Europe cannot stand-by and watch. Too many children are caught up in this dangerous exodus
4/20/2015

Save the Children is urging EU leaders to convene crisis talks in the next 48 hours at leader level to restart the search and rescue operation that ended late last year, following today’s report of another mass drowning in the Mediterranean.

 Following the tragic news of today’s latest shipwreck, Valerio Neri, Director General of Save the Children Italy, says, “We cannot stand-by and watch while thousands of people lose their lives to follow their wish: to find a better life far from war , dictatorships and poverty. According to media reports from today about 700 people have died and given the percentage of minors who have arrived in recent landings, we predict that there were children amongst the latest fatality figures.”

 “We can’t pretend nothing is happening: with the number of people dying at sea, not only in Italy but in all of the European Union, this means that the responsibility of the search and rescue response must be solved by the EU and all its members especially as we predict that situation will get even worse in the next few months.”

 The condition of the boats being used by traffickers is becoming even worse; they are overcrowded and the violence of traffickers towards migrants, who are forced to leave despite conditions of the sea, is worsening by the day. Some children who recently landed told Save the Children staff that the boats they were in were shot at in order to make them leave.

 It is critical to guarantee the survivors of the shipwrecks receive the adequate support they require to deal with the tragedy they have witnessed. Of the utmost importance is to guarantee a search and rescue system in order to respond to the essential needs of all the migrants arriving, in particular the most vulnerable, especially unaccompanied minors and families arriving with children.

 Save the Children has been responding to the needs of children arriving in Lampedusa, Sicily, Calabria and Apulia and is deeply concerned at the reports of violence experienced and witnessed by children in Libya.

400 missing, including many children, as boat capsizes on route to Italy – Save the Children
4/15/2015

April 14, 2015 – Rescue operations continue in Italy today after a boat carrying 550 people capsized 24 hours after departing Libya.  According to the testimonies collected by the charity Save the Children – who helped survivors at a port in Reggio Calabria – as many as 400 people are still missing, many of whom are thought to be unaccompanied children.

 The charity warns that more landings are expected as instability continues in Libya, raising concerns that many more children will brave the perilous journey to find safety in Italy.

 Save the Children has been responding to the needs of children arriving in Lampedusa, Sicily, Calabria and Apulia and is deeply concerned at the reports of violence experienced and witnessed by children in Libya.

 

While not one of today’s survivors, one 17-year-old boy recently described his journey to aid workers when he reached safety.

 

“We lived near Tripoli for four months in a sardine factory. There were more than 1,000 of us. We ate only once a day and we could not do anything. If anybody spoke with a friend or a neighbour, they were beaten up. All this, to extort money from us. They made you call home, saying you were dying, and in the meantime they beat you up so that your family could hear the screams,” said Brahane*, a 17-year-old Eritrean boy after landing in Sicily.

 

The last incident follows a sharp rise in the number of migrants arriving on the shores of Italy. Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada says: “Rescue at sea of migrants must be a priority for Italy and for Europe, and the European Union should strengthen its capacity for search and rescue missions, as more people risk and lose their lives making this perilous journeys,” “Children arriving have experienced harrowing journeys and are in desperate need of psychological support. Adequate care and protection should be provided to all children, in particular those who have suffered violence.”

 A full multimedia collection featuring stories from children recently arrived in Italy via the Mediterranean is available here: http://storycentral.savethechildren.org.uk/?c=29050&k=a67c9347f3

 

A handful of schools to re-open in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu, says Save the Children
3/23/2015

‎In a positive development, a handful of schools in Vanuatu will open their doors to hundreds of students, 10 days after Cyclone Pam tore across the country and a week ahead of the government’s planned national opening date. 

About 500 schools were damaged or destroyed during the storm which devastated Vanuatu’s education system by ripping roofs off school buildings, flattening classrooms and wrecking books and learning materials. 

“Two schools in Port Vila have confirmed they will open today (Monday, March 23), while a dozen others on the island of Efate were also planning to open if they could repair enough classrooms in time,” Save the Children Country Director Tom Skirrow said. “It’s a really promising sign to see schools resuming classes again, which is incredibly important for children so they can continue learning." 

School also helps children recover from the distress they’ve been through by providing a sense of routine and an opportunity to see their friends, learn and have fun again. 

“However, we know the road ahead is still long and hundreds of schools are still several weeks or months from opening.” 

Save the Children is concerned that up to 40,000 students in Vanuatu won’t be able to go back to class for the foreseeable future, mainly because their schools were either badly damaged or destroyed during the cyclone. At least 34 schools are still being used as evacuation centres too. 

"We know from previous humanitarian crises that children who are out of school are particularly vulnerable and are at an increased risk of exploitation or abuse,” Mr Skirrow said. “Despite some schools opening, hundreds of other schools won’t be and there is still a lot of work to be done.” 

Save the Children is working closely with the government and the Ministry of Education to get schools up and running. The aid agency’s cyclone response will include setting up temporary learning spaces, rehabilitating schools and providing additional training for teachers. 

Nearly 45,000 children cannot go to school in cyclone damaged Vanuatu
3/17/2015

Many of Vanuatu's schools have been damaged or destroyed, leaving nearly 45,000 school-aged children without access to education, says Save the Children.

Save the Children's Tom Skirrow in Vanuatu said, “The cyclone has effectively knocked out Vanuatu's schools system. It is estimated that nearly 45,000 school-aged children cannot go to school, mainly because their school has been damaged, destroyed or is presently being used as an evacuation centre for people made homeless by the cylcone."

"We expect that schools will remain closed for some time. Children who are out of school are at increased risk of exploitation or abuse. There will likely be a need both for temporary learning spaces and support for school rehabilitation, so that children can resume learning as soon as possible,” said Mr Skirrow.

To donate to Save the Children’s Cyclone Pam Appeal, click here. 

For interviews, contact Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

Save the Children aid reaches families in cyclone devastated Vanuatu
3/16/2015

Save the Children has started relief distributions to families affected by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu. 

In the last few hours 1,800 people sheltering in evacuation centres have received vital aid packages that include hygiene kits, food and water.  This is just the start of a much larger and broader humanitarian relief operation being mounted by Save the Children.

Save the Children's Tom Skirrow in Vanuatu said, “It will take many weeks for us to reach many thousands of people with aid packages in Vanuatu.  However today 1,800 people sheltering in evacuation centres received aid from Save the Children.

"As you can imagine, many children and families are extremely vulnerable right now, many have lost their homes and livelihoods.  It is very important that we provide as much support as possible to people who find themselves homeless.  That has started today with the basics like food and water."

Save the Children is coordinating its aid effort with the Government of Vanuatu and other aid agencies to ensure that the most vulnerable and the most in need are reached with relief supplies as quickly as possible.

To donate to Save the Children’s Cyclone Pam Appeal, click here. 

For interviews, contact Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

Aid agencies give UN Security Council a 'failing grade' on Syria
3/12/2015

Three major Canadian aid agencies say warring parties and powerful states have failed to implement UNSC resolutions leading to worst year of crisis for civilians in Syria.

TORONTO/OTTAWA, CANADA (March 12, 2015) – Three of Canada’s largest humanitarian aid agencies, Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision, today released a scathing critique of how the United Nations Security Council has failed to alleviate the suffering of civilians in Syria amid intensifying conflict four years after the start of the crisis.

Despite three Security Council resolutions adopted in 2014 that demanded action to secure protection and assistance for civilians, humanitarian access to large parts of Syria has diminished and more people are being killed, displaced and are in need of help than ever before, according to the report “Failing Syria,” endorsed by 21 humanitarian aid agencies currently working to help Syrian refugees, both inside and outside Syria.

The report presents a score card that reviews the demands made in the Security Council resolutions last year and compares them with the reality on the ground in the affected areas. The grim statistics reveal how the resolutions have been ignored or undermined by the parties to the conflict, members of the Security Council and other UN member states, leading to the worst year of the crisis for civilians:

  • People are not protected: Statistics show that 76,000 people were killed in the conflict in 2014, out of a total of at least 220,000 deaths over past four years.
  • Humanitarian aid access has not improved:  Over 4.8 million people now reside in areas defined by the UN as “hard to reach”, that’s an increase of 2.3 million people from 2013.
  • Humanitarian needs have increased: More than 5.6 million children are in need of aid, a 31 per cent increase since 2013. 
  • Humanitarian funding has decreased compared to needs: In 2013, 71% of the funds needed to support civilians inside Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries were provided. In 2014, this had declined to 57%.  

“Women have been particularly affected by the violence in Syria and when they flee to neighboring countries”, says Ann Witteveen, Oxfam Canada’s Humanitarian Manager. “Forced and child marriage, rape, and sexual harassment are common occurrences. Women and girls rarely report such incidents and so they occur with impunity”. She adds: “The harsh winter weather has been particularly hard on refugees whose shelter is barely adequate for survival. Many women have been caring for families and living in camps through 4 seasons of ice, snow and storms.”

The report notes that almost 2 million children have now fled Syria and more than twice that number are still in Syria, many under direct threat of violence. Children have lost homes, friends, family members and witnessed or experienced violence. As they wait and hope for peace, many children are missing out on an education.

“Across Syria, children are missing out on their education because we cannot reach them, many schools have been destroyed and parents are afraid to send their children for fear their schools will be attacked,” said Save the Children Canada’s President and CEO, Patricia Erb. “While heroic humanitarian workers risk their lives to give essential aid and services, millions of Syrians remain out of reach, not only because of fighting and a worsening situation but also because of lack of funding and bureaucratic hurdles.”

The humanitarian organizations are calling on UN member states, including the permanent members of the Security Council, to go beyond words and ensure the resolutions are fully implemented. 

“After four years of violence, the children and families of Syria need peace. We urge all governments, including Canada, to use their influence to pressure the conflicting parties to enter into inclusive and meaningful peace talks,” says Dave Toycen, president and CEO of World Vision Canada. “In the meantime, the urgent and growing humanitarian needs in the Syria crisis require continued financial aid, and as a proven generous donor, we hope that Canada will be a champion for Syria within the international community”.  

 

A copy of the report is available for download here.

 

For interviews regarding the report, media should contact the following:
Melanie Gallant
Media Relations, OXFAM Canada
Phone: (613) 240-3047 
E-mail: Melanie.Gallant@oxfam.ca

Kirsten Walkom
National Senior Manager, Save the Children Canada
Phone: (647) 631-3862
E-mail: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

Robert Neufeld
Manager, Emergency Response Communications, World Vision Canada
Phone: 647-622-2045
E-mail: robert_neufeld@worldvision.ca

The number of children impacted by migration crisis increases
3/6/2015

More child survivors of migrant boat tragedies transferred to Italian care 

Toronto, CANADA, March 6, 2015 – The number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea continues to spiral as another 88 children have been placed in child care facilities in Sicily.

This latest group of children was transferred by ferry from the initial reception centre on Lampedusa to Sicily.

The children, including 85 who were unaccompanied, had spent almost two weeks in a facility designed to accommodate people for just 48 hours, owing to adverse weather conditions affecting the ferry service to and from Lampedusa.

To date, a total of more than 700 unaccompanied children are still living in initial reception facilities in Italy while they wait to be placed in children’s homes, where they will begin the long-term process of integration into Italian society.

“The journey these children have taken often involves crossing deserts and war zones before they even reach the treacherous sea crossing to Europe,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada. “On route they face dehydration and malnutrition, kidnap, detention and extortion, torture, child slavery, trafficking, sexual abuse, all alone without their families.”

The placement of the children into Italian care on February 28 came just days before a frantic 24 hour period on March 4th which saw nearly 1,000 migrants rescued, including Syrian children. At least 10 people died after their boat capsized.

“It is essential that the rescue at sea of migrants is a priority for Italy and for Europe, and that the European Union strengthen its capacity for search and rescue missions, as more people than ever are risking their lives making this perilous journey on rickety boats.”

Children interviewed by Save the Children teams in Lampedusa have recounted extremely disturbing stories of their journeys, from their country of origin to the transit point in Libya, and then on via boat to Italy. They are often deeply distressed upon arrival with many unaware of where they have landed.

Children shared stories of exploitation and abuse by traffickers, and others have told of being handcuffed and beaten in Libyan detention cells until their families could send money for the crossing to Italy.

The illegal boats in which they travel are overcrowded, prone to leaks, and break down regularly in the open sea. One 16-year-old boy told staff that he witnessed fellow migrants pushed over board by the traffickers because they were ill and weak.

The majority of the unaccompanied children who have arrived in Italy by boat this year, through Libya, are from Eritrea and Somalia, while others are from sub-Saharan and West Africa, including the Gambia, Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nigeria and Guinea. Most of the families and accompanied children arriving have been Syrians.

Save the Children runs a ‘Children on the Move’ programme across Italy, which aims to identify children’s individual needs and refer them to the appropriate social services to ensure their protection. The agency also monitors the standards of service in the various reception facilities where minors are transferred. 

In Rome and Milan, Save the Children provides basic facilities (shower, change of clothes, and food), health services, legal advice, support in contacting family members, and recreational and educational activities for children.

Notes to editors:

*Figures from Italian authorities up to the end of February 2015.

  • This year*7,882 people have travelled from Libya by boat to reach the coast of Italy. 
  • January and February 2015 showed a staggering increase of 69% more migrants arriving than in the same period last year.
  • Despite efforts by the Italian coast guard, from February 13-17, more than 300 migrants were shipwrecked and died at sea, including many children. According to testimonies collected from survivors, another 50 migrants, including children were shipwrecked and died on 4 March. 10 dead bodies have already been brought to Sicily.

FOR CASE STUDIES, FOOTAGE, PHOTOS, AUDIO INTERVIEWS OF CHILDREN INSIDE THE RECEPTION CENTRE AND BEING TRANFERRED TO SICILY, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. Save the Children aims to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in the lives of children. Across all of their work, Save the Children pursues several core values: accountability, ambition, collaboration, creativity, and integrity.

For more information, please contact:
Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
647-631-3862

ALMOST 30 COUNTRIES VULNERABLE TO A NEW EBOLA-STYLE EPIDEMIC, JEOPARDISING THE FUTURE OF MILLIONS OF CHILDREN – SAVE THE CHILDREN
3/5/2015

Almost 30 countries are highly vulnerable to an Ebola-style epidemic jeopardising the future of millions of children, warns Save the Children in its new report ‘A Wake Up Call: Lessons from Ebola for the world’s health systems’.

The report ranks the world’s poorest countries on the state of their public health systems, finding that 28 have weaker defences in place than Liberia where, alongside Sierra Leone and Guinea, the current Ebola crisis has already claimed 9,000 lives, and provoked an extraordinary international response to help contain it.  

The agency warns that an increasingly mobile population intensifies the threat of infectious disease outbreaks and, added to the emergence of two new zoonotic diseases each year – those that can be passed between animals and humans - it is crucial to invest in stronger health systems to avoid a virus spreading faster and further than the current Ebola outbreak.

The report also advises that prevention is better than cure, finding that the international Ebola relief effort in West Africa has cost $4.3bn, whereas strengthening the health systems of those countries in the first place would have cost just $1.58bn.  

Ahead of an Ebola summit attended by world leaders in Brussels today, the charity warns that alongside immediate much needed support to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, lessons need to be learnt and applied to other vulnerable countries around the world. 

Patricia Erb, President & CEO Save the Children Canada, said:  “A robust health system could have stopped Ebola in its tracks saving thousands of children’s lives and billions of pounds. 

“Without trained health workers and a functioning health system in place, it’s more likely that an epidemic could spread across international borders with catastrophic effects.

“The world woke up to Ebola but now people need to wake up to the scandal of weak health systems, which not only risk new diseases spreading, but also contribute to the deaths of 17,000 children each day from preventable causes like pneumonia and malaria.”

The reports’ index looks at the numbers of health workers, government spending on health, and mortality rates. Somalia ranks lowest, and is preceded by Chad, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Haiti, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic (CAR), Guinea, Niger, and Mali. 

In a snapshot of dangerously inadequate global health systems the index shows:•In Afghanistan, public spending on health is just $10.71 per person per year, compared to $3,099 in the UK; and•In Somalia, there is one health worker for every 6,711 people – by comparison in the UK there is one health worker for every 88 people. 

As well as rebuilding the fractured health systems of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea following the Ebola crisis, Save the Children is calling for:

•The international community to make a clear commitment to Universal Health Coverage for every country – the principle that every person should have access to essential health care, not just those that can afford it – including the IMF encouraging countries to collect progressive taxes and increase investments in public health services;

•Countries to increase domestic tax revenue to 20% of GDP and allocate at least 15% of their national budgets to health; 

•Donors to ensure that the aid they give is better aligned and contributes to building comprehensive primary healthcare systems;

•The new Sustainable Development Goals – which will replace the Millennium Development Goals, due to be negotiated at the UN General Assembly in New York in September – to explicitly include a commitment to Universal Health Coverage; and,

•World leaders to commit to end preventable maternal, new-born and child deaths by 2030.

Download the report

PRESS STATEMENT: Migrants in Lampedusa
2/18/2015

About 250 children have arrived in Italy over the past week, as part of the flow of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.  

To date, more than 700 unaccompanied children are still living in initial reception centres in Italy while waiting to be placed in local communities.   

"It is essential that the rescue at sea of migrants is a priority for Italy and for Europe, and that the efforts of the international community to address the crisis in Libya does not take away attention and resources necessary for saving the lives of migrant children, who are vulnerable and who continue to risk their lives by attempting the treacherous crossing. For this reason, Save the Children reiterates its call on the European Union to strengthen its capacity for search and rescue missions," says Valerio Neri, Director General of Save the Children, Italy. 

"Save the Children warns that Italy is not prepared to deal with this massive surge of arrivals.  It is critical that a national system of adequate reception and protection for unaccompanied migrant children is put in place, one that ends the current practice where children spend months waiting in inadequate structures where they are at risk of violence, trafficking and exploitation” 

“The situation in the first reception centre of Lampedusa is deteriorating because of overcrowding", continues Valerio Neri. "We hope the transfers of migrants from the island to the structures in charge of hosting them, will be immediate and continuing. This is crucial for children, in order that they are best protected from possible abuse.”  

The deteriorating situation in Libya has led to a surge in the number of migrants departing for Europe. As a transit point, Libya has for many years been the point of departure for thousands of people fleeing poverty and conflict in western and sub-Saharan Africa and conflict in Syria. Despite efforts by the Italian coast guard, last week more than 300 migrants died at sea, among them were children.  

Notes for editors:

  • From the 1st of January 2015 to February 17th, more than 6,482 migrants landed in Italy by sea, including up to 500 women and more than 700 children. Among them about 200 are unaccompanied children while about 500 are accompanied ones.
  • In just five days, 13-17 Feb 2015, more than 3,500 migrants arrived on Italian coasts.
  • In January 2015, 3,528 migrants reached Italian coasts, including 195 women, 374 children; a staggering rise of 60% compared to the number of migrants arriving in 2014.

To arrange media interviews

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

EBOLA CRISIS: Save the Children supports safe reopening of one in five Liberian schools
2/16/2015

Monrovia, Liberia - Save the Children is actively supporting the long-anticipated re-opening of hundreds of schools in Liberia today following a six-month educational hiatus due to the Ebola crisis.

The move comes after weeks of steady declines in the number of new Ebola cases in Liberia, which, at the peak of the epidemic in mid-2014, was reporting more than 300 cases a week, but recorded only three new cases for the week ending February 8, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

“This is obviously a time for much celebration for a country that has been ravaged by the worst Ebola outbreak in history,” said Save the Children’s Liberia country director, Greg Duly. 

“However, we must be sure that schools re-open safely so that students and parents won’t fear a flare-up of the disease. It is more important than ever to remain vigilant as we send Liberia’s most precious resource back to school.” 

The Government of Liberia has established strict guidelines to ensure that school children return to an Ebola-free environment, including the provision of hand washing facilities; accurate non-contact thermometers; a small space for the temporary isolation of any suspected Ebola case; and a robust referral system with a nearby health facility.

Save the Children has been working closely with the Liberian Ministry of Education, and other local partners, to provide intensive Ebola-prevention training for teachers and community members in more than 840 schools, including helping to set up local Ebola safety committees and reliable patient transfer systems.

In 546 of these schools, the agency is also distributing hundreds of safety kits comprising of digital thermometers, chlorine, soap, buckets, brooms, educational posters, and rubber gloves and rain boots, as well as providing hand washing facilities and reliable water supplies. 

“Now is not the time to let our guard down, despite the tremendous progress we’ve made against this disease,” Duly said.

“More than half of Liberia’s schools lack a reliable water supply, suffer from poor building and general infrastructure, and don’t have adequate educational supplies. In light of this situation, the re-opening date of 16 February should be seen as a starting point and not an end date.”

More than one million children in Liberia were affected by the closure of schools as a result of the Ebola outbreak. 

Over the last six months, Save the Children has been working with local communities to help spread Ebola prevention messages, and develop innovative approaches to learning, including teacher training, radio-based education, and the distribution of learning materials to children in their homes.

More than 300 Migrants die attempting to reach Italy by sea
2/11/2015

Italy – More than 300 migrants are presumed dead, according to UN’s refugee agency, after the boats carrying them sank trying to reach Italy having departed the Libyan coast on Saturday. Latest reports indicate that just nine people survived.  

“Save the Children has repeatedly raised concerns that the Italian navy’s comprehensive search-and-rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, was stopped last October, citing fears about accentuating the already extreme risks faced by migrants, especially those most vulnerable, such as women and children, in migrant sea crossings,” says Valerio Neri, chief executive of Save the Children Italy.

Sadly, despite this latest tragedy, the number of migrants continuing to attempt treacherous sea crossings is increasing. In January 2015, despite the bad weather conditions, 3,528 migrants reached Italy, including 195 women, 374 children; a staggering rise of 60% compared to the number of migrants arriving in 2013.

Save the Children calls on EU leaders to urgently strengthen the search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean to help mitigate the high number of migrant and refugee deaths at sea.

This incident follows the deaths reported yesterday of at least 29 migrants after the inflatable boat carrying them overturned in the Mediterranean Sea. 

To arrange media interviews

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

THE LOTTERY OF BIRTH: NEW REPORT REVEALS WORLD’S MOST DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN ARE BEING LEFT BEHIND IN GLOBAL RACE TO IMPROVE CHILD SURVIVAL
2/5/2015
  • Global efforts to end preventable child deaths have saved tens of millions of lives since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were set, but this progress masks major inequalities within countries
  • Structurally disadvantaged social, economic, or ethnic groups of children are being left behind their better-off peers in more than three-quarters of developing countries
  • Policies which achieve equitable reductions in child mortality across all groups are associated with 6% faster progress in improving overall national child survival rates

Despite historic global progress in reducing under-five child mortality rates over the past 15 years, new research conducted by Save the Children has found that large groups of children are still being left behind, simply because of where they live and the circumstances in which they are born.

Many factors, including whether a child lives in a rural area or belongs to a disadvantaged ethnic group, play a huge role in a child’s chances of survival. Save the Children describes this situation as a ‘lottery of birth’.

The Lottery of Birth report, based on inaugural analysis of disaggregated data from 87 low and middle income countries around the world, reveals that in more than three quarters of these countries inequalities in child survival rates are actually worsening, resulting in some groups of children making far slower progress than their better-off peers. 

  • In 78% of the countries covered in the report, at least one social or economic group has fallen behind and is therefore making slower progress in reducing child mortality
  • In 16% of the countries covered in the report, inequalities in child survival rates have increased across all social and economic groups

Save the Children’s analysis suggests that, without a true step change in action, the lottery of birth will continue into the future, slowing progress towards the ultimate goal of ending preventable child deaths for generations to come.  

However, tackling this inequality is possible. Indeed, almost a fifth of the countries in the report, including Rwanda, Malawi, Mexico, and Bangladesh, have successfully combined rapid and inclusive reductions in child mortality, achieving faster progress than most countries, while at the same time ensuring that no groups of children are left behind.   

The agency calls for the international community to commit to ending preventable child deaths by 2030.  
The new development framework, which will replace the MDGs, will be agreed upon at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. This framework must set out ambitious child and maternal survival targets and commit to working towards universal health coverage.  
It should also include targets to ensure that even the poorest, most marginalised and disadvantaged groups of children are included in global race to improve under-five child survival by 2030.
Some country illustrations:

  • In Niger, a child born in the sub-national region with the highest mortality rate in 2012 was nearly five times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than in the region with the lowest rate. This inequality has doubled since 1998.
  • In Indonesia a child born into the poorest 40% of households in 2012 was nearly 2.5 times more likely to die than a child in the richest 10%.  This inequality has grown double since 2002.
  • In Honduras, in 2012, a child born in Islas de Bahia region was 3.5 times more likely to die than a child born in the most advantaged regions in the country. This inequality has increased considerably since 2006.
  • In Vietnam children born into the Kinh ethnic group in 2010 were 3.5 times less likely to die than their non-Kinh peers.

Other key Lottery of Birth findings include:

  • Disadvantaged ethnic groups and regions are most likely to be left behind; regional disparities in child mortality rates increased in 59% of the countries, while disparities between ethnic groups in 76%.
  • More positively, 17,000 fewer children now die every day than they did in 1990, and the global under-five child mortality rate nearly halved from 90 to 46 deaths per 1000 live births between 1990 and 2013.
  • About a fifth of countries have achieved above median reductions in child mortality over the past decade, while at the same time ensuring that no particular groups of children are left behind

Download the report

Notes for Editors

The background research in this report is based on new data produced, or compiled into, the Groups and Inequality Database (GRID), developed by Save the Children in collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute. It is based on direct data processing of 257 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), aggregated public sources (the UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, WHO, UNICEF, DHS), and official disaggregated figures for a few countries without survey data. It contains 87 developing countries with disaggregated data on disparities across social and economic groups, and a total of 64 countries with data over time for up to seven data points (170 periods).

Providing critical winter support for Ukrainians displaced by conflict
1/27/2015

The escalating violence in Eastern Ukraine is leaving hundreds of thousands of civilians in utter devastation.

Already, more than 1.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes and over 5,000 people killed, and the numbers keep increasing. For those remaining in the midst of the conflict in the Donbas region, the challenges they face are tremendous.

Basic everyday services have been disrupted, access to banks and cash is limited, and food and essential items are increasingly rare and expensive. Nearly half of the displaced people are children. Children who have recently fled tell us that they were forced to spend days at a time in basements while the bombardment continued overhead.

Our team on the ground managed to get in and out of Donetsk recently, and reported that children trapped in the affected regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are in urgent need of safe shelter, food, healthcare, safe water, education and protection. 

The team also shared there is a serious lack of medicine and hospital supplies. A few hospitals are operating but with severely restricted resources. Some of the hospitals have displaced families living in them, especially in communities where heavy bombing has destroyed or severely damaged many homes.  

In communities which have old bomb shelters, displaced families are sheltering in them – sometimes with as many as 20 or 30 people in one room. There is further anecdotal evidence that many people are at risk of, or near to starving, in the heavily bombarded areas. 

On top of all this suffering, this winter is presenting unprecedented challenges for the thousands of internally displaced, facing temperatures as low as-25 degrees Celsius. With the help of the European Union's department of humanitarian aid (ECHO), Save the Children is aiming at supporting up to 10,000 vulnerable individuals with cash assistance that would allow them to purchase items they need.

While the needs are immense, the assistance would be sufficient enough to provide warm clothing, a blanket and heater for each person. 

"Thanks to this support we can reach out to thousands of displaced and vulnerable Ukrainians who have been forced to leave everything behind," said Sam Crago, Save the Children's Humanitarian Manager in Ukraine. "It is not just aid, but the way we do it, that matters a lot to us, and that's why we want to ensure that people receiving this assistance feel they will be able to meet some of their own most pressing needs with dignity and freedom of choice." 

Save the Children has been working in Eastern Europe for over 20 years, and through partners in Ukraine for the last seven years. Last year, we moved to a direct emergency response, as a result of this crisis. We now have a team of thirty people, working around the clock to support fleeing families through food, essential items access to safe water and cash payments to help them survive the winter. We are currently planning a scale up of our response to ensure children have access to specialist emotional support and education, and to reach those families trapped within the heavily contested areas. 

IKEA customers help raise €10.1 million for children in Africa, Asia, Europe over holiday season
1/15/2015

Donation from the IKEA Foundation will enable UNICEF and Save the Children to improve education in 18 countries.

Millions of IKEA customers took part in the Soft Toys for Education campaign over the holiday season, raising €10.1 million for educational projects by buying IKEA soft toys and children’s books.

For every soft toy or children’s book sold in IKEA stores during November and December, the IKEA Foundation donates €1 to educational projects run by Save the Children and UNICEF.

The projects train teachers, improve child-protection systems, provide educational materials, and increase school attendance in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Thanks to this year’s donation, UNICEF will fund the Schools for Africa initiative in eight countries and the Schools for Asia initiative in China. Save the Children’s share will support education for children with disabilities and those from ethnic minority groups in Asia and Europe.

“Helping children with disabilities and children of minority groups gain access to a quality education is empowering children, families and communities in creating a better and brighter future. Through the IKEA Foundation’s commitment to helping marginalized children, change is made. We are very grateful for our partnership with the IKEA Foundation and thankful for all hard working IKEA employees as well as IKEA’s customers,” said Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General of Save the Children Sweden and Chairperson Global Lead Agency for the Save the Children and IKEA Foundation collaboration.

Josephine Bourne, UNICEF Global Chief of Education added “Giving the most vulnerable and excluded children the opportunity to go to school and learn is essential to building their future. No child should be denied this opportunity because of poverty, disability, gender, conflict or disaster, such as the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. UNICEF is grateful for the continued and invaluable support from the IKEA Foundation, IKEA customers and co-workers worldwide to fulfil children’s right to quality education”

The Soft Toys for Education campaign has helped improve education for more than 11 million children in 46 countries since 2003.

The funding can be used for a wide range of educational activities, even helping children continue to learn when disasters strike. For example, €880,000 of last year’s donation is supporting UNICEF’s efforts to help children in Sierra Leone learn remotely via radio programmes while their schools are closed because of the deadly Ebola outbreak; the money is also helping children and families get the lifesaving information and support they need to survive.
 
About IKEA Group
Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people and we offer well designed, functional and affordable, high quality home furnishing, produced with care for people and the environment. The IKEA Group has 315 stores in 27 countries. In addition there are more than 40 stores run by franchisees outside the IKEA Group. The IKEA Group had 716 million visitors during FY14 and 1.5 billion people visited IKEA.com.  www.ikea.com

About IKEA Foundation
The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and sustainable family income. Currently-funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.IKEAfoundation.org and www.facebook.com/IKEAfoundation

About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org and Follow UNICEF on Facebook and Twitter

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organisation for children. We are 30 national organisations working together to deliver programmes in more than 120 countries around the world. Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.

Action 2015
1/15/2015

Dear World Leaders,
Cc: Everyone else
There are moments in history that become turning points. In our view, 2015 will be such a moment. It is the most important year for global decision-making since the start of the new millennium.
We believe it’s just possible that we could end 2015 with a new global compact – an agreed pathway to a better, safer future for people and planet that will inspire all the citizens of the world. We can choose the path of sustainable development. Or we might not – and regret it for generations to come. Which side of history will you be on?
There are millions of voices you can’t afford to ignore – the voices of the people you represent. They are voices of all ages from every corner of the planet – the voice of a young girl currently deprived an education… of a pregnant mother deprived healthcare… of young people deprived decent work… of a family from a minority group fearful of discrimination from corrupt officials… of farmers forced to migrate to cities as climate refugees… and of billions of other people. Their voices will roar ever louder against the inequality and injustice that keep people poor. They – and all who stand with them – are calling on you to come up with a grand new global contract for our one human family – and then deliver on it together. The great news is that in 2015 you have a historic chance to do just that.
Two critical United Nations summits will take place this year. The first in September, where the world must agree new goals to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle inequality and ensure a more sustainable planet. The second is the climate summit in December where we must ensure the wellbeing of people today doesn’t come at the expense of our children’s futures.
Together with critical discussions on financing, these opportunities are the biggest of our lifetime. We know from past efforts against AIDS, malaria, preventable diseases and saving the ozone layer that when we come together, so much can be achieved. Yet, with just months to go before these summits, few leaders are playing the leadership roles we need. We see climate progress but not yet of the scale that is needed, and a set of goals that are hugely ambitious but will be meaningless without brave financing and implementation agreements led from the very top.
If this does not change, we fear you and your fellow leaders could be sleep-walking the world towards one of the greatest failures of recent history. It’s not too late to rise to the occasion. We’re asking you to help lead that change.
Let’s be clear: the actions we take in 2015 will decide which way the world turns for decades to come. Please take the right path.
Yours,

  • Aamir Khan, Actor & campaigner
  • Angelique Kidjo, Singer songwriter & activist
  • Annie Lennox, OBE, musician & activist
  • Ben Affleck, Actor, Filmmaker & Founder of Eastern Congo Initiative
  • Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Bono, lead singer of U2 & cofounder of ONE and (RED)
  • Dbanj, Musician & activist
  • Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Hugh Jackman, Actor
  • Kid President – Brad Montague & Robby Novak
  • Prof Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute & author of The Age of Sustainable Development
  • Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate & Chair of Nobel Women’s Initiative
  • José Padilha, Film Director
  • Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Malala Yousafzai, Co-Founder of the Malala Fund & 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice
  • Matt Damon, Actor & Founder of Water.org
  • Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Mia Farrow, Actor & activist
  • Mo Ibrahim, Philanthropist & campaigner
  • Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Queen Rania Al Abdullah, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
  • Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group
  • Ricken Patel, President and Executive Director of Avaaz
  • Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation
  • Ted Turner, Chairman, United Nations Foundation
  • Wagner Moura, Actor
  • Yvonne Chaka Chaka, President of the Princess of Africa Foundation
THE HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE FIVE YEARS ON – CHILDREN’S PSYCHOLOIGICAL SCARS REMAIN
1/8/2015

Although the catastrophic physical damage to housing, roads and public buildings wrought by the Haitian earthquake on 12 January 2010 is still visible, the psychological legacy that many young earthquake survivors are still struggling to live with is less easy to see with the naked eye.

Five years since the earthquake hit the tiny Caribbean island nation of Haiti, many children there still have limited access to education, and some report exposure to exploitation and sexual violence after the already-fragile country descended into chaos in the aftermath of the disaster. Many Haitian children still show signs of emotional and psychological stress, and remain in desperate need of assistance and protection today.  

Their on-going distress, along with their hopes for a better future, is what Riccardo Venturi, World Press Photo award winner in 1997 and 2011, hoped capture while visiting Save the Children relief programmes in Haiti. Venturi’s resultant images are a humbling reminder to all involved in the rebuilding of Haiti that the international response to the disaster is far from complete.           

Children who have lost one or both parents, are unaccompanied by a family member, or are still living in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, are particularly at risk of exploitation, with sexual violence against minors in such settlements commonplace.

“I don’t feel safe here at all because people don’t respect each other. There are many cases of abuse,” says *Marie Darline, a 15-year-old girl who has been living in a sprawling Haitian IDP camp for four years.

She is one of more than 85,500 people are still living in temporary accommodation following the earthquake, more than half of which are children.

“If my mother and father were alive I would be protected. They wouldn’t let me live like this,” says Lovely*, a 12-year-old domestic worker living and working in Port-au-Prince.

Since the death of her parents in 2010, Lovely has been forced into casual domestic worker in order to survive, and is frequently beaten and mistreated.  Sadly, Lovely’s story mirrors that of approximately 225,000 children aged between five and 17 who now find themselves economically trapped into working as domestic child labourers, with little or no chance of escape from their dismal living conditions.

Lovely*, Marie*, and other children pictured in Venturi’s photo series, illustrate the fears and hopes for the future of Haitian children across the island.

“When I headed to Haiti in 2010 right after the earthquake I saw that fear and shock were particularly evident, most of all in children,” he says.

“But children have an incredible ability to smile and to live each day to its fullest.  Haitian children are always full of positive energy, but today under the surface it is easy to see the signs of suffering and emotional stress they still experience because of the earthquake and because of the difficulties they encounter in their daily lives.

“Many of my images have tried to capture their look of veiled melancholy while always trying to keep their sense of dignity.”

Kevin Novotny, Country Director at Save the Children Haiti, says that Venturi’s portraits also show the children’s willingness to take a lead in being of the recovery progress, participating rather than passively coping with what doesn’t work for them.

“As Save the Children we encourage children to develop their own capabilities across all of our programmes in terms of education and protection. This approach also contributes to overall resilience of families and the community while building a better chance for the future.”

Announcement: Save the Children and Street Kids International
1/7/2015

Save the Children is delighted to announce that Street Kids International – a leading organization committed to empowering youth – will become part of Save the Children Canada. Together, the organizations will make a stronger impact for children and youth.

Save the Children and Street Kids International are both committed to helping children and youth reach their full potential. In many countries where Save the Children works, this aim is hindered by the systemic cycle of poverty. Save the Children and Street Kids International’s Livelihood programs focus on creating sustainable income-generating activities to help youth break that cycle. Both organizations use similar practical-based methodologies, which will allow for a natural transition.

Named a Global Best Practice Leader in youth work by the United Nations, Street Kids International has worked to improve the lives of youth in 60 countries for over 25 years. Street Kids International’s curriculum is deeply specialized, which will allow Save the Children to strengthen an existing competency in youth livelihoods and Street Kids International’s programming to reach more beneficiaries through Save the Children’s expansive reach.

Both organizations believe that every child has the right to a better future. Street Kids International’s mission to empower youth to earn and sustain a living, will further Save the Children’s mission of inspiring breakthroughs in the way the word treats children. Together, the organizations will create lasting change for children and youth around the world.

If you would like additional information regarding this transition, please call to speak to a member of our donor services team at 1-800-668-5036.

A decade on, Indian Ocean tsunami-affected communities tell Save the Children about their recovery
12/22/2014

December 26, 2014, marks the tenth anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami, which resulted in an estimated 230,000 deaths across South-east and South Asia.

Save the Children’s tsunami response covered Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Somalia between 2004 and 2009, the largest emergency response in the aid agency’s history. Worldwide, US$284 million was raised to operate programmes in all five countries.

Through the eyes and voices of the affected communities, Save the Children have analysed the strengths, weaknesses, sustainability, and impact of the tsunami response in Sri Lanka and Indonesia (Aceh Province), and look at the extent to which communities are better prepared to respond to and cope with natural disasters.

‘Ten years after the tsunami, it is vital to review the long-term impact of humanitarian and recovery programmes,’ says Mike Novell, regional director, South and Central Asia.

The agency’s study highlighted four key findings:

  • Children are the most vulnerable in times of a disaster: It is essential that children are prepared for future disasters, and are regularly informed about methods of keeping themselves safe. Save the Children have introduced a wide-reaching school programme in which children teach their peers about best practice safety and evacuation procedures in times of disaster.
  • The importance of investing in disaster reduction: Progress has been made in both Sri Lanka and Indonesia in terms of strengthening disaster management policy and bolstering government capacity. Modifications in houses and public buildings to enable them to withstand disasters in the future represent important changes, coupled with investment in early warning systems and tsunami evacuation infrastructures. At community level, there is now a far greater awareness of what to do in the event of a disaster in the future.  
  • Participation as the cornerstone of humanitarian response and recovery: When people were able to determine their own future they tended to have greater ownership of the outcome. When they received relief items as passive recipients, they were often grateful but more critical. 
  • Partnership as a pre-requisite for long-term change: Programmes undertaken in partnership with government departments tend to have led to the most enduring changes. This kind of partnership certainly takes time to establish but it has the potential to provide a level of sustainability that is rarely achievable through other means.

Find out more from the communities after 10 years of recovery from the tsunami in 2004: Read our report. 

CAR: Four times more children associated with armed groups, two years after the outbreak of the crisis
12/18/2014

Just two years after the outbreak of bloody civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR) in December 2012, the number of girls and boys under the age of 18 recruited by armed groups has escalated to four times its previous level.

An estimated 6,000 to 10,000 children are currently members of armed groups, compared to around 2,500 at the beginning of the crisis.

Some were abducted or forced to join armed groups, while others joined voluntarily in order to survive when they found themselves in desperate need of food, clothing, money and protection. Many also joined because of pressure from peers or parents, a desire to protect their community, or to avenge dead parents or relatives. 

Children, some as young as eight years old, are forced to fight, carry supplies, and perform other frontline and support roles. They are often victims of physical and mental abuse by militants, and some have been ordered to kill or commit other acts of violence. 

“Every morning we trained hard, crawling through the mud. The soldiers wanted to make us mean, unforgiving,” says Grâce à Dieu* who joined an armed group in December 2012 at the age of 15.

 “When we fought, it was us, the children, who were often sent to the frontline. Others stayed further behind. I saw many of my brothers-in-arms killed while we were fighting. I saw many things, many atrocities.”

Having witnessed or committed killings and other acts of extreme violence for months, or even years, children associated with armed groups are highly likely to suffer fear, anxiety, depression, grief, and insecurity, and many require specialised psychological support.

“Many of these children have been through things that no adult, let alone child, let alone child, should have to go through, witnessing the loss of loved ones, seeing their homes destroyed, and surviving in harsh and insecure conditions in the bush for months,” says Julie Bodin, Save the Children’s Child Protection Manager in CAR. “Even if they leave the armed group or are released, these children can find themselves stigmatised, feared or rejected by their communities, while they can struggle to re-enter 'normal' life after being so long immersed in violence.” 

Extreme poverty, coupled with the dire lack of access to education for young children and employment opportunities for older children, all contribute to the spike in children joining armed groups, effectively creating a huge reservoir of potential new recruits.

Two years after the outbreak of the latest conflict, and three months into MINUSCA’s mandate, the CAR Government, MINUSCA, UN agencies and troop contributing countries and donors, must scale up their efforts to prevent child recruitment and demobilise children. Rapid and sustained interventions must also include specialized support to help children recover and reintegrate into their communities.

“Further resources are urgently needed to rebuild these children’s lives, and to rebuild and strengthen the institutions, such as schools, which will help them thrive. This is essential not just for them but for the future of the country,” Bodin says.

While the situation remains volatile in many parts of the country, Save the Children provides specialised psychological support for children associated with armed groups, as well children who have witnessed crimes or other acts of violence, through Child Friendly Spaces and Youth Networks. The agency also facilitates demobilized children to return to school. 

Read the report "Caught in a Combat Zone" here >

Media Contact
Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

New International Guidelines Address an Insidious Gap in Protecting Education during War
12/16/2014

Government armed forces and non-state armed groups should refrain from using education facilities for military purposes in accordance with the new Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, unveiled today at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland, said the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA).

The release of the Guidelines follows a March 2014 UN Security Council resolution encouraging all states to take action to deter the use of schools by armed forces and groups in contravention of applicable international law. 

“The Guidelines provide a practical tool for preventing schools from becoming part of the front lines during war,” said Diya Nijhowne, the GCPEA Director. “By promoting responsible practice by commanders and their troops to preserve schools for learning, the Guidelines can help minimize the devastating impact of armed conflict on students.”

The finalization of the Guidelines represents the culmination of over two years of extensive consultations with governments, militaries, UN agencies, and civil society to develop guidance to keep armed parties out of schools and universities. They were released today at an event hosted by the Permanent Missions of Norway and Argentina. Also announced was an endorsement ceremony for the Guidelines, planned for mid-2015 in Norway, and the intention to prepare a Declaration on Safe Schools to be adopted at the 2015 ceremony.

Attracted by their often central location, solid structure, and ready toilets, kitchens, and other facilities, fighting forces have used schools and universities for military purposes such as bases, firing positions, armories, and detention centers in conflicts in at least 25 countries over the past decade. For example, according to the UN Secretary-General, by early September, 2014, 124 schools in South Sudan were being used for military purposes.  And in Islamabad, Pakistan, schools and colleges have been submitting claims for damages from the Federal Directorate of Education after they housed up to 40,000 security personnel from other cities for a month in September, 2014. 

Under international humanitarian law, the military use of schools and universities can compromise their civilian status, transforming places of learning into lawful military targets, potentially placing students and staff on site directly in the line of fire from opposing forces. In addition to the risk of attack, the presence of fighters in schools for weeks or even years can have a debilitating effect on education: it disrupts teaching and learning activities, can leave children exposed to recruitment and violence, and can lead to increased absenteeism and dropout among students. Girls can be disproportionately affected, as families are particularly reluctant to send their daughters to study in classrooms used by armed men. 

“Communities must often make an impossible choice between sharing their school with soldiers and endangering students and teachers, or stopping classes altogether and denying their children an education,” said Nijhowne. “When impeding education access and quality, and exposing students to violence and possible attack, the military use of schools and universities can violate human rights.”

In June 2014, the Norwegian government announced its commitment to champion the Guidelines and lead the endorsement process among states. Prior to today’s event, 29 states had already made public statements in support of the Guidelines. At the Geneva meeting, in addition to statements by concerned governments, civil society organizations that are GCPEA members, urged states to use the 2015 Norway ceremony to pledge publicly how they intend to incorporate protections for schools and universities from military use into their own domestic military doctrine, policies, and trainings.

Governments are not the only parties encouraged to adopt and implement the Guidelines. The Guidelines were also presented for discussion at a meeting of representatives from 35 non-state armed groups from 14 countries, organized in November, 2014 by Geneva Call, an organization that engages non-state armed groups to respect international humanitarian norms, including by adopting Deeds of Commitment. In a declaration by signatories to the Deeds, the non-state armed groups took into consideration the Guidelines and expressed their appreciation that the Guidelines recognized armed non-state actors as stakeholders.

“The release of the Guidelines and announcement of the endorsement ceremony in mid-2015 are significant milestones in the journey to improve the safety of schools, including in the midst of war,” said Nijhowne. “Over the next six months, states and non-state armed parties alike should prepare to endorse and implement the Guidelines to keep soldiers out of schools, and schools off the battlefield.”


The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is a unique coalition of international organizations, including CARA (Council for At-Risk Academics), Geneva Call, Human Rights Watch, the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund, Norwegian Refugee Council, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict, SAIH (the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund), Save the Children, the Scholars at Risk Network, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, and War Child Holland. GCPEA is a project of the Tides Center, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at www.protectingeducation.org

For further information, please contact: 
Diya Nijhowne, Director, Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack 
Office: +1-212-377-9413
Mobile: +1-202-746-1339
dnijhowne@protectingeducation.org

LATIN AMERICAN GIRLS FROM OUR EDUCATION PROGRAMS GO TO NEW YORK
12/12/2014

Anielka, 15, from a rural village in Nicaragua and Liseth, 17, from a community outside La Paz, Bolivia, were chosen by Glamour Magazine to receive the Women of the Year Award 2014 in New York City.

Liseth has been part of our program Niñas Viviendo con Altura while Anielka has been a leader in a program with CESESMA, a local organization with whom Save the Children partners.

Together with eight other school girls from around the world, they traveled to New York City to accept the award for their perseverance in overcoming challenges to get an education. The girls shared the stage with other honourees such as US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, philanthropist Chelsea Clinton and actresses Lupita Nyong'o and Jodie Foster.

Since Liseth's mother passed away she has been the head of the household, having to take care of the home and her younger siblings. She wakes up at 4am every morning to do household chores and help her siblings get ready for school. These challenges have not stopped her from going to school and excelling there.

Niñas Viviendo con Altura program, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has a unique approach to use sports to empower girls in a community where sports activities traditionally have been practiced only by boys. Activities focus on adolescents in the city of El Alto, Bolivia, and the goal is for participants to take the lead and promote gender equality, social inclusion and personal development through sports.

Anielka works in the coffee fields to help support her family but this has not stopped her from going to school or from tutoring other children in reading. She reads to younger children in her community, including her sister, and participates in drama workshops to teach other children about important issues like child labor and child rights. Anielka works to support her family by picking coffee beans, and goes to high school, which is only open on Sundays. The program has helped build her self-esteem and confidence. After she completes her education, she aspires to be a writer.


Talking about her participation in the program and her visit to New York to receive the award, Liseth says:
"Thanks to Save the Children, I have learned a kind of life leadership […] they came to my school and we found new aspirations, how to be leaders in our daily lives and how we can succeed […] as adolescents, we have a voice, we can make ourselves heard, because we have the willpower to excel and achieve all our goals.

"I felt very proud to be there…it was an unforgettable experience, there were so many people and I felt like I was in another world. Nothing else existed, only us. And to share it also with my new friends, the other girls that had become like sisters. We shared everything, stayed in the same hotel and did things together."

Anielka talks about her experiences from the Save the Children program:
"One of my favourite activities is reading stories to other children in my community school and elsewhere […] I was very shy before I began participating with CESESMA […] Now, I know what it is to feel good about oneself, to feel comfortable with who we are, to know we are special […] My family has changed a lot since I joined CESESMA, now they see me as being important; they admire me a lot. Kids in school approach me more, sometimes because they do not know something, or because I have a good relationship with the teacher. Community members also listen to me more, and to my sister.

"It was wonderful to share one's experiences with others and see that they were interested and thought that what we do is important; to help other children get an education and to learn how to read."

During the ceremony, Anielka and Liseth both received a letter from Michelle Obama congratulating each one on the award and stressing the importance of girls receiving an education. "When girls thrive, nations thrive," writes Mrs Obama, and continues: "That's why my husband and I are so grateful for the example you have set for young women in your country and around the world."

In addition to participating in the ceremony, the two girls took in the sights and sounds of famous landmarks and experiences of New York City, including the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the New York City subway, the Museum of Natural History, and Central Park, among others. They also visited with students at a school in Long Island, New York and met with their consulates, including the Permanent Representatives of their countries' Missions to the United Nations.

Save the Children presents Christmas Jumper Day in Canada
12/11/2014

Canadians urged to give back this holiday season by donning an 'ugly sweater'

Save the Children is challenging Canadians to make the world better with a sweater this holiday season by launching its first Christmas Jumper Day campaign on December 12th in Canada.

"During the holidays, we become acutely aware of the often grim conditions faced by millions of children around the world," says Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada

"Since Canadians have really embraced the 'ugly sweater' trend, this a great opportunity for them to don their winter woollies, or host a sweater-themed party, donate to Save the Children and help children in need," says Erb.

Christmas Jumper Day, which encourages Canadians to wear their favourite holiday sweater and donate $5 or more to Save the Children, will help make a difference in the lives of some of the world's most vulnerable children and give them a brighter future.

This campaign – created by Save the Children United Kingdom – has generated nearly $3 million CDN in donations in its first two years thanks in large part to mass participation, celebrity support, and social media fame. 

To promote the campaign, Save the Children is engaging corporate partners – including the Air Canada Foundation, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and GlaxoSmithKlein – as well as celebrities and youth through a variety of activities.

Learn more about the campaign at www.ChristmasJumper.ca and join the fun at #XMASJumperDay. 

About Save the Children 
Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children's lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We are committed to achieving immediate and lasting change for the world's most vulnerable. Our programs reached more than 143 million people in 2013.

Learn more here:
www.savethechildren.ca or follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/savechildrencan), Facebook (www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca) and Instagram (@savechildrencanada).

For further information:
Kirsten WalkomNational Senior Manager, Public Relations, Save the Children
kwalkom@savethechildren.ca
647-631-3862

Philippines aid effort intensifies as Typhoo​n Hagupit makes landfall
12/6/2014
Save the Children aid trucks are travelling into areas affected by Typhoon Hagupit with life-saving supplies, as the storm makes landfall. Across the country, the government is working with aid agencies on pre-emptive evacuations, pre-positioning essentials like food and water and deploying response teams into the worst affected areas. 
 
Save the Children staff are now positioned at strategic points, hibernating until the storm has passed, ready to distribute basic household and hygiene necessities, tarpaulins for temporary shelters and crucially, a water treatment unit to ensure children and families have clean water. The agency has also send out a medical unit and set up child friendly spaces in evacuation areas.  
 
Tom Howells, Save the Children's Field Manager in Ormoc, Leyte, says: “We have been informed that storm surges of 3-4 meters may hit the city, and we know from experience that children are most vulnerable as they can drown or easily be swept away by the water. We are supporting the local officials in moving people to evacuation centres and safer areas." 
 
The main concern for workers in the field is that Hagupit is moving very slowly. Staff are worried that those in the path of the typhoon may face a whole day of prolonged rains and typhoon strength winds, which could cause huge devastation.  
 
Communications Officer Jerome Balinton, who is on his way to the Bicol area, says: "Hours before the expected landfall, we are seeing heavy rains and winds on our way to target areas. We are concerned over the safety of children and their families. Once the storm passes, we need to get to communities as quickly as possible to provide life-saving aid to the most vulnerable." 
 
For more information or to arrange interviews with Save the Children staff in the Philippines (Manila, Tacloban, Ormoc and Bicol), please contact:

Lynsey Pollard: +639175234472 / lynsey.pollard@savethechildren.org
April Sumaylo: +639173011240 / april.sumaylo@savethechildren.org
(please bear in mind that the Philippines is GMT +8) 
Just one year on, Haiyan survivors face another Supertyphoon
12/4/2014

As Supertyphoon Hagupit barrels towards the Philippines with wind speeds of around 195kph, Save the Children teams are preparing and positioning emergency supplies and getting ready to distribute aid to affected communities.

The storm is currently on course to hit on Saturday, December 6 and is heading to some of the areas devastated by last year’s Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm to ever make landfall.

In November 2013, Haiyan killed over 6,000 people and affected over 14 million others. Communities affected have spent the last year coming to terms with the loss and horror they experienced, rebuilding their homes and finding new ways to earn their living. For many recovery is still a long way off and a new storm could plunge many families back into a desperate situation.

“This storm is heading for a community which is just beginning to recover from last year's super typhoon," said Ned Olney, Save the Children's Country Director for the Philippines. "For children this new emergency has already started. Evacuations, worried parents, suspension of classes will bring back traumatic memories of last year’s typhoon. Our priority now is to help ensure that communities heed the evacuation messages and get out of the storm’s path, while ensuring that our teams are ready to respond to the needs of affected communities afterwards.”

Save the Children's response teams have been sent to strategic points across the country, while trucks are being packed with emergency household, shelter and hygiene kits to distribute to families who may be affected by this new typhoon.

Save the Children staff are on the ground and working in communities, disseminating safety messages and ensuring that they are ready for evacuation and that children understand what is going on.

"We’ve seen real progress this past year, but as we prepare for another supertyphoon we are desperately concerned about the potential devastation this will cause." 

To arrange interviews or find out more about our work in the Philippines:
Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
1-647-631-3862
kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

Visit www.savethechildren.org.ph
Facebook: facebook.com/SavetheChildrenPH
Twitter: @SaveChildrenPH

Statement: Syria Conflict
12/3/2014

As we enter one of the coldest months of the year, Save the Children is extremely concerned about the large numbers of Syrian refugees who will not receive any food assistance in December, and the detrimental impact this will have on hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children and families.

We are working closely with the World Food Programme (WFP) and other humanitarian agencies and local authorities to urgently find a solution, but unless donors step up immediately to make good the shortfall, 1.7 million refugees – more than 1 million of them children – will be left without any food support this month.

This is extremely concerning given the severe difficulties these families already face, many of whom live in desperate conditions with no other form of assistance.

We urge donors and the WFP to urgently resolve the situation and ensure that the food needs of the most vulnerable are met, so that children and families who fled from the crisis in Syria do not go hungry this winter. 

RESULTS Canada and Save the Children applaud Canada’s $500 million to global vaccines initiative
11/28/2014

RESULTS Canada and Save the Children congratulate Canada’s $500 million to global vaccines initiative.

Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper continued Canada’s leadership in maternal, newborn, and child health by announcing a commitment of $500 million to Gavi: the Vaccines Alliance ahead of the 2015 replenishment conference in Berlin, Germany. This represents an increase of 41% over Canada’s previous commitment to Gavi (2011 to 2015) 6.7% of Gavi’s USD $7.5 billion replenishment target.

“Prime Minister Harper is delivering on the commitment made to the world’s children at the Saving Every Women, Every Child Summit in May,” says Amy Bartlett, Executive Director of RESULTS Canada. “RESULTS Canada and citizen advocates across the country are proud to have a played a lead role in ensuring vaccines reach 300 million more children through Gavi.”

The Prime Minister made the announcement at an event with Senegalese Prime Minister Mohammed Dionne and Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, at the Philippe Manguilen Senghor Health Clinic in Dakar to mark the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine in Senegal.

“Gavi’s work has already helped save the lives of more than 5 million children.  We welcome Canada’s increased commitment to Gavi and see it as vital to reducing the burden of infectious disease and helping to finally put an end to the preventable death of children,” noted Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children.

Since, its launch in 2000, Gavi has immunized 440 million children around the world. If fully replenished, by 2020, Gavi will have protected an addition 300 million children with vaccines.

“Disease knows no borders. Ensuring every child has access to life-saving vaccines is critical to reducing child mortality and is the only way to reduce global burden of infectious diseases,” says Ms. Bartlett.

Syria's children: Denied rights, suffering in silence
11/20/2014

On the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child and as the conflict in Syria nears its fourth year, Save the Children and the European Union call on world leaders to live up to their commitments and obligations that the Convention entails:  to ensure the protection and rights of children.

The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 25 years ago, which today is signed by 194 countries. To this day, the Convention remains the most widely- ratified international human rights treaty.

"The Convention's acceptance shows a great commitment. What is lacking is action and the will to ensure that every child, everywhere, enjoys his/her full rights. And that includes children affected by the conflict in Syria," said Roger Hearn, Save the Children's Middle East and Eurasia Regional Director.

Among the rights listed in the CRC are the right to education, the right to protection from violence and abuse, as well as the right to a standard of living that meets the physical and mental needs of children. The Convention also insists that children in war zones should receive special protection and that governments are to ensure children's survival.

"As the world marks Universal Children's Day, we would like to remind signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child of their commitment and duties towards children," said Jane Lewis, Syria crisis co-ordinator for the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO).

“Syria’s children have been silently witnessing and experiencing the horrors of the war and its consequences for more than three years. Many have not been to school for years. But they are the future of Syria and we need to offer them hope and support”, said ECHO's Jane Lewis.

The conflict in Syria has lasted for three years, eight months and five days – the biggest humanitarian crisis of our times.  It has caused immense human suffering and children are the biggest victims.

"These children are deprived of the very basic rights the Convention is meant to guarantee, including the right to go to school and the right to protection,” said ECHO’s Jane Lewis.

At least 1.6 million children have fled the conflict, and become refugees in neighbouring countries, while more than five million children are in need of humanitarian assistance.

“With every day that goes on in this conflict, Syrian children are denied the little big things that make up childhood; the safety of home, the comfort of friends to play with, dreaming about the future while enjoying the present. All of that is put on hold or erased forever because someone, somewhere, decided this was not a priority," said Roger Hearn, of Save the Children. 

Today, Save the Children and ECHO, The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department tell the stories of just eight of millions of Syrian children, by launching the website www.8syrianchildren.com and posting on Twitter under the hashtag #8syrianchildren.

Save the Children opens first Ebola Community Care Centre in Liberia
11/18/2014

Save the Children opens its first Community Care Centre (CCC) in Liberia, to provide rapid assessments of suspected Ebola patients close to their community.

The CCC is a community-based approach that aims to provide a rapid way of isolating and treating patients suspected of having Ebola, while offering families and communities the opportunity to remain close to them, and reducing the trauma of family separation. The Centre, located in Margibi County, consists of 30 beds, with separate triage sections for suspected and confirmed Ebola cases.

Some people in Liberia are still dying at home without seeking treatment,” says Greg Ramm, Country Director in Liberia for Save the Children. “The Community Care Centres will help patients be assessed quickly, isolated, and tested for Ebola. This will lessen the chance that they infect others, whilst also ensuring them a basic level of care before they are either transferred to an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) – if they test positive for Ebola – or referred to a local healthcare facility if they test negative.”

The CCC is designed in a way that allows visitors to see and speak to patients and will help to demystify Ebola for anyone who is wary of seeking medical help. It also offers the opportunity to train the communities and families of those infected on how to care for their loved ones in a safe way while reducing the stigma surrounding Ebola. Ideally, Ebola survivors, who may have immunity to the disease, will be engaged in routine activities at the CCC and be a valuable source of support for patients, having experienced the impact of the virus first-hand.

Although a significant undertaking, the CCC is comparatively quicker and easier to get up and running. This approach is being replicated by other organizations in line with the Liberian Government’s support for the initiative. The Liberian government has embraced the idea and other organizations have embarked on building 65 CCCs across the country, in areas of most need, to help combat the virus. Save the Children plans to build up to ten Community Care Centres (CCCs) in Margibi.

To donate, please click here. 


Photo Credit:  Aubrey Wade/Save the Children

CEO Statement: International response to the Ebola outbreak
11/14/2014

By the time the G20 meets in Brisbane this weekend, the international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will have been shamefully inadequate. As the summit which brings together the world’s richest and most powerful countries, leaders must ensure that the Ebola crisis is at the top of their agenda, and urgently step up their response.

Despite strong leadership by some G20 countries, and also notably by countries like Cuba, Ethiopia, Nigeria, some non-governmental organisations and the United Nations (UN), the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is still out of control. Thousands of lives have been lost and thousands more will be at risk if we don’t do more to stop the outbreak. This crisis also bears unforetold and potentially devastating consequences for the economies and health infrastructures of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, as well as for the wider region. According to the World Bank, the economic impact alone could cost West Africa an estimated $32.6 billion by the end of 2015. Ebola has shut down schools across the region, leaving millions of children without an opportunity to learn and threatening to leave a generation of children without an education.

We urge global leaders and their governmentsto do their part and commit to sending the personnel, equipment and money so desperately needed to reverse this global health crisis.

Patricia Erb, President and CEO
Save the Children Canada

 

Save the Children opens Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone
11/11/2014

Kerrytown Treatment Centre 

Save the Children is opening its first specialist Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Sierra Leone, as part of its wider fight to treat and stop the spread of Ebola.

 

Located in Kerry Town, 40km outside the capital Freetown, the 80-bed facility provides diagnosis and treatment to infected patients, while ensuring that children receive the care and protection they so desperately need. The centre will increase local capacity to rapidly assess and hospitalise patients, while helping to reduce the risk of further infecting friends and relatives at home.

 

“Sierra Leone, which has seen the number of new Ebola cases rise for six consecutive weeks, is one of the countries in the region most gravely affected by Ebola, leaving its population and health care system completely overwhelmed,” says Rob MacGillivray, Country Director for Save the Children in Sierra Leone. “This treatment centre will help with the early diagnosis of those infected with Ebola, increasing their chances of survival, and will also help to protect the wider community from further infection – including thousands of children, who stand to lose the most as a result of this unprecedented deadly outbreak.”

 

The Ebola Treatment Centre will have more than 200 frontline medical staff, including a contingent of Cuban doctors, with around 50 on shift at any one time. A further 50-70 non-clinical support staff and more than 100 hygienists will also be based at the Kerry Town site, with 100-120 staff working at the centre at any given time. In addition, the centre will house a small separate clinic run by the UK Ministry of Defense to treat both Sierra Leonean and international health workers should they become infected with the virus.

 

We hope that offering a separate wing for staff treatment will restore the confidence of health workers previously reluctant to join the fight against Ebola – particularly when thousands of doctors, nurses and other medical staff are still desperately needed in the region to help save lives and prevent the disease from gaining any more ground,” says MacGillivray.

 

Patients arriving at the treatment centre will be triaged by staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), who will take blood samples and immediately send them to the onsite lab for testing, with results expected within a matter of hours. If patients test positive for Ebola, they will be sent to one of three wards, based on the severity of their symptoms: one for mild cases, another for severe cases, and one for emergency cases.

 

“While this treatment centre is a significant step in the right direction in treating those affected by Ebola and slowing down its spread, if the virus is to be contained, the international community must step up its efforts in the coming weeks by allocating more funds and medical personnel,” McGillivray adds.

 

The Kerry Town Ebola treatment centre was built in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), the Ministry of Defence and Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health.

 

In September, Save the Children opened a 70-bed Ebola treatment unit in Bong country, Liberia, which is being run by the International Medical Corps (IMC) – and is set to open a second treatment unit in Margibi county later this year. It will also open the first of 10 Community Care Centres in Liberia next week, which are smaller, community-led facilities designed to isolate and treat Ebola patients within their towns and villages.

West Africa - Ebola - Email

Click here to donate.To view more about our response and sign the petition, click here

 

IKEA Canada, Save the Children and UNICEF Launch Annual Soft Toy Campaign to Support Education for the World's Most Vulnerable Children
11/3/2014
 
Save the Children Canada   IKEA Canada   UNICEF

 

TORONTO, ONTARIO- Nov. 3, 2014 - Today, IKEA Canada, in partnership with Save the Children and UNICEF, is launching its 13th annual Soft Toys for Education campaign The idea is simple: for every soft toy or children's book purchased at an IKEA store during the campaign period - November 3, 2014 through January 3, 2015 - the IKEA Foundation will donate EUR1 (approximately $1.41 CDN*) to support children's education programs.

Since the campaign began, donations have totalled EUR67 million (approximately $95 million CDN), helping more than 11 million children living in poverty in 46 countries enjoy their right to a quality education.

"IKEA Canada believes in the power of education to break the cycle of poverty and prepare children for a successful life," said Stefan Sjöstrand, President of IKEA Canada. "We are honoured that each year the Soft Toys for Education campaign connects our co-workers and customers to such a meaningful endeavour to improve lives around the world."

A love for reading opens the door to education, which is why, every year, IKEA creates a children's book based on IKEA soft toy characters as part of the annual campaign. In this year's book, "The Frog Prince," young readers visit a fairy-tale forest and learn about the special bonds of friendship. The book is written by award-winning Swedish author Ulf Stark and illustrated by Silke Leffler.

This year's new soft toy friends from The Frog Prince fairy tale world are:

  • TOSIG: the silly frog
  • LILLGAMMAL: the red-hooded rebel
  • PIPHARE: the wise hare
  • KATTUGGLA: the sweet owl

"Education drives development and empowers the most vulnerable and excluded children - especially girls. Through the continued support of IKEA Foundation and IKEA customers and co-workers worldwide, we can provide children with access to the education they deserve. We are excited to kick off this campaign again in Canada and join forces to help build a brighter future for children, their families and communities worldwide." -David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada.

"It is with great pride that we take part in the IKEA Soft Toy for Education campaign," said Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General Save the Children Sweden and Chairperson Global Lead Agency for the IKEA Foundation Collaboration. "The funding means that Save the Children and the IKEA Foundation together invest in childhood. We are transforming the lives of children with disabilities and children of minority groups, the most marginalized children, in Eastern Europe and South East Asia. We're providing access to quality education for millions of children, impacting on generations to come."

"Investing in children's education is the most powerful way to help them escape poverty," said Per Heggenes, CEO IKEA Foundation. "Through IKEA's Soft Toys for Education campaign, we have been able to improve the education of more than 11 million children through our partnership with Save the Children and UNICEF. Access to a quality education is key to help them create a better future for themselves and their families." *Currency conversion as of October 30, 2014.

About IKEA Canada

IKEA is a leading home furnishings retailer with 342 stores in 42 countries worldwide, which are visited by 776 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 12 stores which are visited by over 25 million people every year. Last year the IKEA.com websites attracted 1.1 billion visitors. Founded in 1943, IKEA's business philosophy is to offer a wide range of products of good design and function at prices so low, the majority of people can afford them. For more information on IKEA, please visit: www.IKEA.ca

About IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world's poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child's life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and sustainable family income. Currently-funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children. Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org and www.facebook/IKEAfoundation

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organisation for children, delivering programmes and improving children's lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.

For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

CONTACT INFORMATION

IKEA Canada
Tanya Bevington
Corporate Communications Manager
905-637-9440 x6224
tanya.bevington1@ikea.com
www.IKEA.ca

Save the Children
Kirsten Walkom
National Senior Manager, Public Relations
647-631-3862
kwalkom@savethechildren.ca
www.savethechildren.ca

UNICEF Canada
Tiffany Baggetta
416-482-6552 ext. 8892
647-308-4806 (mobile)
tbaggetta@unicef.cawww.unicef.ca

STEP UP THE FIGHT AGAINST EBOLA: Sign our petition
10/23/2014

 

End Ebola Petition

 

Save the Children teams in West Africa are doing whatever it takes to defeat the virus and save lives.
But the world needs to step up.
Call on the leaders of the 20 most powerful and richest countries to do more to end this crisis.
They need to make sure there’s enough money, people and equipment to get the job done.


Please sign our petition asking the G20 to act today.

Race for Survival 2014: Children’s Race for Survival in the Toughest Places
10/15/2014

A staggering 17,000 children under-five are still dying every day from easily preventable causes such as malaria and diarrhea, suffering from poor or non-existent access to medicines and skilled health workers, in regions and countries where extreme poverty is widespread.

That’s where Save the Children’s Race for Survival comes in. Held on October 17, the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, it’s a chance for children’s voices from the toughest places in the world to be heard, loud and clear.

This year’s Race for Survival is taking place in the some of the world’s toughest places to survive as a child. Places where children and mothers are surviving against the odds.

Thousands of children in over 50 countries will take to the streets in organised running races, to help amplify the voices of millions children living in the world’s most unforgiving environments. 

In 2000, world leaders made a bold promise: to cut the number of child deaths for under-fives by two thirds before December 2015 (Millennium Development Goal 4: reduce child mortality). A lot has been done to save the lives of children and their mothers. Almost 30 developing countries will honour this commitment. But, with only 440 days left before the deadline, the world remains off-track to deliver this promise.

Through the Race for Survival, we will re-focus the world’s attention on the survival of the poorest and most disadvantaged children.

Save the Children was founded in 1919 on the principle that every child has the right to survive.  For almost a century we have worked tirelessly to make this happen. We are now calling on those in power to speed up the pace towards the 2015 goal of reducing child deaths and give every child a fair chance at life, no matter where they live.

Desperate demand for Ebola treatment in Sierra Leone as five new people infected every hour
10/2/2014

Ebola Donate HC

The demand for treatment beds and nurses to halt the rapid spread of Ebola across Sierra Leone is far outstripping supply, according to Save the Children.

An estimated 765[1] new cases were reported last week – a rate of five every hour - while there are only 327 beds in the country. The critical shortage comes as untold numbers of children are dying anonymously at home or in the streets, meaning the scale of the problem is massively unreported.

Ebola is spreading across Sierra Leone at a terrifying rate, with the number of new cases being recorded doubling every few weeks. At the current rate, 10 people every hour will be infected with Ebola in the country before the end of October. Even as health authorities get on top of the outbreak in one area, it breaks out in another. In the Port Loko district, cases have risen five-fold in the last month[2].

Even with the 700 new beds pledged by the UK government, unless the international community radically steps up its response people will continue to die at home, infecting their families and wider community.

Save the Children’s country director in Sierra Leone, Rob MacGillivray, says: “We are facing the frightening prospect of an epidemic which is spreading like wildfire across Sierra Leone, with the number of new cases doubling every three weeks. Children, more than anyone, are suffering painful, anonymous and undignified deaths at home. It’s very difficult at this stage to even give accurate figures on the number of children who are dying from Ebola, as monitoring systems cannot keep pace with the outbreak.”

Save the Children is working with the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and its Ministry of Defence to build and run a 100-bed treatment centre in Sierra Leone, as well as supporting an Interim Care Centre in Kailahun for children who have lost their families to Ebola. The organisation is pledging to raise and spend $70m (£43m) to stop the spread of the disease across the region, treat more patients and support children who have lost their parents. Save the Children is tackling Ebola in Liberia and Guinea too.

Patricia Erb, Save the Children Canada President and CEO, says: “The UK government has taken the lead on supporting Sierra Leone to tackle this crisis, but it cannot act alone. The scale of the Ebola epidemic is devastating and growing every day, with five people infected every hour in Sierra Leone last week. We need a coordinated international response that ensures treatment centres are built and staffed immediately.

“This is not only an immediate humanitarian threat, but risks completely undoing the hard work which has been done to build up the fragile health systems in Sierra Leone and Liberia after the devastating wars of the past few decades. ”

To learn more or donate to our Ebola efforts in West Africa, please visit: https://www.savethechildren.ca/ebola

[1] Based on Sierra Leone Ministry of Health figures which show 306 new cases were reported in the week to Wednesday 1st October. This is then multiplied by 2.5 to take into account underreporting, according to CDC guidelines.

[2] According to Ministry of Health figures from August 30th and September 30th.

Save the Children builds its first Ebola treatment centre in Liberia
9/30/2014

A 70-bed Save the Children-built treatment centre has now opened its doors in Liberia and is being run by the International Medical Corps (IMC). 

Bong county – where the centre is located – is one of the five counties in Liberia worst affected by the outbreak, which experts claim could infect up to 1.4 million lives by January. 

“We only have a few weeks to stop the spread of the disease spiralling out of control and, for those affected, it’s imperative that care and treatment are made more widely available”,says Mercy Gichuhi, Country Director for Save the Children in Liberia. 

“Beds available in treatment units are not keeping up with demand, and infected people, including children, are being turned away because these are full beyond capacity. It's tragic that in some areas people are being left to die in the streets, in undignified and deplorable conditions, while no one dare approach them”, Mercy continues.

Save the Children is to build another Ebola treatment unit in Margibi county, which is also heavily affected by the outbreak. These treatment units include safe isolation wards and provide expert medical assessments, care and treatment until the patient’s death or recovery. They will also reduce pressure on mainstream healthcare services, which outside of Monrovia, have almost all shut down because of the deadly toll they have had on healthcare personnel. 

Since August, 20 healthcare workers have died in Margibi alone after they were infected with Ebola. Nursing staff and teams were not sufficiently aware of how to identify Ebola and lacked the protective equipment to assess and treat them safely.  

In addition, Save the Children will open an additional 10 Ebola care units in Liberia. These differ from the more conventional Ebola treatment centres because they are faster to build, less resource intensive and employ locally-trained staff who are able to assess patients and detect if anyone has the early stages of Ebola. Such care units can be rapidly set up in hot spots for the disease, while facilitating assessment of people presenting with symptoms. 

Ebola care units complement treatment centres, and will be closely monitored and evaluated. This approach will help ensure more people can be assessed quickly and start treatment. They will also train one family member to safely help care for them, reducing the trauma of family separation at such a painful and frightening time.

“What we urgently need now however are more trained healthcare professionals to support the international response, as well as the financial resources to get this right and curb the rapid progress of the disease” Mercy notes.  

Notes to editors:

  • Liberia is the country worst affected by the Ebola crisis so far, with over 3,360 people who’ve been infected, of whom over half, nearly 1,770, have died.
  • The Ebola Treatment Centre was successfully handed over to the International Medical Corps (IMC) to run, and opened its doors on the 15th September.
  • The Ebola Care Units approach, approved by the World Health Organisation, was brainstormed by Save the Children’s Senior Health Adviser Francesco Checchi and Prof. Ron Waldman, Team Leader, Ebola Response Team for Save the Children in the US, Jesse Hartness, Director of Emergency Health at Save the Children US, David Wightwick, Operations Manager at Save the Children International and Abraham Varampath, Senior WASH Adviser at Save the Children in India. Ebola Care units will be set up in various parts of the country, depending on where hot spots develop.
  • Save the Children is rapidly scaling up its response to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. In Liberia, its teams are working in Monrovia and in four out of five of the worst affected counties, helping orphaned or separated children, providing emotional and psychosocial support to children and families, building treatment centres, care units and water and sanitation facilities, as well as carrying out prevention campaigns in communities and on national radios.

For more information, please contact:
Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Tel: +1-647-631-3862
Email: kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children,delivering programs and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfill their potential.

Humanitarian Coalition Launches Joint Appeal for Ebola Outbreak
9/23/2014

Ottawa, September 22, 2014 - Today, the Humanitarian Coalition launches a national joint appeal to raise funds for public health and disease prevention efforts in West Africa.

This latest outbreak of the Ebola virus has so far infected more than five thousand people, with confirmed cases resulting in more than 2,500 deaths. Centred in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the outbreak is rapidly spreading and threatens to infect thousands more.

The countries affected by Ebola are some of the poorest in the world, with fragile public health systems that are ill equipped to handle the magnitude of the outbreak. While front-line medical services and interventions must be funded to treat those who have contracted the disease and to quarantine people who exhibit symptoms, there is also an urgent need to scale up public health interventions in affected areas and beyond. 

The member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition are on the ground right now and their dedicated staff are busy helping families and communities adopt practices that will help prevent the further spread of the disease, and supporting those who have been impacted by the crisis. With basic measures such as the sharing of accurate information, the training of community health workers, and the distribution of hygiene kits and clean water, the number of new cases can be reduced. As in all emergencies, women and children are the most vulnerable. That is why our agencies have put in place particular programs to protect and support them throughout this crisis.

Liberia and Sierra Leone have both declared a state of national emergency. The Humanitarian Coalition urges all governments and health authorities to contribute in the fight against Ebola. Inaction is not an option as the number of cases continues to rise. This Ebola outbreak calls for a concerted, global response. The Humanitarian Coalition is proud to play a role in this effort.

Canadians who want to learn more about the current Ebola outbreak and our member agencies’ response can go to www.together.ca 

- 30 -

humanitarian coalition

About the Humanitarian Coalition

The Humanitarian Coalition is Canada's only joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs.

For questions and interviews, please contact:
Humanitarian Coalition
MJ Proulx
613-799-7562
mj.proulx@care.ca

CARE Canada
Darcy Knoll
613-790-2135
darcy.knoll@care.ca 

Oxfam Canada
Melanie Gallant
613-240-3047
melanie.gallant@oxfam.ca

Oxfam-Québec
Justine Lesage
514-513-0013
lesagej@oxfam.qc.ca  

Plan Canada
Dena Allen
416-723-6340
dallen@plancanada.ca 

Save the Children
Kirsten Walkom
647-631-3862
kwalkom@savethechildren.ca 

West Africa Ebola Crisis
9/19/2014

West Africa - Ebola - Email 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a global health emergency. Unless it is brought under control, the epidemic has the potential to spread more widely across the region and put many more lives at risk.

Save the Children is working in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and Guinea. We are involved in regional discussions with WHO and OCHA.​

Our work includes: 

  • Training teachers, health workers, ​nurses and local organizations on prevention measures. 
  • Dist​ributing protective kits​ in schools and medical equipment in health centers
  • Br​oadcasting messages informing people on prevention and protection measures
  • Providing psychosocial support to help survivors come to term with their experiences
  • Supporting the child welfare committees to work with children and investigate in communities with high-deaths to ensure that no unaccompanied child is left behind.

Since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa over 2,000 people – many of them children – have died. 

People are in urgent need of protective kits, essential medical equipment and information on how to stay safe from infection.

Help us reach children and their families who need these urgent, life-saving supports.  

Donate today!

South Sudan Needs Urgent Humanitarian Assistance | Le Soudan du Sud a besoin urgent d'aide humanitaire
7/10/2014
July 9, 2014 | le 9 juillet 2014
Humanitarian Coalition | la Coalition Humanitaire
 

On the third anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, the Humanitarian Coalition is extremely concerned by the rapidly rising demand for emergency assistance as well as the shortfall in funding required to address the needs of the most vulnerable.

The ongoing conflict in the world’s youngest country has displaced 1.5 million people, including almost 400,000 who fled to neighbouring Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, and Kenya. The turmoil is disrupting farming activities and impeding access to village markets, putting 4 million people at risk of severe hunger.

Recent estimates from the United Nations (UN) indicate that 235,000 children under five will be malnourished and 50,000 may die if food aid and nutrition programs are not urgently scaled up.

Gender-based violence is also on the rise as a result of the conflict, and an outbreak of cholera has infected more than 2,000 people and caused more than 60 deaths so far.

The member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition were working in South Sudan well before the violence began. Now, they are responding to the crisis by providing emergency food; water sanitation and hygiene training; basic medical treatment; sexual and reproductive health services; and protection for refugees with a special attention to women and girls.

While the global fundraising target set by the UN for the emergency relief effort in South Sudan for 2014 is $1.8 billion, less than half of that amount has been pledged by donor governments and raised by NGOs. Without this money, the rapidly deteriorating situation is expected to lead to famine conditions before the end of the year.

Canada, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), has played a role in answering the UN’s call. It allocated more than $29 million in humanitarian assistance for the crisis in South Sudan, and recently added the country to its list of Development Countries of Focus, thus increasing the bilateral aid it will receive.

Steadfast in our determination to help the people of South Sudan, and despite the security challenges and relatively low level of attention the crisis is attracting, we continue to monitor and respond to the growing needs. As Canada’s only partnership between leading humanitarian agencies to enhance coordination, maximize impact, and engage Canadians, the Humanitarian Coalition strongly urges Canadians to consider making a donation to its member agencies. Together, we can alleviate the alarming suffering of individuals, families, and entire communities living in very precarious circumstances.

The Humanitarian Coalition has repeatedly called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in South Sudan. We do so again today, on this sombre anniversary.

To learn more about how Humanitarian Coalition member agencies are responding and to make a donation to relief efforts, please visit their websites:

CARE Canada

Oxfam Canada

Oxfam-Québec

Plan Canada

Save the Children Canada


À l’occasion du troisième anniversaire de l'indépendance du Soudan du Sud, la Coalition Humanitaire est extrêmement préoccupée par la forte croissance de la demande en aide d'urgence ainsi que le manque de financement pour répondre aux besoins des plus vulnérables.

Le conflit en cours dans le plus jeune pays du monde a déplacé 1,5 millions de personnes, dont près de 400 000 ont fui vers l'Ethiopie, l'Ouganda, le Soudan et le Kenya. La crise perturbe les activités agricoles et empêche l'accès aux marchés dans les villages, et 4 millions de personnes sont menacées par la faim sévère.

Des estimations récentes de l'Organisation des Nations Unies (ONU) indiquent que 235 000 enfants de moins de cinq ans seront mal nourris et 50 000 peuvent mourir si les programmes d'aide alimentaire et de nutrition ne sont pas renforcés d'urgence. La violence sexiste est également à la hausse en raison du conflit, et une épidémie de choléra a infecté plus de 2,000 personnes et causé plus de 60 morts à ce jour.

Les agences membres de la Coalition Humanitaire répondent à la crise en fournissant des vivres d'urgence; l'assainissement de l'eau et de la formation en matière d'hygiène; des soins médicaux de base; des services santé sexuelle et reproductive; et la protection des réfugiés avec une attention particulière aux femmes et aux filles.

Bien que l'objectif de collecte de fonds mondial fixé par l'ONU pour les efforts de secours d'urgence au Sud-Soudan pour 2014 soit de 1,8 milliards de dollars, moins de la moitié de ce montant a été promis par les gouvernements donateurs et élevé par des ONG. Sans cet argent, on s'attend à la détérioration de la situation de conduire rapidement à des conditions de famine avant la fin de l'année.

Canada, par l'entremise du ministère des Affaires étrangères, du commerce et du développement, a joué un rôle en répondant à l'appel de l'ONU. Il a alloué plus de 29 millions de dollars en aide humanitaire pour la crise au Soudan du Sud, et a récemment ajouté le pays à sa liste des pays en développement ciblés, augmentant ainsi l'aide bilatérale qu'il recevra.

Fermes dans notre détermination à aider le peuple du Sud-Soudan, et malgré les problèmes de sécurité et le niveau relativement faible de l'attention que la crise attire, nous continuons de surveiller et de répondre aux besoins croissants. Comme seul partenariat du Canada entre les principales agences humanitaires ensemble pour améliorer la coordination, maximiser l'impact, et soliciter l'engagement des Canadiens, la Coalition Humanitaire exhorte vivement les Canadiennes et Canadiens à envisager de faire un don à ses agences membres. Ensemble, nous pouvons soulager les souffrances alarmant de personnes, familles, et communautés entières vivant dans des conditions très précaires.

La Coalition Humanitaire a appelé à plusieurs reprises pour une résolution pacifique du conflit au Soudan du Sud. Nous le faisons encore aujourd'hui, en date de ce triste anniversaire.

Pour en savoir plus sur la réponse de nos agences membres, veuillez consulter leurs sites internet:

Aide à l'enfance Canada

CARE Canada

Oxfam Canada

Oxfam-Québec

Plan Canada

 

Is all work bad for children?
6/9/2014


6/9/2014
Patricia Erb, President & CEO, Save the Children Canada

 

Since the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh, international attention has focused on the working conditions in the garment factories – especially for children. In response to this tragedy, many organisations are calling for action. But, is ending all forms of child work the right solution? 

 

Save the Children is the world’s leading organisation for children. We have been accompanying working children, up to the age of 18, for decades, to improve their lives and those of their families. Our long experience has helped us to understand that beyond the unacceptable economic exploitation of children, the realities of children involved in work are much more complex than originally considered.

 

First, child work is not a uniform phenomenon. While some forms of work are harmful to their development, there are types of work that are beneficial to children (for example helping their parents on the farm). Work can provide children the opportunity to develop skills, self-confidence, and to participate in their community. We have learned that there are very few black and white situations: most of the time, work situations combine both harmful and positive aspects in children’s lives. More importantly, we’ve learnt that the best allies, for our work, are the children, because they are powerful agents of change. We are more successful when we don’t only work for the children but with the children.

 

Children work for a variety of reasons. A central one is the lack of family resources. Children need to work to bring in extra money to support the livelihood of the family. It can be used to pay for housing, food, or school fees. Also, for many children, working is a better alternative than the poor quality schooling that is available. Often the educational curriculum is not relevant to their particular context – potentially not even in their mother-tongue. Sadly, school can also be a place of abuse and violence, or simply inaccessible – too far, too expensive. Through our years of working with children globally, we’ve learned that many children actually choose to work, because it provides an encouraging sense of pride and accomplishment by earning their own money, learning a profession, and helping to support their families. Is it the case of children in Bangladesh? 

 

The history of children working in garment factories in Bangladesh is not new. In 1992, there was a call to end employment of children, which received strong international support. Frightened by the risk of boycotts, the manufacturers expelled children from the factories. However, the parties did not consider what these children would do instead, nor were the available program options considered viable by the children and their families. Therefore, many ended up in more harmful forms of work such as servants, working in the streets or even prostitution.   

 

Experiences like this one oblige us to look at the situation of working children carefully and demand that we take a child-centered and context-specific lens when developing our interventions. Blanket bans on children’s work can have terribly negative impacts, such as children ending up in invisible and informal forms of work. Two of the fundamental components for effective intervention are to first build partnerships with governments, local authorities, and the private sector to create positive environments for children, including continued access to quality education. Secondly, Save the Children aims at reducing the harms children face in their workplace – taking into consideration each individual’s age and capacity – and enhance the benefits that they can receive, while ensuring the child’s perspective and voice are considered when finding solutions.

 

Specifically in Bangladesh, the inequalities are so prevalent that children have very little opportunities to thrive in dignified conditions. Today, the garment industry is not the major employer of children. More than 90 per cent of working children are engaged in the informal sectors, which are often more hazardous forms of work.Save the Children partners with a local NGO and corporations to find responsible solutions to child labour, in the textile industry, by offering basic education and vocational training that meets the needs of the industry and complies with occupational safety and health requirements. After children complete an apprenticeship and appropriate training, the newly skilled workers are able to get more formal positions, with decent wages and appropriate conditions for their age, in the same factory.

 

Children are the first victims of our inequitable systems. We pledge for immediate action. But to be efficient and sustainable, those actions must be driven by the best interest of the child. This includes effective participation of children, adequate understanding of the local realities, and of the available alternatives offered, including dignified work combined with relevant education. Only by considering the child’s situation, will we be able to collectively protect working children and to enable them to develop into skilled, healthy, and self-confident citizens – reaching their full potential.

Canadian Government proves to be a leader in support of mothers, newborns and children in sub-Saharan Africa
5/21/2014

Save the Children would like to commend the Canadian government for its continued support of mothers, newborns and children in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, during an event co-hosted by the Permanent missions of Canada and the United States at the World Health Assembly meetings, in Geneva, Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced a $36 million investment to help pay for primary health care research in nine countries, which will focus on the needs of mothers, newborns and children.

The Canadian government continues to show real leadership on this issue. Next week, Prime Minister Harper will host world leaders, global health experts, Canadian and global civil society representatives, and the private sector, at the Saving Every Woman and Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit, in Toronto. Together we can save the lives of millions of mothers and children, and I look forward to working with people from all sectors to accomplish our ultimate goal – to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children within a generation.

Patricia Erb
President and CEO
Save the Children Canada

Canada to host Summit on maternal, newborn and child health
3/7/2014

Summit on maternal, newborn and child healthThe Micronutrient Initiative welcomes Canada´s announcement of a high-level Summit on maternal, newborn and child health. The Summit will focus on increasing global efforts to reduce preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths. It will be hosted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Toronto, from May 28 to 30.

“We are encouraged and in full support of today´s announcement to hold a high-level Summit in Canada to increase the global commitment to maternal and child survival and health,” said MI President Joel Spicer.

The Summit will ensure that Canadian experts in maternal, newborn and child health will have the opportunity to collaborate with global leaders to build agreement on how to save more lives and ensure a healthier future for the next generation.

The Government of Canada has continuously demonstrated leadership in this area, most notably through its Muskoka Initiative at the 2010 G8. The high-level Summit will build on the commitments established there. The focus on women´s nutrition will not only ensure healthier and safer pregnancies but help to ensure that children will be born healthier and have a better chance at life.

Canadian investments in maternal, newborn and child health have lead the world in reducing preventable deaths, especially in its commitment to global nutrition. However, over the next five year, up to 30 million children will die, with undernutrition as the underlying cause of 45% of those deaths. These deaths are preventable, and at a low cost.

“The fight against poverty cannot be won while entire generations are still being born stunted, malnourished, and with their development potential impaired because they don´t have access to good nutrition,” Joel Spicer said.

MI, through support from the Government of Canada and other generous donors, has realized tangible results through our micronutrient programming, saving and improving hundreds of millions of lives every year. The Summit will provide the opportunity to bring these results home and share them with Canadians, as well as determine how to accelerate progress. 

MI works to end hidden hunger by eliminating vitamin and mineral deficiencies, helping to improve the lives of close to 500 million people in more than 75 countries every year.

Canada´s Muskoka Initiative has invested over $7 billion to improve the lives of the world´s most vulnerable and is a key supporter in MI´s impact. These investments not only reflect Canadian values to help those in need, but are also cost effective: for every dollar spent reducing chronic undernutrition, there is a return of $138.

The world has come so far and yet more can be done. The moment is now to accelerate impact, and MI is happy to partner in that pursuit.

For the full announcement released by Prime Minister Harper, visit http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/03/06/pm-convenes-canadian-experts-and-global-leaders-maternal-newborn-and-child-health.

Thank you, IKEA customers and co-workers! 11 million children supported since 2003
2/19/2014

IKEA’s Soft Toys for Education campaign raises €10.1 million to help improve children’s education across Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia.

The IKEA Foundation donates the money to projects run by UNICEF and Save the Children.

The annual IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign ran from November through December 2013 in all IKEA stores around the world. For each soft toy or children’s book purchased, €1 will be donated to UNICEF and Save the Children by the IKEA Foundation.

Since the start of this annual campaign in 2003, the IKEA Foundation has donated €67 million, which has helped improve the educational opportunities of more than 11 million children in 46 countries. The donations help UNICEF and Save the Children train teachers in child-friendly teaching methods, improve child protection systems, supply educational materials, and increase school attendance rates.

Thanks to this year’s donation, the IKEA Foundation will support 19 UNICEF and Save the Children projects in 18 countries. UNICEF’s share will fund the Schools for Africa initiative in eight countries and the Schools for Asia initiative in China. Save the Children’s share will support education for children of the most marginalised groups in Asia and Eastern Europe.

"Education is the key to unlocking a brighter future for every child, especially the most vulnerable and excluded. UNICEF is grateful for its strong partnership with the IKEA Foundation, as well as IKEA's customers and employees, as we work together to help all children receive the quality education they deserve," said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of our long-term strategic collaboration with the IKEA Foundation. It’s also the 8th consecutive year that Save the Children is part of the IKEA Soft Toys for Education campaign. Through the IKEA Foundation’s commitment to helping vulnerable children gain access to a quality education, children of minority groups and children with disabilities—as well as their families and communities—all benefit from the proceeds of the campaign for a better and brighter future,” said Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General of Save the Children Sweden and Chairperson Global Lead Agency for the Save the Children and IKEA Foundation collaboration.  

 

Pledge to protect Syrian children must be Geneva II priority
1/21/2014

Save the Children and global leaders call on governments to remember the innocent victims of war

 

TORONTO, ON – January 21, 2014 – Save the Children and other leading humanitarian agencies have published an open letter today, calling on the parties to the Syrian conflict meeting in Geneva to urgently focus on the plight of children.

 

The 14 signatories include Antonio Gutteres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; David Miliband, President of the International Rescue Committee; Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF.

 

For the first time, top humanitarian agencies have come together to publically call on all sides to take measures to allow life-saving aid to reach children trapped inside Syria and prevent them from being targets of violence.

 

More than 11,000 children have died in this conflict already, 71 percent of them killed indiscriminately by explosive weapons used in towns and cities. 

 

Save the Children, the world’s largest independent child’s rights organisation, wants the Geneva II participants to make protecting children the first item on their agenda.

 

Save the Children is calling on all parties to commit to the following:

  • Allow life-saving aid to reach children inside Syria
  • Protect schools and health facilities
  • Prevent the use of explosive weapons in populated area

“Every day in Syria, children are experiencing the brutality of war: injury, death and displacement. Scandalously, hundreds of thousands are trapped in besieged or hard-to-reach areas and receiving little or no aid,” said Save the Children’s President & CEO, Patricia Erb.The first item on the agenda at Geneva II must be protecting children. The parties have already demonstrated the power of political will when they began moving chemical weapons out of Syria. We need to see the same political will to ensure that children and other civilians are no longer targeted.Save the Children’s three point plan to protect the children of Syria is about ending the appalling situation that places the most vulnerable directly in harm’s way. If parties to the talks come together to make these three things happen, fewer children will die. It is that simple.”

 

"I will tell you my story. It starts with the death of my two sons. There was shooting in my town, and shelling. Both of my sons were killed. A short while later, Amal, my daughter - the third one - died the same way. About a thousand shells fell on us that day. She was six years old." - Za'ahir, a Syrian refugee in Lebanon

 

One Billion dollar appeal launched to save Syria’s lost generation Save the Children joins other global aid organizations to call for immediate help for Syrian children
1/7/2014

One Billion dollar appeal launched to save Syria’s lost generation
Save the Children joins other global aid organizations to call for immediate help for Syrian children

 

TORONTO, ON (January 7, 2014) –  Save the Children, UNICEF, UNHCR, World Vision and other aid agencies today called for governments, NGOs, and members of the public to become champions for the children of Syria and support efforts to protect a generation of Syrian children. 

The organizations announced the launch of a US$1 billion campaign, called ‘No Lost Generation’, which will focus on donor and public support for critical programmes to help Syrian children affected by the continuing conflict. The strategy is being publically unveiled one week ahead of a major donor conference in Kuwait for humanitarian aid for Syria. 

The US$1 billion will be spent to deliver safe education, protection from exploitation, abuse and violence and psychological care for affected children. These programmes include strengthening national and community-based child protection systems, which respond to the needs of girls, boys and families at high risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence while protecting all children against such risks. 

“As this conflict approaches another bitter anniversary, we cannot just sit and watch a generation disappear in front of us,” said Patricia Erb, President & CEO, Save the Children Canada. “For nearly three years, Syria’s children have been the most vulnerable of all victims of the conflict, seeing their families and loved ones killed, their schools destroyed and their hopes eroded. Children have also become vulnerable to the worst types of exploitation including child labour, early marriage, and recruitment into armed groups and forces.”

 A major public engagement campaign under the hashtag #childrenofsyria is also being launched, using social media to enlist influential supporters and public contributors. 

The initiative will also scale up access to quality education, for refugee children who have escaped Syria and those who remain inside. The ‘No Lost Generation’ initiative will provide remedial education and psychosocial support organized in school clubs for younger children and those out-of-school. 

Across the region, Save the Children teams have so far helped over 600,000 refugee children and family members including 230,000 children and family members inside Syria with food, safe water, medicine, and shelter.



For more information please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations

647-631-3862
Email:
kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

  •  Over one million Syrian refugees are children, of which more than 425,000 are under the age of five. The vast majority of these refugees have fled either to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq.  Among them, nearly 8,000 children have been identified as being separated from their families. The situation for the over three million displaced children inside Syria is even more dire. 
  • A special website has been established at www.championthechildrenofsyria.org that tells the stories of children affected by the conflict, and shows how investments in children can deliver important dividends, not just for the current victims of the war but for the longer-term future of Syria and the wider region.
  • Most of the funding for the No Lost Generation initiative is being sought through two existing appeals – the Regional Response Plan aimed at addressing the needs of Syria’s child refugees and The Syrian Humanitarian Assistance response plan which addresses the needs of Syrian children who are internally displaced.

;

Statement from Save the Children Canada’s CEO, Patricia Erb regarding the loss of Nelson Mendela
12/5/2013

Statement from Save the Children Canada’s CEO, Patricia Erb regarding the loss of Nelson Mendela


My thoughts go out to the Mandela family and to the people of South Africa today at this time of loss and sadness.

Nelson Mandela was a true personal hero of mine because of his struggle against racism and the evolving reconciliation process of South Africa. I have lived through human rights violations on another continent and know of the value that is placed on those who were part of bringing the injustice to its end. His spirit and determination to help a nation heal and overcome gross injustice has been inspiring to not only me, but many worldwide. During a recent visit many people told me that he would never die. This is true as he has left and imprint through his values and ideals.

Nelson Mandela was a strong supporter of Save the Children and for that we are fortunate. Children and youth were very important to him. He believed in giving them a voice and ensuring they were heard. He knew the power children have.

I believe we have all benefited from Nelson Mandela’s strength and will. This is a will we can all push forward. His loss will be deeply felt, but his memory will continue to change the world.

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For additional information please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
647-631-3862
kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

 

 

Fears pneumonia on the increase, as thousands of children remain in cramped evacuation centres in Philippines
12/2/2013

Toronto, Canada, December 2, 2013 – Dr. Miguel Dorotan, leader one of two medical teams who were the first to reach Dulag, 30km south of Tacloban in the Philippines, confirmed today the increasing concern of respiratory diseases or pneumonia among children in evacuation centres. 

As part of a joint initiative between Save the Children and Merlin, health staff saw 292 patients on the island of Leyte within the first two days of opening. Dr. Dorotan assessed 127 sick children under five years old. The majority of children presented with acute respiratory tract infections, with 42 of them requiring medical treatment for pneumonia. Save the Children Canada’s CEO, Patricia Erb, visited these medical sites during her visit to the affected areas.

“Given the number of homes which were destroyed, families are now living in very overcrowded conditions, in schools or temporary evacuation centres, as well as staying with other families whose homes might also have been severely damaged,” Erb stated. “This, combined with the ongoing rain and stagnant waters, make managing health conditions and reducing the spread of disease a significant challenge.”

The number of houses damaged during typhoon Haiyan is estimated at 1,173,413 with almost half completely destroyed.  With the number of displaced people currently estimated at over 3.54 million (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), concerns continue to grow for those living in damaged, overcrowded, or hastily built shelters, who are highly vulnerable to infection, as the rainy season continues.

Two mobile health clinics were set up on Leyte this week and were able to reach the more remote barangays (villages) of Dulag – Calubian and Cabacunguan, covering a catchment area of 12 to 16,000. A third clinic was opened in San Jose, the biggest barangay in Dulag district, where a further 181 patients were assessed. In the past eight days Save the Children and Merlin doctors have assessed more than 730 patients on the island of Leyte.  Mobile health clinics have also been rolled our across the island of Panay reaching a further 417 patients. They form part of a wider move by Save the Children and Merlin to control the spread of communicable diseases. As well as supporting local clinics, health teams will offer mobile healthcare to residents in some of the hardest-hit areas of Panay and Leyte islands where previous facilities have either been destroyed or overwhelmed with increased demand. These will address some of the most urgent healthcare needs and ensure people, especially children, are treated quickly and effectively. 

Dr Dorotan also raised concerns over the treatment of patients with tuberculosis, an illness that proved challenging to manage in the Philippines, even before the typhoon struck. The country was ranked ninth in the list of 22 countries identified as having the highest burden of tuberculosis in the world, with 212119 new cases recorded in 2012 (World Health Organisation). 

“While we have only seen a few cases, we know that the prevalence of tuberculosis in the Philippines is already very high. Tuberculosis treatment needs to be continuous to be successful and interruptions increase resistance to primary treatment, which is a significant concern.” Said Dr Dorotan.

As part of its emergency response to ensure families and children have sufficient shelter against the prolonged rains, and to restore at least the minimum level of dignity to their living conditions, Save the Children is distributing shelter kits, household items such as bedding and kitchen sets, and household-level water treatment supplies. Its teams have so far reached over 30,000 people in Tacloban, and over 8,000 on Panay island and harder-to-reach islands.     

Save the Children’s Sarah Ireland, who was deployed to Tacloban as Field Manager just after the typhoon struck, warns that the significant health risks posed to children must remain a priority. "While we now need to be looking past the immediate response phase and to helping people recover and rebuild, we must not forget that needs for immediate relief are still extremely high. Hundreds of thousands of children remain without adequate shelter or accommodation, and remain exposed to infectious and life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia and upper respiratory tract infections."

Save the Children Canada is responding to Typhoon Haiyan as part of the Humanitarian Coalition.

 

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Notes to editors:

 

  • Save the Children teams have so far distributed essential items to over 40,000 people.
  • Emergency shelter needs remain significant, with displaced people needing an estimated 4 million corrugated iron sheets and other shelter material to reconstruct their homes.
  • Continued rains are affecting debris clearing roads. Many families are living in damaged buildings or hastily built shacks, resulting in an increase of acute respiratory conditions and infections
  • Merlin and Save the Children have launched a joint response to the emergency in the Philippines. Thanks to this collaboration we are establishing several mobile clinics that will support affected communities both in Leyte and Panay.

For further information or to arrange interviews with our spokespeople in the Philippines, please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations
Save the Children

647-631-3862

kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

 

Humanitarian Coalition Invited to Receive Typhoon Haiyan Donations at DFATD Charity Gala
11/28/2013

(Ottawa, November 28, 2013) The Humanitarian Coalition is pleased to announce that it will be represented at this year’s Art of Giving Gala hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) as the main recipient organization for Typhoon Haiyan donations. The second edition of this high-profile event will be held on Friday, November 29 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Qc.

 

The evening brings together the diplomatic and international communities for music, dancing, food, a silent auction, and a unique opportunity to mingle while at the same time taking a moment to think about the less fortunate around us. Following  the most devastating typhoon ever to hit the Philippines, we are especially mindful of those whose lives have been deeply affected by the immense devastation that it caused in the country’s southern region.

 

To date, the Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies have raised more than $4 million to help Haiyan survivors. This is in large part due to the generous donations of Canadians, be they individual or corporate gifts, or the result of fundraising activities organized by community groups, employers, sports teams, radio stations, or schools.

 

We look forward to an entertaining and successful evening this Friday and thank DFATD employees for inviting the Humanitarian Coalition, Canada’s only group of leading relief agencies working in collaboration to respond to humanitarian disasters.

 

Together, we continue to help the people of the Philippines as they rebuild their lives and restore their neighbourhoods. For more information, go to: www.together.ca 

 

 

 

 

To make a donation to support Typhoon Haiyan relief, visit: www.savethechildren.ca/helpnow

 

 
Save the Children Canada President and CEO Patricia Erb on the ground in the Philippines
11/26/2013

Save the Children Canada President and CEO Patricia Erb on the ground in the Philippines

TORONTO, November 25, 2013 – Children are especially vulnerable during times of disaster. Currently, in the Philippines, an estimated 5.4 million children have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan, including being separated from parents and caregivers. Save the Children Canada’s President and CEO Patricia Erb is on the ground in the Philippines and available for interviews to discuss Canadian aid in the region and Save the Children’s commitment to child protection.

 

As an aid and development organization, Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981, responding to dozens of emergencies across the country.  The agency says providing protection and psychosocial support to children is as vital to relief efforts as food, shelter, and water.

 

With the ever-increasing death toll and the chaos of the storm, an estimated 1.7 million children have become internally displaced, many have been separated from their parents and caregivers, and some may have been orphaned. These children are extremely vulnerable to violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect, and rates of child labour and trafficking are likely to rise significantly. These children need to be reunited with their families as soon as possible.

 

Patricia is available to speak to media from the Philippines. If you’d like to arrange an interview, please contact:

 

Kirsten Walkom
National Senior Manager, Public Relations
+63 999 651 9345

or +63 915 949 7920

kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

 

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivery programs and improving lives in about 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca.

The Humanitarian Coalition is a joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam  Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs. To make a donation for Typhoon Haiyan, go to www.together.ca or call 1-800-464-9154.

 

Typhoon Haiyan Response Relief
11/13/2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TORONTO, CANADA, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 – Save the Children is emptying warehouses of aid for the Philippines to deliver help on the ground to children and their families following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

Technical and medical experts have scrambled from around the world to deliver aid arriving by plane to support millions of people across the country, including:

  • More than 100 staff already on the ground in the hardest hit areas;
  • A team of 12 doctors from the UK will be arriving to offer immediate treatment of the injured and sick;
  • Nine senior logistics experts – from Britain, Australia, and Denmark – making sure help gets through to the people who need it most; and
  • Teams assessing need in Llolio-llolio, Rohas, Tacloban, and two sites on the island of Cebu.

More planes are planned for the coming days which will see aid delivered from warehouses in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Medical support is desperately needed as the full extent of the devastation is realised.

Cat Carter, Save the Children humanitarian officer, speaking from Tacloban, said: “We are talking to doctors in Tacloban who are completely running out of medicine and supplies, finding conditions impossible and unable to do their job. They are desperate to treat children with major cuts and bruising sustained during the storm and are now seeing young patients coming to them showing symptoms of flu and diarrhoea and suffering from fevers.

“The lack of shelter, lack of food and bottled water is only making things worse as children suffer under such brutal conditions.

“There are still dead bodies everywhere you look and carcases of animals also litter the ground. There are major concerns that these could be a health hazard which will heap further pressure on doctors and medical teams.

“We have a strong teams on the ground which are doing all they can in extremely difficult conditions. Aid is on the way and will be distributed as soon as possible.”

When our medical teams arrive they will give priority to open wounds, and obstetrics and paediatric care to pregnant mothers, babies and children.

Save the Children Canada’s President & CEO, Patricia Erb, said: “Aid is on its way and we have experts on the ground in the places hit hard by the typhoon to make sure it is delivered to children and families as quickly and safely as possible.”

A Save the Children aid plane will arrive in Cebu on November 14, 2013

Supplies and aid on board include:

  • 2,000 sheets of tarpaulin & 7,380 pieces of plastic sheeting
  • 12,000 blankets
  • 4 mobile clinics with all the necessary medical equipment
  • 13,600 Jerry Cans
  • 2,500 Kitchen Sets
  • 500 New Born Kits
  • 100 ‘Winterised Tents’
  • 5,000 buckets

Save the Children Canada is a member of the Humanitarian Coalition and is responding as part of the Coalition’s Typhoon Haiyan joint appeal to Canadians. Canadians can help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan by donating now: www.together.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager, Public Relations

Save the Children

647-631-3862

kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivery programs and improving lives in about 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca.

 

The Humanitarian Coalition is a joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada.

With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs. Follow us on and  . To make a donation for Typhoon Haiyan, go to www.together.ca or call 1-800-464-9154.

 

Humanitarian Coalition Launches Appeal for Typhoon Haiyan
11/11/2013
Nov 10, 2013

Today, the Humanitarian Coalition is launching a national joint appeal to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. It is with heavy hearts that we receive reports of deaths, injuries, and extensive damage caused to people's homes and livelihoods.

Our member agencies have been working in the Philippines for decades alongside local partner organizations. They are now assessing the needs of the more than 4 million people affected by the typhoon and scaling up their programs to respond to the urgent needs of the most vulnerable communities.

In this early stage of the emergency response, exact numbers remain difficult to confirm. But the sheer force of the storm and the populated area where it made landfall point to very high casualty estimates. To assist survivors, our member agencies will be providing drinking water, food, shelter, and medicines.

The Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies welcome the Government of Canada's decision to match donations from Canadians. The generous support of Canadians is essential for relief efforts to have an impact and reach stranded families, children who have been separated from their parents, and the elderly.

Together, we are responding and will continue to help the people of the Philippines as they rebuild their communities in the weeks and months ahead. For more information, go to: www.together.ca

The Humanitarian Coalition is a joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs.

For interviews, please contact :

Humanitarian Coalition
Marie-Jo Proulx
613-617-3596
mj.proulx@humanitariancoalition.ca

Save the Children
Kirsten Walkom
647-631-3862
kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

CARE Canada
Suzanne Charest
613-790-2134
media@care.ca

Plan Canada
Dena Allen
647-723-6340
dallen@plancanada.ca

Oxfam Canada
Melanie Gallant
613-240-3047
melaniegallant@oxfam.ca

Oxfam-Québec
Justine Lesage
514- 513-0013
lesagej@oxfam.qc.ca

 

STATEMENT ON TYPHOON IN THE PHILIPPINES
11/8/2013

Save the Children statement on Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Friday, 8 November 2013 - 10:35am

STATEMENT

Anna Lindenfors, Save the Children Country Director for Philippines said: 

“We expect the level of destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan to be extensive and devastating, and sadly we fear that many lives will be lost. As the storm batters across the country, homes, schools and offices are being destroyed by the record-breaking winds. The storm surge is causing widespread flooding.

“Children are going to be particularly affected, swept away in floods, hit by falling debris and separated from their families in the chaos. We expect thousands to be left homeless. 

“Our priority at this time is to help the children that are being affected. Our teams on the ground were well prepared and we deployed a rapid response team to Tacloban, a heavily populated area where the storm was expected to hit hardest. We will be distributing emergency kits for children and families, including toiletries, cleaning items, temporary school tents and education materials. 

“Once the typhoon passes, we can have a better idea of the scale of the damage and loss of life. Right now, we just need to do all we can to help the affected children, many of whom are shocked, injured or alone, and hope for all those that are in the storm's path."

To make a donation to Save the Children's emergency fund and help those affected please visit www.savethechildren.ca.

Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981 and has a long experience responding to emergencies in the Philippines. The aid agency mounted large-scale emergency responses to Typhoon Washi in 2011 and Typhoon Ketsana in 2009, and most recently to last year’s Typhoon Bopha and Manila floods. 

Super Typhoon Hayian, in the Philippines, Threatens Life and Shelter for a Significant Population
11/7/2013
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 7, 2013) - A super typhoon - with winds of up to 250 km/h - is presently headed for densely populated parts of the Philippines. This massive storm is an extreme threat to life and property.

Save the Children with its long history of responding to emergences in the Philippines, has already deployed a rapid response team to meet the needs of children in the city of Tacloban where the super typhoon is expected to hit hardest.

"Typhoons bring with it strong winds and heavy rain, which can cause flash flooding and extensive damage to infrastructure. Thousands of children and their families could be made homeless as houses from the extensive damage," said Save the Children's rapid response team member, Lynette Lim.

The super typhoon is expected to make landfall off the coast of Eastern Visayas on Friday, November 8, 2013, as a category five storm, which is strongest level typhoon. The heavy wind and rain will make it very dangerous for the ten million people who are estimated to be in the path of the Typhoon Hayian.

Save the Children has pre-positioned relief material kits for children and families, which will include toiletries, household cleaning items, temporary school tents and learning materials.

Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981, responding to dozens of emergencies across the country. The aid agency mounted large-scale emergency responses to Typhoon Washi in 2011, Typhoon Bopha and Manila floods last year, and most recently to Typhoon Utor in September which pummelled Luzon, ripping roofs off houses and affecting nearly 400,000 people.

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivery programs and improving lives in about 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

  • For additional information or
    to speak to a spokesperson please contact:
    Save the Children
    Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager
    647-631-3862
    kwalkom@savethechildren.ca

 

Celebrities join free-runners in innovative new global campaign film for Save the Children
10/17/2013

Actress and Save the Children Ambassador Isla Fisher, legendary Kenyan marathon runner Patrick Makau Musyoki, Bollywood star and Save the Children Ambassador Kunal Kapoor, and US actor and dancer Cameron Boyce, feature alongside children and young acrobats, parkourists and free-runners from around the world in an energetic new film from Save the Children.

 Every five seconds, a child dies needlessly from preventable causes. This new film, which shows children and celebrities taking part in a global relay race, travels from rural Kenya to woods in California, via Nairobi, Mumbai, Honolulu and Los Angeles, and aims to inspire people to join Save the Children’s global campaign to end this injustice. The film is being launched around the world in conjunction with Save the Children’s global Day of Action on the 23rd October, when over 50,000 children in 67 countries will take part in campaign activities including a global relay race called the Race for Survival. 

Jasmine Whitbread, CEO of Save the Children said: "Our global ambassadors have given their support to this criticial issue. We want this energetic film to inspire people to take action all around the world.  All children must be able to access life-saving care and given the opportunity to thrive, no matter where they are born."

Isla Fisher said “I recently visited Save the Children’s work in Brazil and there is nothing more important than making sure every child gets the health and nutrition they need. All children should be able to reach their potential”.

 Patrick Makau said: “Dramatic progress is being made around the world in saving children’s lives from poverty and disease. Change is possible and I encourage people to join Save the Children’s campaign and be part of this movement. Growing up is hard enough. It shouldn’t be a race for survival.”

Kunal Kapoor said: "This breath-taking film is energetic, exciting and fun. It is a celebration of the power, resilience and ingenuity of children and young people around the world. I have seen first-hand the work done by Save the Children and ask people to back their global campaign to save children’s lives.”

Save the Children thanks everyone around the world who has donated their time to make this exciting new film a reality, with a special thanks to executive producer Nabil Elderkin. The stunning photography and exuberant feel of this film were created by director Mason Rose and executive producer Nabil Elderkin. The music track for the film, entitled ‘Follow’, was written by and performed by Crystal Fighters.

 

Watch the video on our YouTube Channel now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4txUGTDyTto

Syria's children at risk of malnutrition
9/24/2013

Lack of access to food and soaring prices have left the children of Syria at risk of malnutrition, Save the Children warns today.

 

A lack of access to food, soaring prices and a collapse in food production has left the children of Syria at risk of malnutrition, Save the Children warned today.


The aid agency has gathered testimonies from refugees in neighbouring countries as well as residents trapped by fighting and enduring siege like conditions who detailed families' desperate struggle to feed their children.
More than four million Syrians - over two million children - are unable to produce or buy enough food, with many thousands living under fire and with no access to all but the bare minimum foodstuffs needed to survive. We are already seeing reports that one in 20 children in Rural Damascus is severely malnourished.


Save the Children has heard refugee accounts of children forced to subsist off nothing more than lentils or bread for days on end, with one family trapped in their basement by explosions eating just half a piece of bread each over the course of four days.


In a briefing on the state of hunger in Syria, released today, Save the Children also details how severe food shortages are being compounded by an explosion in food prices. The cost of even the most basic food items has spiralled out of control with the cost of the most basic supplies increasing 100 per cent.
Among the testimonies the charity has gathered:


It was very dangerous for me and my children - we had no food and were always hungry. When this hunger had continued for two months and we were very weak, that is when we decided to flee. We realised we would starve if we stayed in Syria - Roula, mother


The price of food doubled in my village and we couldn't afford to eat at all. Milk, bread, everything - doubled. The children became very hungry all the time. And with no nutrients, they also became sick. - Jinan, mother of Siba, 3
Because of a lack of food my children didn't grow as they should. They started losing weight and it was all we could do to keep them alive. - Maryam, mother of two


The war has shattered Syria's economy and the United Nations now estimates close to seven million inhabitants have been plunged into poverty since fighting began. In addition, Syria's agriculture and infrastructure is collapsing, with grain production falling to less than half of what was typical before the war.


Save the Children's Regional Director for the Middle East, Roger Hearn, said: "The world has stood and watched as the children of Syria have been shot, shelled and traumatised by the horror of war. The conflict has already left thousands of children dead and is now threatening their means of staying alive.


"That some children are going to bed trapped amid fighting - terrified, alone, vulnerable - and with empty stomachs ought to be a stain on all our consciences. We understand there is a political debate over what to do next in Syria but we believe everyone can agree on the critical need for safe humanitarian accessacross the entire country. There is no room for delay or argument: Syria's children must not be allowed to go hungry."

A lack of security makes gathering data on child malnutrition rates extremely difficult throughout Syria. However, all available evidence - including spiralling food costs, a collapse of infrastructure and food production, and testimonies of individuals' experiences with hunger - suggests Syria's children are facing a mounting struggle to feed themselves.

Read the full report, Hunger in a War Zone: The growing crisis behind the Syria conflict

Donate to Syria, visit www.savethechildren.ca/donatetosyria

Save the Children ready to respond in flood-hit Manila
8/20/2013

Save the Children ready to respond as tens of thousands of children flee from their homes in flood-hit Manila and its surrounding regions

Save the Children is ready to respond to the needs of 60,000 displaced people, after floods triggered by heavy monsoon rain, enhanced by Tropical Storm Trami, swept through the Filipino capital and five other nearby regions.

At least three people have been killed in the floods, including a five-year-old boy. Schools, government offices, businesses and even the stock exchange were shut today. Heavy rain is expected to continue until the storm exits the Philippines on Wednesday. According to the Philippines’ disaster agency, about 320 areas in 44 municipalities/cities have been flooded.

“Children are always most vulnerable in these situations,” said Anna Lindenfors, country director for Save the Children in the Philippines. “We are especially worried about children who may have been separated from their parents during the flooding. Children are also less likely to be able to cope with torrents of floodwater. They would have been absolutely terrified, some would have panicked and as rains continue to fall it will place them in greater danger.”

“Save the Children teams are already on standby in Manila, National Capital Region, to respond to the needs of the affected population. Our teams are currently monitoring the situation, and we are in the process of contacting our local partners in the affected areas, so that we can provide relief as necessary. We have pre-made relief packages in our warehouses ready to be mobilized.”

Save the Children has worked in the Philippines for the past 30 years and quickly delivers humanitarian relief after the nation’s frequent typhoons and other disasters. The children’s aid agency is currently responding to the needs of affected communities in Typhoon Bopha and Typhoon Utor. A prime target of natural disasters, the Philippines experiences an average of 20 tropical storms a year and is located in a major earthquake zone housing a number of active volcanoes.

 

To help children around the world facing conflict, violence or natural disasters, you can donate to our Emergency Response Fund.

 

For additional information and/or to speak with someone, please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National, Senior Manager, Public Relations
Save the Children Canada
kwalkom@savethechildren.ca
Mobile: 647-631-3862

Thousands of Syrian refugees stranded on the Iraqi border
8/19/2013

Thousands of Syrian refugees stranded on the Iraqi border as influx overwhelms aid effort, Save the Children says

Save the Children field staff distribute supplies along the Syrian borderThousands of Syrian refugees are stranded on the Iraqi border after more than 10,000 people, mainly women, children and the elderly, crossed in just two days, Save the Children says.

The influx follows a sharp deterioration in the security situation in north eastern parts of Syria, with thousands of people seeking safety in Iraq’s Kurdish region, overwhelming the aid effort there.

Around 7,000 refugees have been taken to an emergency camp, but thousands are still waiting to be registered at the border, and the influx is showing no signs of slowing down.

Save the Children has launched an emergency response to deal with the stranded refugees, distributing basic supplies to families waiting to be registered. Over the next few days, the aid agency will distribute more than 40,000 liters of water at the border crossing.

“This is an unprecedented influx of refugees, and the main concern is that so many of them are stuck out in the open at the border or in emergency reception areas with limited, if any, access to basic services,” Alan Paul, Save the Children’s Emergency Team Leader said. “The refugee response in Iraq is already thinly stretched, and close to half of the refugees are children who have experienced things no child should. We urgently need to cover their basic needs- food, water and shelter.”

With the Syrian conflict in its third year the Kurdistan region of Iraq already hosts more than 150,000 Syrian refugees, a figure UN expects will rise to as much as 350,000 by the end of the year.

It is still unclear how long the border will be kept open, but Save the Children will continue to coordinate closely with organizations and UN agencies to meet the needs of the new arrivals.

Save the Children is working in refugee camps across Iraq, including in the Kurdish region, as part of its Syria crisis response. It is also delivering aid in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria itself.

You can help us provide vital support to Syria's children. Donate today.

For additional information and/or to speak with someone, please contact:

Kirsten Walkom, National, Senior Manager, Public Relations
Save the Children Canada
kwalkom@savethechildren.ca
Mobile: 647-631-3862

 

Merlin is joining Save the Children
7/16/2013

Merlin is joining Save the Children

International health charity Merlin is joining Save the Children to create a world-class humanitarian health force for children and their families living in some of the toughest places in the world. By combining Merlin’s unique network of frontline health workers with our life-saving work in over 120 countries, we will be able to help more children affected by disaster or conflict.

Why is this happening?

Merlin and Save the Children have responded to many different crises across the world together and there has always been mutual admiration between the two organisations. Now there’s a shared recognition of the huge potential of combining our efforts.

We’ve worked alongside one another since Merlin was founded 20 years ago. While there have always been differences in scale and breadth of programming, our shared values and a commitment to helping those in extreme need make this a natural fit that will help save more lives. and Save the Children have responded to many different crises across the world together and there has always been mutual admiration between the two organisations. Now there’s a shared recognition of the huge potential of combining our efforts.

Why now?

Merlin approached us to explore the possibility of joining Save the Children to create a world-class humanitarian health force combining the expertise of both organizations.

We welcomed this opportunity to extend our ambitious humanitarian and health programs and significantly expand and deepen our frontline health capabilities for children and their families.

Merlin’s strategic plan for 2012-15 was always to enter into partnerships to help achieve the goal of expanding its reach and providing medical support and assistance to countries where they have never previously been able to work.

This is an opportunity for Merlin to see its work continue and create a sustainable future for the organization in a tough external environment for smaller charities.

Merlin’s new trustees will work closely with Save the Children. A transition team is being formed which will work with Merlin to develop a plan over the next few months. During this time Merlin’s life-saving work for children and their families around the world will continue.

What it will mean for children?

Joining forces will provide substantially greater reach, impact and value for money for frontline health services.

Together we can be more than the sum of our parts, and ultimately it will mean more children’s lives are saved.

EMERGENCY APPEAL: New response underway in Alberta Flood Crisis
6/27/2013

 

Statements by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children, and Richard Running Rabbit, Siksika First Nation’s Brighter Futures Coordinator, on Flooding in Alberta

Toronto, ON – (June 27, 2013) – Save the Children's Canadian emergency response team is mobilizing staff and essential supplies to provide support, relief, and recovery services to communities and families affected by flooding in southern Alberta. Save the Children is establishing a Child-Friendly Space in the Siksika First Nation reserve, one of the hardest hit communities.

Flooding in the province has a dozen communities under a state of emergency, where evacuations have affected over 100,000 people across the province. Since school is out for the year and evacuated children have nowhere to go, Save the Children’s Child-Friendly Space will provide a space for games and activities, helping children return to a sense of normalcy while their parents deal with the flood’s fallout.

“About 250 homes have been evacuated, and these families will not be able to return for at least three months, possibly longer,” said Richard Running Rabbit, Siksika’s Brighter Futures Coordinator. “The wider community is full of anxiety because of this displacement, and we’re working hard to bring a sense of normalcy to all those affected as soon as possible.”

“Save the Children is very pleased to have been asked by the Siksika Nation to provide support to families and children affected by the worst flooding in the history of Alberta,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. “We look forward to this new partnership as we continue to grow our Canadian programs including our domestic emergency response. We encourage the public to support these efforts on our website at www.savethechildren.ca/AlbertaFloods,”

Save the Children has programming both in Canada and internationally. In 2012, we responded to 77 humanitarian crises caused by conflict and natural disaster, assisting 5.8 million children in 46 countries. In addition, our measures to reduce the risk of future crises reached 2 million children and family members.

Visit the Save the Children’s website to donate to relief efforts now.

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Cicely McWilliam, Senior Advisor, Policy, Campaigns, Media

Tel: (416) 221-1888 | Cell: (647) 291-1683

Email: cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

 

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, delivering programs and improving children's lives in about 119 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca.           

Statement by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children on Flooding in Alberta
6/24/2013

Statement by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children on Flooding in Alberta

Sana*, aged 3, lost her father and her home. She now lives in a small dank, dark tent in a bordering countryToronto, ON – (June 24, 2013) – Flooding in parts of southern Alberta has a dozen communities under a state of emergency, where evacuations have affected over 100,000 people across the province. Officials in Calgary have said it is the worst flooding in Alberta’s history.

Patricia Erb, President & CEO Save the Children:

“Our thoughts are with those affected by flooding in Alberta. A member of our own staff has been evacuated with her family, bringing this emergency close to home even for us in Toronto,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. “Save the Children will collect donations to support children and families affected by the floods on our website at www.savethechildren.ca/AlbertaFloods.

 “We know from experience that children are always the most vulnerable in emergency situations. Whether they experience these events themselves or through heart-wrenching images on television, disasters like flooding can have a traumatic emotional impact on children.

“There are steps that parents and caregivers can take to help children cope with emergencies, such as limiting TV time, listening to your child’s concerns, and letting them know that their safety is your top priority.”

Save the Children has programming both in Canada and internationally. In 2012, we responded to 77 humanitarian crises caused by conflict and natural disaster, assisting 5.8 million children in 46 countries. In addition, our measures to reduce the risk of future crises reached 2 million children and family members.

Visit the Save the Children website to donate to relief efforts now.

 

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Cicely McWilliam, Senior Advisor, Policy, Campaigns, Media

Toll Free: 1-800-668-5036 x300

Tel: (416) 221-5501 x300 | Cell: (647) 291-1683

Email: cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

World Day Against Child Labour: Protecting working children from harm
6/12/2013

World Day Against Child Labour: Protecting working children from harm


TORONTO, ONTARIO--(June 12, 2013) - Today the international community marks World Day Against Child Labour, to recognize the millions of children engaged in work that deprives them of their rights and is harmful to their physical and mental development. This year’s focus is on children who participate in domestic work, often in the homes of distant relatives or even strangers, in an effort to earn a small amount of money, food, or other things that children may require to grow and develop. However, the risk is that these children are particularly vulnerable to harm and exploitation as their work is often hidden from view, sometimes far from their family and community.


“For over 30 years, Save the Children has been addressing the needs of working children,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. “Our response is two-fold: First, we protect children from the most dangerous forms of work, such as sexual exploitation. Second, we support children in situations where they must work to ensure that all their rights - including protection, education, and play – are realized.”


For example, Save the Children’s Children Lead the Way program, which supports working children in Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Peru, brings formal and informal education to children who work. The program also supports child-led organizations which equip children to advocate for their rights, and creates children’s clubs to allow working children to be protected, to learn and to play. “Not all forms of work are dangerous and exploitative, but there are still far too many children whose rights are being violated in the workplace,” said Ms. Erb. “Most workplaces can be improved to ensure that where children have to work, their rights are protected.”


To this end, in 2012, Save the Children partnered with UNICEF and the UN Global Compact to
develop the Children’s Rights and Business Principles – the first comprehensive set of principles to guide
private sector companies on the full range of actions they can take in the workplace to respect and
support children’s rights.


“I speak to many children who tell me that work is important to their lives,” said Olivia Lecoufle, Child
Protection Officer at Save the Children. “Where work is dignified – it respects their rights, creates
space for learning, and builds their sense of belonging – it can help children contribute to their families,
create links to the community, and build life skills, self-esteem and a sense of pride.”

Children the Priority in Syria
6/7/2013

Children the Priority in Syria

Amar (3) is a Syrian refugee in the Domiz Refugee Camp in IraqAccess to millions at risk in Syria must become priority, Save the Children says, as UN announces largest ever humanitarian appeal

Gaining access to the millions of children trapped in Syria and at acute risk must become the international community’s priority, Save the Children said today, as UN launched the largest emergency funding call in its history.

Save the Children President and CEO Patricia Erb said: “What the UN today announced was the price tag of our collective political failure to end this conflict. But money is not enough: humanitarian organizations must be able to safely reach the people most affected. It is the children of Syria who are bearing the real cost of this war. Growing numbers are being killed and maimed, denied education and forced to flee their homes.”

According to the latest UN report, massacres are now happening inside Syria at the rate of one a week. Nothing can undo the horrors that children in Syria have faced, but we must ensure that full access is granted to humanitarian organizations to get aid to those most desperately in need.

Donate now to support Syrian children.

(Photo credit: Sebastian Meyer/Getty Images for Save the Children)

Save the Children reaction to new Lancet figures on child deaths through malnutrition
6/5/2013

Save the Children reaction to new Lancet figures on child deaths through malnutrition

Sordibie feeds her son Djoumilou, 24 months, some therapeutic milk in the stablisation clinic supported by Save the Children in Aiguie, Niger.  “New research showing that half of all preventable child deaths in the world are caused by malnutrition represents a shocking wake-up call,” said Save the Children President and CEO, Patricia Erb.

“World leaders meeting in London for Saturday’s Nutrition for Growth event need to take urgent action and take steps to ensure that every child has enough food to survive and thrive. Canada has been the leader in supporting global nutrition improvements and we look forward to that leadership continuing. We are pleased that Minister Fantino will be attending the event this weekend.

“Funding national plans in the developing world to tackle malnutrition must be a priority if we are to put an end to this silent, devastating crisis.

“Failing to act now will condemn more than three million children to die needlessly every year, and for millions of others to left physically and mentally stunted.”

(Above: Sordibie feeds her son Djoumilou, 24 months, some therapeutic milk in the stablisation clinic supported by Save the Children in Niger. Photo credit: Rachel Palmer/Save the Children)

Notes:

  • Thousands of campaigners will be gathering in some 20 countries around the world on Friday June 7th during the Global Day of Action to urge G8 and world leaders to act on the hunger crisis.
  • Currently only 0.4% of aid is spent combating malnutrition despite it being the leading cause of child deaths.
  • The 'Nutrition for Growth' summit to be held in London on Saturday June 8th is co-hosted by the UK and Brazilian governments and will bring together the Heads of State and ministers from 16 Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) countries – Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Gambia, Uganda and Yemen. Additionally, leaders from India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan will also attend, as well as business leaders, scientists and representatives of civil society.
  • The $125 billion figure on the global economic impact of malnutrition comes from the recent Save the Children ‘Food for Thought’ report. Link: bit.ly/EVERYONEFoodForThought

For more information or for an interview contact the media team

Cicely McWilliam (416) 218.1888 (o) (641) 291.1683 (c) cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca
Bryna Jones (416) 221-5501 x222 (o) (647) 273-7134 (c) bjones@savethechildren.ca

 

Chronically malnourished children are 20 per cent less literate – Save the Children
5/27/2013

Chronically malnourished children are 20 per cent less literate – Save the Children

Food for Thought ReportChronically malnourished children are on average nearly 20 per cent less literate than those who have a nutritious diet, according to ground-breaking new research out today.

In the study, Save the Children sheds new light on how missing out on nutritious food can impact on a child’s cognitive development, and its far-reaching effects on economic growth. Recent findings suggest that the global economic impact of malnutrition could be up to $125 billion.

The Food for Thought report comes just ten days before a global nutrition summit in London in advance of this year’s G8 where world leaders from both developing and donor countries must commit to more leadership and funding to transform the lives of millions of children affected by malnutrition. Despite enormous progress in other areas - such as a halving in the number of child deaths over the last two decades - the charity says malnutrition is acting as an Achilles heel to development and that momentum will stall if the world fails to tackle the condition.

The research shows that not having a nutritious diet can severely impair a child’s ability to read and write a simple sentence and answer basic maths questions correctly – regardless of the amount and quality of schooling they have received.

“It is well known that malnutrition is an underlying cause of mortality in children under five. What is less known is the chronic impact of malnutrition. Poor nutrition is a leading driver of the literacy and numeracy crisis in developing countries.” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children.

“A quarter of the world’s children are suffering the effects of chronic malnutrition, putting millions of young lives at risk. Canada is the leading donor for global nutrition, something that should make us proud. When world leaders gather for the G8 in London on June 8th Canada must continue its leadership in the face of this crisis and tackle the scourge of malnutrition for good.”

The research was based on studies of thousands of children in four countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam) and found that at the age of eight, children who are stunted due to chronic malnutrition are 19 per cent more likely to make a mistake reading a simple sentence like “I like dogs” or “The sun is hot” than they would have been expected to do had they not been stunted.

Stunted children are 12.5 per cent more likely to make a mistake writing a simple sentence and do 7 per cent worse answering simple maths questions like “What is 8 minus 3?” than they would have been expected to do had they not been stunted.

“When I was going to school I used to struggle with lessons because I had often gone without any food.” Gatluak, 10, South Sudan

“Those children who come to school after having their breakfast do well. This is difficult for me as I don’t get enough to eat.” Shambel, 12, Ethiopia

Save the Children’s report also highlights the huge economic cost of chronic malnutrition. Malnourished children could earn as much as 20 per cent less in adulthood.

Despite being one of the most cost effective forms of development assistance, spending on nutrition programmes currently amounts to just 0.3 per cent of global development spending. Any investment now, the report says, would be a down payment on future prosperity.

Read the full report.

Read the press release.

Save the Children ready to respond as Tropical Cyclone Mahasen heads towards Bangladesh and Myanmar
5/14/2013

Save the Children ready to respond as Tropical Cyclone Mahasen heads towards Bangladesh and Myanmar


Dhaka, Bangladesh – (May 14, 2013)
– Save the Children’s field offices are on high alert as Tropical Cyclone Mahasen crosses the Bay of Bengal towards the Bangladesh-Myanmar coast.

The Category 1 storm packs wind of up to 120 km/h and is expected to make landfall in Chittagong, Bangladesh, on Thursday morning.

Bangladeshi authorities have sent out warnings to the coastal population in the south eastern area of the country, and advised fishermen not to venture out to sea. Meanwhile, Myanmar authorities have started evacuating people in Rakhine State, the same area where Cyclone Giri struck in 2010, killing about 45 people and destroying over 20,000 homes.

“The storm is potentially dangerous but it is still too early to say for sure,” said Michael McGrath, country director for Save the Children in Bangladesh. “But strong winds and heavy rains could destroy homes and flatten crops at a time where the boro rice in Bangladesh is just ready for harvest. This could affect the source of income for many families, which could have devastating implications for their children such as dropping out of school to work.”

Save the Children has responded to cyclones in both Bangladesh and Myanmar, most recently in Cyclone Giri that struck Rakhine State, Myanmar, in 2010.

“We have been informing children in our vulnerable program areas in Rakhine State about what to do during a cyclone including, staying close to their parents or guardians and seeking a safe, protected place with their families during the storm,” said Kelland Stevenson, country director for Save the Children in Myanmar.

“Save the Children responded quickly and effectively to the needs of children and their families in the aftermath of Cyclone Giri in 2010, reaching over 135,000 people in our relief work. We have prepared emergency relief supplies so that our field offices in Sittwe and Chittagong will be able to respond swiftly to the needs of affected children and their families.”

ENDS

Save the Children has spokespeople available for interviews in both Bangladesh and Myanmar.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:  

Bryna Jones                Tel: (416) 221-5501 x222 or (647) 273-7134 Email: bjones@savethechildren.ca

Cicely McWilliam         Cell: (647) 291-1683 Email: cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond to the unique needs of children in emergencies or conflict situations, or to scale up our work when children’s lives are in danger.

The Humanitarian Coalition Launches Joint Appeal for Syrian Refugees
5/14/2013

The Humanitarian Coalition Launches Joint Appeal for Syrian Refugees


(Ottawa, May 14, 2013)
Today, the Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies are launching a national joint appeal to raise funds to assist the 6.8 million Syrian civilians affected by the ongoing conflict in their country.

Almost five million civilians have been forced to leave their home and many have had to move repeatedly from one location to another inside Syria. Moreover, as many as 1.4 million people have fled to refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt. Every day, more than 7,000 more vulnerable individuals seek protection outside of Syria.

Whether they are internally displaced people (IDPs) or refugees, they all need emergency assistance with life’s necessities. Our member agencies are on the ground responding, but resources are stretched more and more with every week that passes.

 

“When I met Syrian refugee families in Jordan last month, I saw how they were living in very precarious and harsh conditions, with many feeling extreme pressure,” says Kevin McCort, President and CEO of CARE Canada. “At CARE, we are continuing to scale up our response to this humanitarian crisis, but with another million Syrian refugees forecasted in the next year, we urgently need financial support.”

Our other member agencies are responding by providing clean water, food, clothing, medical assistance, and shelter. More than 3 million children are affected by the conflict. They require protection and their education should not be interrupted.

“For millions of Syrian children, the innocence of childhood has been replaced by the cruel realities of trying to survive war,” said Save the Children President and CEO, Patricia Erb. “While visiting refugee families in Lebanon, I saw firsthand their urgent needs for support. Through our work across Syria, and in neighbouring countries, we know that Syrian children, who should be learning at school and playing secure in their homes, are instead consumed with grief and trauma and focused on finding the necessities of life: shelter, food and water.”

Together, the Humanitarian Coalition, its member agencies are appealing to Canadians and asking them to contribute what they can to help the Syrian people. Because we know we can make a difference, we feel a responsibility to try. Please join us.

For more information on the refugee situation and what we are doing to help, please visit our website.  

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The Humanitarian Coalition is a joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada's leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs. 

For information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Bryna Jones, Manager, Communications

Toll Free: 1-800-668-5036 x222

Tel: (416) 221-5501 x222 | Cell: (647) 273-7134

Email: bjones@savethechildren.ca



 




GSK and Save the Children form unique partnership to save the lives of one million children over five years
5/9/2013

GSK and Save the Children form unique partnership to save the lives of one million children over five years

 

Toronto, ON – (May 9, 2013) – An ambitious new partnership to save the lives of a million of the world’s poorest children has been launched by GSK and Save the Children. This unique collaboration will see the two organizations work together in a very different way: sharing expertise, resources, reach, and influence to tackle some of the leading causes of childhood deaths.

Amongst the key initiatives are the transformation of an antiseptic, used in mouthwash into a life-saving product for newborns, and the roll-out of a powder-form of an antibiotic in child friendly doses to help fight pneumonia - one of the main killers of children under five.

For the first time, Save the Children will be involved in helping GSK to research and develop medicines for children, with a seat on a new paediatric R&D board to accelerate progress on innovative life-saving interventions for under- fives, and to identify ways to ensure the widest possible access in the developing world. GSK will be able to leverage Save the Children’s child health expertise and on-the- ground experience to reach children in the most remote and marginalized communities with basic healthcare.

The GSK-Save the Children partnership will also focus on widening vaccine coverage to the poorest children, increasing investment in health workers, as well as developing a low-cost nutritional product to help combat child malnutrition.

Flagship programs will run initially in Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. These will be closely monitored and the evidence on how to save children’s lives at scale will be used to replicate programs in other countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America.

While good progress has been made in recent years, almost seven million children died in 2011 through lack of access to basic healthcare, vaccines or nutritious food. Through these and other initiatives, the partnership aims to help save the lives of one million children in the next five years.

Justin Forsyth, the Chief Executive of Save the Children, UK, said: “This ground breaking partnership involves both organisations working in genuinely new ways to save the lives of a million children. In the past Save the Children may not have embarked on a collaboration with a pharmaceutical company like GSK. But we believe we can make huge gains for children if we harness the power of GSK's innovation, research and global reach."

Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK said: “A partnership of this scale gives us an opportunity to do something amazing – to save the lives of one million children and to transform the lives of millions more. At GSK we are motivated by developing innovative life-saving medicines and getting them to the people that need them. By joining forces with Save the Children, we can amplify these efforts to create a new momentum for change and stop children dying from preventable diseases. I hope this partnership inspires GSK employees and sets a new standard for how companies and NGOs can work together towards a shared goal.”

Key features of the partnership are:

  • Reformulating the antiseptic chlorhexidine – found in GSK’s Corsodyl mouth-wash – for cleansing the umbilical cord stump of newborns to prevent serious infection, a major cause of newborn death in poor countries. Studies from South Asia suggest this simple intervention could prevent up to 1 in 6 new-born deaths in low resource settings.
  • Seeking the accelerated registration and roll-out of a child-friendly antibiotic used to treat pneumonia – which currently kills 1.4 million under-fives, in countries with a high incidence of the illness. This will be developed in dose packs suitable for small babies and young infants. GSK will also work with Save the Children to explore the reformulation of an alternative child-friendly version in places where access to water and milk is not easy.
  • Seeking to widen vaccination coverage to the hardest to reach communities: for example, through greater use of mobile technology solutions, sending SMS messages to remind parents to take up vaccination services and providing health workers and health facilities with smartphones to allow them to record and schedule vaccinations.
  • Researching a new affordable nutrition product combating the scourge of malnutrition - the underlying cause of one in three deaths in under-fives. A joint GSK-Save the Children project team in Kenya is investigating the development of a low-cost nutritional product for the poorest families.
  • Investing in health workers in the poorest communities, building on an existing GSK-Save the Children collaboration to help address the estimated shortfall of at least 3.5 million trained healthcare workers, who can deliver vaccines and essential medicines to babies and young children, provide health advice and treat malnutrition.
  • Building flagship country programs, initially in Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya, to include these interventions, which will be closely monitored and evaluated to determine how the partnership is saving lives before scale-up and replication of the programs in other developing countries.
  • Developing a blueprint for how businesses can deliver better social outcomes by engaging with health and development issues and pursuing joint advocacy efforts to ensure a focus on children’s health and well-being are maintained in global health policy discussions.
  • Inspiring and engaging GSK’s global workforce to help raise awareness through volunteering and fundraising, with the ambition to encourage employees to raise $1.5 million a year, which will be matched by GSK. Through this and other charitable donations to Save the Children, GSK expects to donate at least $23 million over the course of the partnership. Additional contributions will be made through specific research and development programs.

Save the Children and GSK have been working together for eight years on a number of public health projects, including GSK’s initiative to reinvest 20 per cent of the profits it makes in least developed-countries in community programs to strengthen healthcare infrastructure, primarily through the training of community health workers.

Ends


For further information please contact:

Bryna Jones, Manager, Communications

Toll Free: 1-800-668-5036 x222

Tel: (416) 221-5501 x222 | Cell: (647) 273-7134

Email: bjones@savethechildren.ca

Democratic Republic of Congo world’s toughest place to be a mother, Finland the best – Save the Children
5/7/2013

Democratic Republic of Congo world’s toughest place to be a mother, Finland the best – Save the Children

 

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the toughest place in the world to be a mother – and Finland the best – according to Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers report. The Nordic countries sweep the top spots while, for the first time, countries in Sub-Saharan Africa take up each of the bottom ten places in the annual index.

The Mothers’ Index, contained in the report, is a unique ranking of 176 countries around the globe, showing those that are succeeding – and those failing – in their support to mothers.  It assesses mothers’ well-being using indicators of maternal health, child mortality, education, and levels of women’s income and political status.

The startling disparities between mothers in the developed and developing world are summed up around maternal risk.  A woman or girl in the DRC has a one in 30 chance of dying from maternal causes – including childbirth – but in Finland the risk is one in 12,200. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which performs poorly across all indicators, girls are likely to be educated for eight and half years compared to Finland at the top, where girls can expect to receive over sixteen years of education. 

“Research shows the importance of investing in mothers and children,” said Save the Children President and CEO, Patricia Erb. “The prosperity and stability of a country improves as women are better educated, have better personal incomes and are politically represented. When women do better their children are healthier and do better in school. It starts a virtuous cycle of development. We have made great progress around the world but much more can be done to save and improve millions of the poorest mothers’ and newborns’ lives.”  

The Mothers’ Index reveals the United States ranks 30th, behind countries with much lower incomes, such as Lithuania or Slovenia, owing to weaker performance on measures of maternal health and child-wellbeing: in the US, a girl is ten times more likely to die of a maternal cause than a girl Singapore.  Singapore itself is ranked 15th, above countries such as Canada (22nd) and the UK (23rd). But the report shows how all countries need to improve the education and health care of disadvantaged mothers.

The Birth Day Risk Index, also contained in the report, compares first-day death rates for babies in 186 countries. One million babies die each year on the day they enter the world – or two every minutes – making the first day by far the riskiest day of a person’s life in almost every country in the world.

This is despite the low-cost interventions that are available to tackle the high rate of baby deaths on the first day of life. Sub-Saharan Africa remains by far the most dangerous region to be born – with the deaths of newborns actually increasing there in the past few decades.  There, babies are more than seven times as likely to die on the day they are born as babies born in industrialized countries.  A baby in Somalia, the most dangerous country, is 40 times more likely to die on its first day than a child born in Luxembourg, the safest.

Throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, the poor health of mothers, where between 10 – 20 per cent are underweight,  contributes to high rates of death for babies, as does the relatively high number of young mothers who give birth before their bodies have matured.  Other factors are low use of contraception, poor access to decent healthcare when pregnant and a severe shortage of health-workers.

In East Asia and the Pacific, progress has been made and the number of newborn deaths is declining. South Asia, Bangladesh and Nepal have made significant progress in reducing newborn deaths, but in other countries including India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, child marriage and the poor nutritional status of mothers are factors in the regions’ stubbornly high levels of newborn deaths.    

Industrialized Countries

In the industrialized world, the United States has the highest first-day death rate. The U.S. has approximately 50 per cent more first-day deaths than all other industrialized countries combined, due, in part, to higher premature birth rates.

Compared to top-ranked countries, Canada could be doing better. While the United States has the highest first-day death rate in the industrialized world, Canada and Switzerland have the second and third highest rates, respectivelyNewborns in these three countries are at least four times as likely to die on the day they are born as babies born in the lowest mortality countries where first-day death rates are at or below 0.5 per 1,000 live births.

While the data are not conclusive, it is clear that significantly higher child mortality rates in the remote north contribute to Canada’s lower ranking.  More research still needs to be done to determine the precise causes for these rates – and for the regional variation one finds across the country – so that proper public health policies and investments in health systems can be implemented.  Save the Children strongly believes that Canada should – and has the capacity to – do much better to support newborn lives.

The report identifies four lifesaving products that can be used to save lives in the developing world:  corticosteroid injections to women in preterm labour to reduce deaths caused by newborns’ breathing problems; resuscitation devices to save babies who do not breathe at birth; chlorhexidine cord cleansing to prevent umbilical cord infections; and injectable antibiotics to treat newborn sepsis and pneumonia.

Save the Children calls on world leaders to:

  • Strengthen health systems so mothers have greater access to skilled birth attendants. They can provide lifesaving interventions to all mothers and children, in addition to providing more funding for maternal, newborn and child health programs. More should be invested in frontline healthcare workers and community health workers to reach the most vulnerable mothers and babies.
  • Fight the underlying causes of newborn mortality, especially gender inequality and malnutrition. Helping mothers become strong and stable – physically, financially and socially – makes their children stronger and more likely to survive and thrive.
  • Invest in low-cost solutions that can dramatically reduce newborn mortality. Proper cord care and newborn/paediatric doses of antibiotics can prevent and treat simple but deadly infections. Exclusive breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact (known as “kangaroo mother care”) should be encouraged. Such practices cost very little but can save hundreds of thousands of babies’ lives each year. Additionally, birth attendants should be trained and given proper support and supplies.

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Click here to Read More

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:  

Bryna Jones                  Tel: (416) 221-5501 x222 or (647) 273-7134 Email: bjones@savethechildren.ca

Cicely McWilliam         Cell: (647) 291-1683 Email: cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

 

Other key findings of the annual report include:

  • This is the 14th year of the State of the World’s Mothers report.
  • The top 5 countries in the global mothers’ ranking are: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands. The bottom five (in descending order) are: Niger, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and the DRC.
  • Two thirds of all newborn deaths occur in just 10 countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Afghanistan and Tanzania.
  • With 98 per cent of all newborn deaths occurring in developing countries, a gap between the health of the world’s rich and poor is persistent and widening.
  • In many countries, the mortality gap between rich and poor has widened despite falling national rates.
  • Newborn health funding doesn’t match the need. While overseas development assistance for maternal and child health doubled between 2003 and 2008, only six per cent of the funding, in 2008, went to activities specifically focused on newborns and only 0.1 per cent targeted newborns exclusively.
Save the Children reaction to new UN findings that 130,000 children died in 2011 Somali famine
5/2/2013

Save the Children reaction to new UN findings that 130,000 children died in 2011 Somali famine

As new figures reveal that 130,000 children under the age of five died in 2011’s Somali famine and its aftermath, Save the Children has warned that the humanitarian situation for children in the country remains extremely serious.

The charity says that despite an improvement in food security since the peak of the famine, children continue to die because they don’t have enough to eat, and is calling on the international community to maintain focus on combating hunger in the war-torn country.

Ben Foot, Save the Children Somalia country director, said:

“These figures clearly show how children bear the brunt of hunger crises. 130,000 children under the age of five lost their lives in a crisis that was predicted months in advance. We must never let that happen again, and we must recommit to helping the 2.7 million Somalis who remain in crisis. While conditions in Somalia have improved in recent months, the country still has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition and infant mortality in the world.

“With next week’s London Conference on Somalia, this is a timely reminder to the international community of the urgent need to refocus on the humanitarian situation in Somalia.”

Last year, Save the Children and Oxfam launched A Dangerous Delay, a report that showed how the international community’s slow response to the famine cost tens of thousands of lives. Save the Children continues to work across Somalia, providing life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable and helping families to strengthen their resistance to future shocks.

Donate now to Save the Children relief efforts in Savar, Bangladesh, visit www.savethechildren.ca/bangladesh 

 

Read the UN report.

 

Press Release: Savar Disaster: Save the Children to help affected children and families
4/26/2013

Press release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (26th April 2013)

Savar Disaster:  Save the Children to help affected children and families 

Save the Children and PLAN Bangladesh have committed themselves to assist children and families affected by the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar. The two organizations will work closely with Bangladeshi partner organizations and the responsible government authorities to support the ongoing relief efforts.

At least 290 people have died, 800 missing and over 3000 injured after the eight-storey building collapsed yesterday while many were at work. The Rana Complex building houses four garment factories, a bank and several commercial shops. ­­

The number of people in the building at the time of the collapse is unclear, but it is estimated that more than 3000 people were employed by the garment factories in the building alone. Rescue teams have worked through the night using floodlights to break through the rubble and reach survivors.

Save the Children and PLAN Bangladesh expressed their shock and sadness at the heavy loss of life and the number of people injured in the disaster, and offered their condolences and sympathies to the victims and their families.  The two organizations noted that children were among those who had been killed and injured, and that many more children will have lost one or both their parents.

Immediately following the tragedy, Save the Children and PLAN Bangladesh consulted with their NGO partners, who are on the ground in Savar.  Together with local partners, the two organizations are intending to set up a help desk to offer assistance to separated children and others who are vulnerable as a result of this disaster. 

Initial funding allocated by the two organizations totals 85 lakh, with additional funds available to meet needs as they are identified.

“Children are the most vulnerable from this situation because many are reported to be separated, traumatized and became orphan”, said Michael McGrath, Country Director, Save the Children. He also stressed that we urgently need to develop effective plans and procedures for responding to urban disasters.

Save the Children has been working in Bangladesh for over 40 years, providing relief during and after the war for independence. The children’s aid agency also responds to the frequent floods and cyclones that hit the country of 150 million people, and help children and their families prepare for future disasters. In the aftermath of Cyclone Sidr that hit Bangladesh in November 2007, Save the Children provided spaces for children to play, nutritious meals, temporary shelter for displaced families and classrooms for preschool children.

ENDS

For more information contact the Save the Children press office:

 

Cicely McWilliam (direct) 416-218-1888   (cell) 647-291-1683   cmcwilliam@savethechildren.ca

Bryna Jones  (416) 221-5501 x222  (cell) Cell: (647) 273-7134    bjones@savethechildren.ca

 

About Save the Children


Save the Children is the world's leading independent organisation for children, delivering programmes and improving children's lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. Working toward a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children's mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.

 

Learn more at www.savethechildren.ca and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.ca.

New Report: Ending the Hidden Exclusion, Learning and equity in Education post-2015
4/18/2013

The last decade has witnessed enormous progress in expanding access to education worldwide. The job is not yet finished: 61 million primary schoolaged children are still denied the opportunity to learn. But as we continue to make progress and look ahead to 2015 and beyond, it is vital to shine a light on the ‘hidden exclusion’ affecting children’s
education around the world.

When a child is out of school it is an obvious injustice and exclusion, but millions more in-school children suffer because they are not given the opportunity to learn. There are 130 million children in school who are not learning even the basics – a shocking figure masked by the focus in recent decades on getting more children into classrooms.
As we look forward to the next set of global development goals, the focus needs to be on ensuring that no child is excluded – that every child, including the poorest and most disadvantaged, is both in school and learning.


Expanding educational opportunity in this way will be one fundamental building block in the creation of fairer societies – where human rights are respected, democracy is strengthened and widely-shared prosperity is achieved. Ensuring better quality and more equal school systems will be critical to reversing the income and wealth inequality that is doing so much damage to societies and undermining national prosperity.

In this paper, we argue that setting an ambitious global learning goal, as part of a post-2015 development framework, will be crucial to realising this vision. It is, of course, only one element of the solution, but it will be an important one.

Save the Children believes we are now at a critical juncture: with the right decisions, level of ambition, and focus, our generation has the opportunity to fully realise the right to education: to ensure no child is excluded from school and every child in school is receiving a good quality education and learning. 

Read more in Save the Children's just released report: Ending the Hidden Exclusion, Learning and equity in Education post-2015

Two million Syrian children caught in crossfire of conflict entering its third year
3/12/2013

Two million Syrian children caught in crossfire of conflict entering its third year, Save the Children warns

Syrian girls stood at a refugee settlement near the Syrian border

(Right: Syrian girls stand at a refugee camp near the Syrian boarder. Photo credit: Jonathan Hyams/Save the Children)

*Names have been changed to protect children's identities.

Two million children trapped inside Syria are innocent victims of a bloody conflict that has already claimed 70,000 lives, Save the Children warns in a new report, Childhood Under Fire, launched today to mark two years of violence in Syria.

“For millions of Syrian children, the innocence of childhood has been replaced by the cruel realities of trying to survive war,” said Save the Children President and CEO, Patricia Erb. “While visiting refugee families in Lebanon, I saw firsthand their urgent needs for support.”

In Childhood Under Fire, Save the Children details the impact of the conflict on children, showing that many are struggling to find enough to eat; are living in barns, parks and caves; are unable to go to school with teachers having fled and schools being attacked; are being forced into early marriage; and that damage to sanitation systems is forcing some children to defecate in the street.

“Through our work across Syria, and in neighbouring countries, we know that Syrian children, who should be learning at school and playing secure in their homes, are instead consumed with grief and trauma and focused on finding the necessities of life - shelter, food and water,” said Ms. Erb.

Citing new research carried out amongst refugee children by Bahcesehir University in Turkey, the report also reveals the extent to which children have been directly targeted in the war, with one in three children reporting having been hit, kicked or shot at.

Combined with the breakdown of society in parts of the country and more than three million people displaced, the conflict has led to the collapse of childhood for millions of youngsters, the charity says. Childhood Under Fire details how some young boys are being used by armed groups as porters, runners and human shields, bringing them close to the frontline, while some girls are being married off early to ‘protect’ them from a widely-perceived threat of sexual violence.

The report’s key findings are:

  • Thousands of children are facing malnutrition as food production is wiped out and severe shortages take hold. “Why did we leave? Hunger. Food. There was none. No bread. If I stayed my children would have died from hunger.” – Rami, father of three.
  • Millions of children have been forced from their homes and tens of thousands are living in parks, barns and caves. “There were 13 of us in total, crammed into one room. We did not leave that room for two weeks.”- Yasmine, 12.
  • Girls are being married off early in an effort to protect them from perceived threat of sexual violence. My daughter is 16 and she loved school. She is innocent and very pretty. I know that men are hurting women. We could not protect her, so we had to marry her. We needed her to have a protector.” - Um Ali, mother of 2.
  • Families have been left without heating in winter as fuel prices have risen by up to 500 per cent. “In one area of Syria where Save the Children is responding, during the bitter winter, school benches were stolen for firewood; desperate, understandable measures to stay warm, but further erosion of children’s opportunities to learn and play.”- Childhood Under Fire.

Omar *, five and Ali *, six at a Save the Children distrbution site of essential items near the Syrian border

(Left: Omar *, five and Ali *, six at a Save the Children distrbution site of essential items near the Syrian border. Photo credit: Jonathan Hyams/Save the Children)

The research by the Bahcesehir University also reveals the extent to which children have been affected by war, with nearly one third of children surveyed saying that they had been separated from members of their families due to the conflict. Three quarters of those surveyed had experienced the death of a close friend or family member. Many are showing signs of emotional difficulties as they struggle to come to terms with their experiences.

Save the Children, which is providing humanitarian relief in Syria and neighbouring countries, is calling for all parties to the conflict to allow unfettered, safe access to populations in need and to ensure that everything is done to bring the fighting to an end.

It welcomes pledges to fund the $1.5 billion humanitarian appeal for Syria, and calls on governments to urgently deliver the money, which is designed to target aid both inside the stricken country and to refugees living on Syria’s borders.

The aid agency is appealing for funds to help its response in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan where it is delivering
food, warm clothes, blankets, providing education and helping children recover from their experiences.

Interviews with Patricia Erb, and regional spokespeople, are available. Please call: 1-800-668-5036 x222
or off hours at (647) 273-7134.

Read the full report, Childhood Under Fire

Donate now to support our work with Syrian refugees.

Statement by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children, on International Women’s Day
3/8/2013

Statement by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children, on International Women’s Day

Students in a midwifery school in Afghanistan

(Right: Students at a midwifery school in Afghanistan. The training of 50 new midwives for Uruzgan is part of the four-year AusAID funded Children of Uruzganprogram, which is being delivered by Save the Children to improve the health and education of 300,000 people, particularly women and children, in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan.)

Today, Save the Children celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD), which recognizes the achievements of women, and the advances women have made in fulfilling their human rights. This day also serves as an important reminder that although much progress has been made, there is still critical work to be done in closing equity gaps and creating positive and sustainable change for women and girls.

Patricia Erb, President & CEO Save the Children:

“On this International Women’s Day, Save the Children recognizes that equality of girls and women is not only a moral obligation, it is the foundation of successful development,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. “We also recognize that to achieve equality for women and girls, boys and men must be part of the solution.

“Inequality leads to inequity. If we are ever to succeed in reducing the preventable deaths of children, improving their health and education and reducing poverty we must win the battle against inequality in all forms, particularly gender inequality.

“Save the Children wholeheartedly believes that children and youth, girls and boys, have a vital role to play in promoting gender equality and in the development of programs to uphold this right.”

Visit our website to learn more about our work supporting women through the Benishangul Gumuz Food Security and Economic Growth Project in Ethiopia: http://bit.ly/savethechildrenblog

Thousands of displaced children in Mali face food shortages
2/14/2013

Thousands of displaced children in Mali face food shortages

Zeinabou Cisse, 44, sits with her daughters and her sister in front of the house she now rents in Sikasso.  *All names have been changed for child protection

(Right: Zeinabou Cisse, 44, sits with her daughters and her sister in front of the house she now rents in Sikasso.
*All names have been changed for child protection)

Thousands of children displaced by the conflict in Mali face food shortages, warns Save the Children. These children were already suffering from the devastating food crisis even before being displaced, and require urgent humanitarian aid as their families cannot afford to buy enough food.

The children’s aid agency estimates that 203,500 children fled their homes in the northern regions of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal since the outset of the conflict over a year ago. Just over half of them have been displaced within the country, while the rest have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

"Thousands of children have had to flee their homes in terror after suffering months of extreme hunger and are now at risk," said Tom McCormack, Save the Children’s Country Director in Mali. “Children are still going hungry, with many cutting down on meals and some reduced to eating only rice. They need urgent help.”

Displaced families have told Save the Children staff about their daily struggle to get by:

  • “Food is a problem. We don’t have money so we don’t have food. I only eat rice and gruel and am hungry,” Amada, 13-year-old boy [Koutiala].
  • “The children tell me all the time they’re still hungry. We only have rice to eat, we can’t afford vegetables, we urgently need food,” Zeinabou, 44, mother of seven children [Sikasso].
  • “It was really hard in Niger, especially because of the hunger. I was eating rice, only rice. It was expensive, and there wasn’t enough money to buy anything more,” Maimouna, 15-year-old-girl [former refugee in Niger, recently displaced to Koutiala].

As the conflict begins to abate in some parts of the north, tens of thousands of displaced families are now faced with the difficult decision of whether to return home. But without assistance, Save the Children says that they face the prospect of returning completely destitute, many to houses and shops that have been destroyed and pillaged during the fighting.

Many will be forced to rebuild and replace what was stolen or damaged with no income or savings to do so. Making matters worse, the northern region is still affected by the food crisis which is affecting hundreds of thousands of children.

“While fighting dies down in some areas, the situation is far from stabilized and many families will remain displaced for weeks or even months to come. Those who do return home will face extreme difficulties in rebuilding their lives, and for all those affected by both the food crisis and the conflict, it is clear the road to recovery will be a long one,” said Mr McCormack. “We need to remember that even before the recent conflict or food crisis Mali was already one of the poorest countries in the world.”

Operating in Mali for 25 years, Save the Children is now working to expand its existing protection, livelihoods and nutrition programs to meet the needs of displaced children who have arrived in Mopti, south of Gao and Kidal, as well as southern areas of the country such as Sikasso.

Donate now to the Children’s Emergency Fund which enables Save the Children to respond quickly when an emergency strikes, or to scale up our work when an existing situation deteriorates and children’s lives are in danger.

Save the Children welcomes new funding commitments to Syria
1/30/2013

Save the Children welcomes new funding commitments to Syria

Statement by Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children, on Canada's Funding Announcement in Support of Syrian Children and Families

Children gather in Al Qaem refugee camp.

(Right: Children gather in Al Qaem refugee camp in Iraq. Photo credit: Save the Children.)

Save the Children welcomes the news of an additional $25 million commitment by the Government of Canada to provide aid for the over 700,000 refugees fleeing conflict in Syria. The announcement was made today by the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, at the high-level International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria.

Patricia Erb, President & CEO Save the Children:

“This week I’m in Lebanon, visiting children and families in Beddawi refugee camp,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children. “I have seen firsthand the urgent need of those fleeing conflict in Syria. Despite the best efforts of aid workers, camps are reaching a breaking point.

“We thank the Government of Canada, and Minister Fantino, for the announcement of additional funding for Syrian refugees. Save the Children has already reached almost 130,000 people in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and inside Syria, and we are committed to continuing to deliver crucial humanitarian assistance to reach even more children and families with the aid they so urgently require.” 

Read Patricia's statement in our Newsroom. 

To donate to Save the Children’s response in Syria please visit: www.savethechildren.ca/donatetosyria

Syrian families without vital aid as humanitarian response faces major funding shortages
1/29/2013

Syrian families without vital aid as humanitarian response faces major funding shortages, Save the Children warns ahead of major donor conference

More than 200,000 Syrian refugee children are now facing a bitter winter

(Right: More than 200,000 Syrian refugee children are now facing a bitter winter in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Visit our photo gallery for more images of their plight.)

A huge funding shortfall is leaving thousands of Syrian children and families without essential aid, Save the Children warns, as governments meet this week in Kuwait for the high-level International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria.

“While governments are meeting in Kuwait, I’ll be in Beddawi refugee camp in Lebanon, meeting children and families who’ve fled the conflict in Syria,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children. “Many of them have literally run for their lives – escaping intensified fighting and shortages of food, medicines and fuel. They’re in urgent need of aid.”

Syrian children are facing freezing temperatures, sometimes living in abandoned buildings and farms. Many have fled with their families with little or no food.

Over 4.6 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, and refugee numbers have doubled in many places in the past few weeks.

In the face of this crisis, just 3 per cent of the United Nation’s $1.5 billion humanitarian appeal has been met.

“The international community needs to engage in the effort to assist Syrian refugees,” said Ms Erb. “Despite the best efforts of aid workers, camps are reaching a breaking point. Governments meeting in Kuwait need to give them a life-line before it’s too late.”

Humanitarian needs created by the Syrian conflict have spiraled in recent weeks. This month, nearly 40,000 people have fled Syria into Jordan alone, double the number who arrived in December. Numbers of registered refugees overall have quadrupled in the past six months as the fighting intensifies.

Despite the huge cost of hosting approximately 700,000 refugees, as reported by the UN, since the conflict began almost two years ago, countries around Syria have offered support to those who have fled.

But more funding is urgently required in order to provide life-saving assistance to Syrian children and their families in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey as well as the millions of people displaced inside Syria.

“The international aid appeal for Syria has always been massively underfunded. Funds are urgently needed as the number of families in need of help increases by the day,” added Ms Erb.

Save the Children is bringing vital life-saving assistance to children and their families in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, reaching nearly 130,000 people across the region. The aid agency is aiming to raise $94 million with only a third funded so far.

To donate to Save the Children’s response in Syria please visit: www.savethechildren.ca/donatetosyria

For more information visit: www.savethechildren.ca/syria

Mass exodus as Syrian children run for their lives
1/25/2013

Mass exodus as Syrian children run for their lives

Syrian refugees arrive at the reception/registration area in Za`atari camp on January 24th

(Above: Syrian refugees arrive at the reception/registration area in Zaatari camp on January 24. Photo credit: Save the Children)

In the last 24 hours an estimated 10,000 children and their families have fled Syria into Jordan.

As fighting intensified in Southern Syria almost 20,000 refugees arrived at the border. Nearly 3500 people made it to Zaatari refugee camp last night.

Up to four to five buses are arriving in the camp every hour – the majority crammed full of frightened and exhausted people who fled with what little they could carry.

Saba Al Mobaslat, Save the Children’s Program Director in Zaatari camp, said:

“Many women and children are running for their lives, arriving with just the clothes on their backs. Many are unable to pack essential supplies and desperately need our help.

“It’s freezing, wet and the camp is already over-crowded. Many children who are arriving are exhausted, shocked and terrified.

“Despite the best efforts of aid workers, the camp is reaching a breaking point and this is going to get so much worse in the next few days if numbers continue to rise at such an alarming rate.”

Temperatures have already hit minus four degrees in the camp. Heavy rains are expected next week prompting concerns for the over 50,000 people already living in the Zaatari camp.

Save the Children, in partnership with UN agencies and Jordanian authorities, is working around the clock to help the refugees providing food, blankets and winter clothes. It is also providing emotional support for children who have suffered or witnessed brutal attacks within Syria.

Save the Children is bringing vital life-saving help to children in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Across the region we have already reached nearly 130,000 people.

To donate to Save the Children’s response in Syria please visit: www.savethechildren.ca/donatetosyria

Renewed fighting forcing Mali's poorest to flee
1/14/2013

Renewed fighting forcing Mali's poorest to flee

As French and other forces attack northern districts of Mali in an offensive against Islamist rebels, Save the Children today warned that children and women forced to flee for their lives are among the poorest and most vulnerable in the country. Families forced from their homes are adding to the almost 350,000 people who fled the region after last year’s fighting erupted.

Save the Children’s Country Director Tom McCormack said, “Families and children are starting to arrive in Bamako and other areas. They have fled the fighting and are especially vulnerable. Many of these displaced families were likely too poor to flee the fighting last year as the northern reaches of Mali suffered through one of the worst droughts in living memory. Many will be in dire need of assistance.”

Save the Children works in Gao and Mopti, two of the northern cities worst affected by recent fighting. Programs in these areas include feeding programs, cholera prevention, health clinics and helping children return to education. 

Read the press release. 

Donate now to the Children’s Emergency Fund which enables Save the Children to respond quickly when an emergency strikes, or to scale up our work when an existing situation deteriorates and children’s lives are in danger. 

The Humanitarian Coalition Marks the Three-Year Anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake
1/10/2013

The Humanitarian Coalition Marks the Three-Year Anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake

A Save the Children health worker examines 3 month-old baby boy, Antoine.(Right: A Save the Children health worker examines 3 month-old baby boy, Antoine. His Aunt, 19-year-old Manoushka brought the child to a Save the Children-supported clinic in Haiti, where he was treated for diarrhea. Photo credit: Susan Warner/Save the Children)

As the three-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti approaches, the member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition want to collectively take a moment to reflect on the successes and challenges that have marked the complex recovery efforts in that country.

First and foremost, it is the people of Haiti who must be commended for their courage and resilience in the face of catastrophic material destruction and immeasurable human suffering. Immediately after the earthquake struck, they were the first responders, helping family, friends, and neighbours as all struggled to reach safer grounds.

The member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition have been working in Haiti for decades. When disaster struck, they were able to respond quickly to the most pressing needs of the Haitian people in Port-au Prince and other affected areas.

Over the last three years, they have focused on a wide range of programs, including water and sanitation, food security, basic education, maternal and child health, and inclusive and accountable governance. As part of their commitment to the country’s long-term economic sustainability, they are also building more disaster resilient structures and communities, developing livelihoods projects in camps and neighbourhoods, and investing in the agricultural sector.

Since the cholera outbreak of October 2010, a number of our agencies are dedicating additional resources to the spreading of prevention messages, promotion of good hygiene practices, and support for medical facilities.

While much remains to be done across all regions of Haiti, our member agencies and their local partners remain committed to the country’s recovery. Together, we are making a difference and helping the Haitian people as they continue to strengthen the health, safety, and future of their communities.

About the Humanitarian Coalition

Save the Children is a member of the Humanitarian Coalition, a joint Canadian approach to humanitarian response. The member agencies of the Humanitarian Coalition work together during humanitarian emergencies to reduce unnecessary competition, inform the public on humanitarian needs, increase the impact of Canadian humanitarian responses and reduce administrative costs. 

Visit the Humanitarian Coalition website to learn more. 

 

End extreme poverty in 20 years, Save the Children urges UN panel
1/8/2013

End extreme poverty in 20 years, Save the Children urges UN panel

Ending Poverty in Our GenerationA United Nations panel should use its influence by adopting a new plan to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, Save the Children says.

The High Level Panel – co-chaired by Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and British Prime Minister David Cameron – will meet later this month to discuss a new system to replace the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015.

Save the Children’s new report Ending Poverty in Our Generation outlines an ambitious new development framework which, it says, can help all countries end extreme poverty in the next 20 years. This is the first time that an organization proposes specific new targets to replace the MDGs.

“Ending extreme poverty in a generation is possible. We have an historic opportunity to end the devastating cycle of poverty that is at the heart of preventable death, chronic illness, inadequate educational outcomes, and thwarted opportunity for children around the world,” said Save the Children’s CEO, Patricia Erb.

The MDGs were eight international targets adopted by every United Nations member state in 2000 with commitments to tackle global ills such as extreme poverty, child deaths and a lack of free education. Progress has been mixed, with some developing countries on track to achieve all targets and others looking unlikely to meet any.

Ms Erb added: “The Millennium Development Goals succeeded in lifting 600 million people out of poverty and helped 56 million more children go to school. But there were gaps in that framework that must be addressed and we call on the UN Panel to commit to new targets to secure a prosperous, sustainable future for the world's poorest children.”

The report says the end of extreme poverty is now in sight because of remarkable progress made in improving the lives of millions over the last two decades. For example, the number of under-five deaths worldwide declined from nearly 12 million in 1990 to under 7 million in 2011, and an additional 56 million children enrolled in primary school from 1999 to 2009.

The report warns of three major threats to the process:

- A failure to tackle inequality in the framework will mean progress will be too slow and some groups will be left behind.
- A desire to cram too much into the framework leading to a lowest common denominator outcome.
- A fragmented and already fractious political process at UN level.

 

 

Read the report.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Global Artist Ambassador for Child Hunger and Nutrition
1/3/2013

Cristiano Ronaldo Global Artist Ambassador for Child Hunger and Nutrition

Cristiano Ronaldo Global Artist Ambassador for Child Hunger and Nutrition

(Right: Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo is kicking off the New Year as Save the Children’s new Global Artist Ambassador. Photo Credit: Jorge Monteiro)

Real Madrid football star Cristiano Ronaldo is kicking off 2013 as Save the Children's new Global Artist Ambassador. In his new role, Cristiano will fight child hunger and obesity, and promote physical activity and healthy eating.

“When I learned that 1 in 7 kids around the world go to bed hungry each night, I jumped at the chance to get involved,” said Cristiano Ronaldo. “It is an honor to join Save the Children. I want to work with them to make sure that fewer parents will have to struggle with putting the right kinds of food on the table.“

About Cristiano's Causes

Fighting Hunger

Chronic hunger impair children's development and leaves them vulnerable to deadly disease. Children are more likely to be healthy and educated when their families are not worried about where the next meal will come from. To help parents fight hunger and malnutrition, Save the Children's programs focus on improving the food supply, farming practices and finances of families in need. Learn more

Promoting Good Health

How can you be starving and obese at the same time? Turns out, for 1 in 3 kids in America, it’s pretty darn easy. When kids live in poverty—when struggling families have to make the choice between putting cheaper, unhealthy food on the table or no food at all—eating healthy often isn’t a choice at all. As a result, more than half of children living below the poverty line in rural America are overweight or obese. Learn more

Read the Press Release

About Cristiano

Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese footballer who currently plays for Real Madrid in Spain and represents Portugal at national level as the team's captain. Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, commonly known as Cristiano Ronaldo, was born on the 5th of February 1985 in Funchal, Madeira (Portugal). He began his professional career with Sporting Lisbon in Portugal but his talent was soon recognised by many of Europe's elite clubs all wanting to capture his signature.

Ronaldo's personal highlight with Manchester United was being crowned as the Ballon d'Or in 2008. Cristiano recently got his 100th cap for Portugal at senior level, becoming the third youngest player at 27 years of age to reach such a feat. He is also the first football player in the world to surpass 50 million likes on Facebook.com/cristiano.

Thousands of separated children at extreme risk in eastern DRC
12/28/2012

Thousands of separated children at extreme risk as displaced families flee conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Save the Children warns.

 


DRCToronto, ON – (December 28, 2012) – Save the Children warned today that thousands of separated and displaced
children in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo are at extreme risk of sexual violence, including rape, or of being kidnapped and recruited into armed militias.

The aid agency is now helping to identify some of the thousands of youngsters separated from their families, working with partner organisations to start the meticulous process of tracking down their parents, with some success.

Many of those displaced live in sprawling camps, and have no idea what has happened to their loved ones. There are now almost a million displaced living in North Kivu province after the recent upsurge of violence between a rebel army and Congolese forces.

Fourteen year old Beatrice is one of them. “I was at home with my little sister. We heard the gunfire and we saw soldiers coming into the village, everyone fled,” she said. “I felt awful, I didn’t know where my mum was and we were all on our own. My sister and I just followed everyone else, we all ran into the forest. It took a whole day of walking. My little sister cried the whole time – she kept calling for our mum.”

Lillian, 14, found herself alone as she returned from school one day, only to discover that an armed group had occupied her village. “I went home but my mum and brothers and sisters had fled. Some soldiers raped four girls – they were my friends. I saw it happen. I was so scared and just ran away. I heard that two of the girls died from the attack,” she said.

“I didn’t know what to do, so I followed the villagers who were fleeing in the same direction. I didn’t have any clothes or money to pay for any transport or food. We then arrived at a camp where I stayed for four months but had to move again in November because the fighting got nearer. I walked here to Goma, it took me six hours. I walked through the bush and I was very scared – I knew it wasn’t safe.”

In the face of this growing crisis, Save the Children is planning to scale up its child protection work in the region. “We’ve found separated children who have heart breaking tales of how they they’ve lost their parents as they fled the fighting,” said Rob MacGillivray, Save the Children’s DRC country director.

“They often have no idea what has happened to their families, or even if they’ve survived. They’re terrified and vulnerable and desperately want to find their parents. We’re doing all we can to make sure these children get the support they need to be reunited with their families.”

In areas particularly badly affected by the conflict, Save the Children has identified 923 separated or unaccompanied children, raising fears that there are thousands more in settlements across North Kivu.

Ten year old Anicet is one of the luckier ones – his parents have been traced. He was separated from his parents during a firefight in North Kivu earlier this year. “I remember the day we were separated – I heard gunfire and was very scared. I thought my parents had died,” he said. “We lived on our own for many months this year and survived from the help of kind people and neighbours.”

Save the Children’s local partner managed to trace his parents, and arranged for them to be reunited.

“One month ago I heard the news that they might have found my parents,” Anicet said. “I am so happy to meet my father again. Please carry on doing your work to help other children find their parents.”

 

Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond to the unique needs of children in emergencies or conflict situations, or to scale up our work when children’s lives are in danger.

EU Nobel prize money granted to Save the Children and Norwegian Refugee Council
12/18/2012

13,000 children victims of conflict in Somalia and DRC to benefit from EU Nobel prize money granted to Save the Children and Norwegian Refugee Council

Kibonge, 4 years old sits outside his tent in a camp in Goma.

(Right: Children like Kibonge, 4, in the Democratic Republic of Congo will benefit from EU Nobel prize money. Photo credit: Katie Seaborne/Save the Children)

13,000 children who have fled from conflict in Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will benefit from EU Nobel prize money, granted to Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), it was announced today.

The announcement was made in Brussels by ECHO, the European Community Humanitarian Office, following the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU. The joint initiative between Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council received €900,000, and was one of four proposals to receive a total of €2 million, made up of Nobel Peace Prize money matched by the EU.

Save the Children will provide education to 4,000 Somali children living in refugee camps in the border town of Dollo Ado in Ethiopia. NRC on the other hand will focus on 9,000 children affected by the conflict in Petit Nord Kivu DRC.
The proposed projects will ensure that over 13,000 highly vulnerable children displaced by conflict have access to safe, protective and nurturing spaces, in which they can attend education classes, begin to recover from the trauma of conflict and be supported in building their resilience to cope with their lives ahead.

“It is crucial that key agencies like ECHO see education as a vital component to ensure it is responding to what children need, and ensuring it endorses this through its own humanitarian operations”, said Tove Wang, the chief executive of Save the Children Norway.

“We are thankful and honoured. It is particularly gratifying that the prize money is earmarked for education in conflict areas. Education should be considered a critical part of any humanitarian response, in line with shelter, food and health care. Unfortunately, it is often deprioritized and underfunded. Globally, only 2 percentages of total humanitarian funding goes into education programmes, said Elisabeth Rasmusson, secretary general of Norwegian Refugee Council.

Specifically in Dollo Ado, a special emphasis will be placed on bringing girls to school, including young mothers and girls attending to younger siblings. A total of 60 % of the beneficiaries will be girls, aged 11-14. Funding from the EU will also train teachers, men and women, to ensure quality teaching.

Save the Children and NRC will set up temporary schools and learning spaces, in addition to training to teachers and other community leaders and provide essential teaching materials such as books, stationery, learning materials and educational play materials.

The projects will ensure that children attending these schools have access to other key lifesaving services including health, nutrition, hygiene and school feeding programs, as well as child protection services that identify and protect children from the threats and risks they face associated with living in refugee camps.

Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond to the unique educational needs of children in emergencies or conflict situations, or to scale up our work when children’s lives are in danger.

Typhoon Bopha forces children to sleep outside
12/14/2012

Children sleeping in open areas after Typhoon Bopha ravaged eastern parts of Mindanao

Over 1.6 million children have been affected by Typhoon Bopha

(Right: These are just six of the 1.6 million children affected by Typhoon Bopha. Photo credit: Save the Children)

Thousands of children and their families are sleeping out in open areas after Typhoon Bopha flattened entire villages in the worst-affected parts of eastern Mindanao, Save the Children says.

The aid agency says emergency shelter materials are needed urgently as evacuation centres overflow and families either live in open areas or attempt to repair their roofs and walls with whatever material they can find around them.

“Children have a right to feel protected regardless of their situation, and a sturdy house is important for them to feel safe at night. Sleeping in open areas also makes children more vulnerable to abuse and trafficking,” said Anna Lindenfors, country director for Save the Children in the Philippines. “Save the Children is working to distribute emergency shelter materials for families as soon as possible.”

In the worst-affected areas, Save the Children spoke to children whose homes had been damaged or destroyed. An 11-year-old girl, Kimberly, from Davao Oriental said: “We tried to fix our house with plastic sheets and scraps of wood we found in the area. But the floor was completely damaged as well, so I slept in my chair at night.”

“My father and older brother fixed part of the floor, but I am scared that another storm like that would come, so I still sleep in my chair.”

Kimberly is among 1.6 million children affected in the storm, and her fear of rain and storms are shared by many who were unprepared for Typhoon Bopha. Save the Children, along with UNICEF and Plan International are now urging all government agencies, local representatives and communities, as well as humanitarian partners to be attentive towards the needs and rights of children in emergencies. Together with the government, these aid agencies have also started registering children and making temporary care arrangements when needed.

Save the Children has been responding to the needs of children and their families through the distribution of pre-made aid packages containing toiletries, blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and cooking pots and pans to nearly 2000 families. Additionally, Save the Children has also begun preparations to provide emergency shelter items, including tarpaulins and repair kits containing hammers, pliers and nails to over 6,000 affected families in Compostela Valley and Agusan del Sur. Child-friendly spaces will also be set up with toys and art materials that children can play, draw and paint with in the day. Volunteers and staff running these spaces will also provide psychosocial support to these children.

“These are some of the poorest and most vulnerable children, and they many have been through a terrible ordeal of losing their family members, relatives, friends, homes and belongings. It is important that we give them a sense of normalcy as soon as possible,” said Anna Lindenfors. “A safe place to play in the day and a roof over their heads at night is vital to achieving that.”

Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond quickly when emergencies like Typhoon Bopha strike, or to scale up our work when an existing situation deteriorates and children’s lives are in danger.

Save the Children honoured for work on vaccines and immunization
12/10/2012

Leading the way: Save the Children honoured for work on vaccines and immunization

By Simon Wright, Head of Child Survival, London office

GAVI Award 2012On December 6, we were especially pleased to be awarded the Rise-Up award at the GAVI Partners’ Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The award recognises the non-governmental organisation that has done the most for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) through its policy and advocacy work.

Immunization for all

GAVI is a multilateral partnership that aims to expand access to immunization in the world’s poorest countries. Our role is to make sure that giving the poorest children access to life-saving vaccines is the top priority.

On Wednesday, we launched a new report, Immunization for All, which argues that equity is the real priority and that immunization should be expanded alongside other health services. The report urges all actors to seize the opportunity we have this decade to achieve universal access to immunization.

Leading the way

Save the Children has also been doing high profile work with NGOs and voluntary groups, including through my role on the GAVI Civil Society Steering Committee. This afternoon, I was a panellist in an important session on equity, arguing that immunization should be the flagship for Universal Health Coverage.

Championing vaccines

However, it was last night that we had the highest profile during the GAVI awards ceremony. The Rise-Up award, which I bring back to London tonight, recognises how we championed vaccines and immunisation with the UK government and other donors, leading to the spectacular success of GAVI’s pledging conference in 2011.

This event achived a milestone in children’s health, raising US$ 4.3 billion to immunise more than 250 million of the world’s poorest children against life-threatening diseases by 2015.

Save the Children is calling for greater world action to stop the hardest-to-reach children from being denied their right to life-saving vaccinations. Our new report released at the GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) Partners’ Forum in Tanzania this week shows that 22 million children are not receiving basic vaccines. 

View key statistics and recommendations of our 'Immunization for All' report. 

1/5 children denied their right to immunization
12/6/2012

End the injustice: a fifth of children denied their right to immunization

 

Save the Children is calling for greater world action to stop the hardest-to-reach children from being denied their right to life-saving vaccinations. Our new report released at the GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) Partners’ Forum in Tanzania this week shows that 22 million children are not receiving basic vaccines.

While impressive progress has been made in expanding immunization, 20% of children are still missing out. The poorest, those in remote areas, from migrant communities, particular castes, or other disadvantaged groups, are not receiving vital vaccinations as well as other basic, essential healthcare.

Simon Wright, Head of Child Survival at Save the Children, said: “There are proven strategies to reach these children, and at the same time extend access to essential health services that they badly need. We are calling on donors, the private sector and others, as they gather in Tanzania to review GAVI’s progress, to do much more to support countries to achieve and sustain universal immunization coverage.”

“Equity is at the heart of GAVI’s mission because we believe protection against vaccine-preventable diseases should be a basic right for all children,” said Helen Evans, Deputy CEO of the GAVI Alliance. “Vital vaccines are reaching more children than ever before but we are committed to keep working hard with our partners to ensure that a child’s chance to lead a healthy, productive life is not determined by factors such as wealth, gender, or geography.”

Professor A F M Ruhal Haque, Minister of Health and Family Welfare for Bangladesh, said: “It is a matter of joy that we have reached four-fifths of the world’s children with routine immunization. What is now most important is to finish the rest of the job to achieve 100% coverage. This report will be an important tool and source of inspiration toward achieving this goal.”

 

Immunization for All

View key statistics & recommendations or download full report.

 

Read More 

Schools could be closed for months in the Philippines
12/6/2012

Schools could be closed for months as clean up begins following killer typhoon in the Philippines

Children play in an evacuation centre in Mahayahay, Iligan City

(Right: Children play in an evacuation centre in Mahayahay, Iligan City. Photo credit: Save the Children)

Schools could be closed for months, disrupting the education of tens of thousands of children whose lives have been affected by a killer typhoon in the Philippines, warns Save the Children.

The leading child rights agency says up to 188,000 children have been caught up in the aftermath of Typhoon Bopha, many of them school-aged children.

Anna Lindenfors from Save the Children in the Philippines said, “The extent of the damage means that children will not be able to return home or to school anytime soon. This can be very unsettling for them as they will now have to stay in cramped conditions in evacuation centres without any private bathing areas, sleeping areas or safe play spaces.”

Emergency response teams from the children’s charity have been to the worst affected areas of Mindanao only to find flattened villages covered in mud. The death toll is now reported to be 327 and 437 missing. The authorities say it will take at least two months to restore power in the affected provinces.

Save the Children says that children in the worst affected areas including Compostela Valley, Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental will require long-term assistance.

In response to the crisis Save the Children is mobilising pre-made aid packages that include crockery, mosquito nets, toiletries and blankets. Distributions will start tomorrow to at least 500 of the worst-affected families.

“These are families living in areas that were unaffected by last year’s Typhoon Washi and have never been through anything like this. We are hearing reports that few families heeded warnings from the authorities to evacuate, resulting in a higher than expected death toll.”

Destruction caused by Typhoon Bopha in Compostela Valley, Philippines“Children will require much more aid to recover from this disaster,” said Anna Lindenfors. “We need to set up safe spaces for children to play and talk about their experiences. Students will also need a place to learn and school materials to study with when the semester starts. These are essential to create a sense of normality for the children whose lives have been turn upside down by the typhoon.”

Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981 and has decades of experience responding to emergencies in the Philippines. The aid agency mounted large-scale emergency responses to Typhoon Washi in 2011 and Typhoon Ketsana in 2009.

Prone to natural hazards such as landslides and floods, the Philippines experience an average of 20 tropical storms a year and is located in a major earthquake zone where there are also active volcanoes.

(Above: Destruction caused by Typhoon Bopha in Compostela Valley, Philippines. Photo credit: Save the Children)

Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond quickly when emergencies like Typhoon Bopha strike, or to scale up our work when an existing situation deteriorates and children’s lives are in danger.

Syrian children struggling to survive bitter winter
12/4/2012

Fears are growing for Syrian children and families hit by freezing winter weather as huge funding shortages endanger relief operations in the region


A new Save the Children report, Out in the Cold, documents the desperate steps that children in Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan are taking to survive increasingly bitter weather in the region, with snow and sub-zero temperatures expected to hit many areas in the coming weeks. The current aid shortfall is over $200 million – half the total estimated needs - for Syrian refugees, hindering relief efforts and putting families at risk.

Among the heart-rending testimonies given to Save the Children are children huddling three to a blanket, sleeping in makeshift shelters made of billboards and falling sick as temperatures plunge in the region.

“Syrian refugees are facing rapidly deteriorating conditions as the winter is coming on. As is always the case, when there is conflict children suffer the most,” said Save the Children’s President & CEO, Patricia Erb.

“The international community needs to engage in the effort to assist the Syrian refugees. Without that funding thousands of children are going to spend a bitter winter without proper shelter from the cold, and many will become sick as a result.”

Some 400,000 refugees are living in tents, barns, unfinished buildings and other temporary shelters ill-equipped to provide protection from the cold. Many fled during summer months with only the clothes on their backs, and often children lack warm jackets and clothes to withstand the winter. In Iraq, the only footwear most refugee children have is the flip-flops they fled in.

In Jordan, parents are going into debt to provide basic clothing for their children, and in Lebanon, where there are no camps, high rents are preventing families finding or keeping adequate shelter. One group of refugees in the Beka’a Valley is facing freezing temperatures in shelters constructed from tarpaulins.

There are now fears that infections and diseases could spread amongst refugee children, who are particularly vulnerable to the cold weather, and are living in close proximity in refugee settlements.

“When I feel cold I start shivering – even now I feel cold. My throat hurts, and I feel like I have the flu. We need medicines,” said Ines, 8, living in a shelter made of billboards.

 “I have two daughters that are sick because of the cold. All my children are sick,” said Nadia, 30, mother of five-month-old child, living in an unfinished building.

Meanwhile, the international aid response remains only around half funded for those who have fled the country, prompting fears that the aid effort will fail to deliver help to many of those who urgently need it. Numbers of refugees pouring out of Syria have already far outstripped official expectations published earlier in the year.

Save the Children is on the ground in Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, helping thousands of children who have fled to neighbouring countries recover from their experiences and prepare for the coming winter. The agency has launched an appeal for $35.9 million to help fund its work in the region.

Read more about the plight of Syrian refugees.

Donate to relief efforts to help Syrian refugee children and families brace for winter.

 

Syria - Out in the Cold

Download full report.

Help Syrian Children Brace for Winter

Please donate to help Syrian children. 

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Read more about the growing emergency.

Typhoon Bopha targets the Philippines
12/3/2012

Save the Children prepared to respond to children’s needs as Typhoon Bopha targets the Philippines

As Filipinos brace for the imminent arrival of Typhoon Bopha, aid workers from Save the Children are on high alert and ready to meet the needs of children affected by the storm, if there is a need for a large-scale humanitarian response.

The typhoon, known locally as Pablo, is expected to pound the country’s eastern border on Tuesday, bringing high winds and heavy rains. Already thousands of people in Mindanao have begun to evacuate areas where the typhoon is expected to hit.

Save the Children’s Anna Lindenfors in the nation’s capital Manila said, “Mindanao has experienced heavy winds and rain over the last 24 hours. Save the Children is monitoring the situation closely. We have staff on the ground and pre-made aid packages to distribute if needed. Children are always the most vulnerable in a disaster and we stand ready to respond to their needs."

Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981 and has decades of experience responding to emergencies in the Philippines. The aid agency mounted large-scale emergency responses to Typhoon Washi in 2011 and Typhoon Ketsana in 2009.

Donate now to our Children's Emergency Fund, which enables Save the Children to respond quickly when an emergencies, like Typhoon Bopha, strike, or to scale up our work when an existing situation deteriorates and children’s lives are in danger.

Children risk recruitment to armed groups in the DRC
11/22/2012

Children risk recruitment to armed groups as Goma battle sees thousands flee

Thousands of children displaced by fighting in and around the city of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) risk recruitment to armed groups, Save the Children has warned.

Thousands of people have fled Goma as rebels took over the city on Tuesday. Save the Children staff on ground in the city report that children have been separated from their parents in the rush to escape the rebel advance, and could face recruitment from armed groups operating in the area.

“Any child separated in the rush to flee the fighting is at grave risk of being recruited by any one of several militias in the area,” said Rob MacGillivray, Save the Children’s country director in the DRC. “We know that these groups have had few qualms about forcing children to join in the past and have no reason to suppose they will take a different approach now. The situation is extremely chaotic, with some families being displaced more than once, and we can only imagine how confused and frightened children caught up in this violence will be.”

The aid agency is also deeply concerned that vulnerable families and children are unable to access healthcare and warns that food supplies are quickly running out. An estimated 400,000 people live in Goma, and the surrounding area is home to another 300,000 displaced people, according to the UN.

Tens of thousands of people have already fled the area, with children particularly vulnerable. “In any refugee crisis children face a range of risks, including separation from their families, abuse and exploitation, but the long-term insecurity in the eastern DRC means children are in a particularly dangerous situation,” MacGillivray continued.

“They may be alone in an area where armed groups often recruit children, have witnessed terrible things, and without basic supplies like food and clean water. We call all sides to ensure that children are offered the protection they are owed and that they can be reunited with their families as soon as possible.”

Save the Children is on the ground in Goma, but its humanitarian work has been suspended until the situation becomes safe enough to commence operations. In the meantime the aid agency is preparing to assist refugees and displaced families should there be movement from the DRC into Rwanda.

Should children and youth work?
11/20/2012

Universal Children’s Day: Canadian Perceptions on Children and Youth and Work


November 20 marks Universal Children’s Day, and the 23rd anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“Save the Children is proud to share such deep roots with Universal Children’s Day,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children.

“When our founder, Eglantyne Jebb wrote the first Declaration of the Rights of the Child for the International Save the Children Union in 1923, she was creating the principled foundation for what would become the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child—a pivotal tool in advancing children’s rights around the world. Today we honour this legacy and recommit ourselves to protecting the civil, political, social and cultural rights of every child.”

In recognition of this day, Save the Children, in partnership with Leger Marketing, conducted a survey with 1526 Canadians on their attitudes towards children and youth and work in Canada and abroad.

Children and youth work for many reasons. Many children around the world must work to help support their families. Equally, children and youth choose to work because it offers them opportunities to learn and grow.

The survey found that respondents believe that work is a part of life, be it in Canada or in a developing country. But we must continue to be diligent in protecting children and youth from exploitation. Save the Children remains steadfast working to ensure that work creates opportunities for children and youth.

“On Universal Children’s Day we recognize the many barriers confronting children around the world, and understand that within every child is the strength and potential to create a better future,” said Will Postma, Director of Programs at Save the Children.

Are you a child or youth who works? Are you an adult who had a paper route or worked on the family farm when you were a kid?


The survey is still open - please take 5 minutes to complete it.

  Children and Youth who work - Take Survey
     

Want to know more about the survey and Save the Children's programs that help protect children who work from exploitation?


Read about the key findings of the children/youth and work survey.

   Children and Youth who work - Survey Results
Video: Marking World Prematurity Day
11/16/2012

World Prematurity Day: Interview with Dr Joy Lawn

 

More than 40 countries are planning activities this Saturday, November 17, for World Prematurity Day. Activities are designed to raise awareness about the more than 1 in 10 babies who are born prematurely and to mobilize action to improve care and address prevention worldwide.

Watch the short interview with Joy Lawn, Director of Global Evidence and Policy for Save the Children's Saving Newborn Lives program, as she outlines what can be done to improve care for preterm babies and what countries like Malawi have done to champion change for newborns:

Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn deaths, and now the second leading cause of death after pneumonia in children under the age of 5. This Saturday, Save the Children along with global partners, nations, parent organizations and advocates worldwide are marking the second annual World Prematurity Day, continuing momentum for the Born Too Soon movement that will ensure life-saving solutions are put into action.

  • In Malawi, which has the world’s highest estimated preterm birth rate, health officials are holding a summit to expand the use of kangaroo mother care and help ensure that antenatal steroids reach all who need them.
  • The Government of Uganda will host a national stakeholder meeting on preterm birth and announce a commitment on preterm birth to the Every Woman Every Child movement, which is led by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
  • Other countries are participating in awareness campaigns, such as the Global Illumination Initiative where cities are lighting landmarks and buildings, such as The Empire State Building, in purple to honor preterm babies and their parents. 

 

Download the Born Too Soon report (May 2012) 

 

Read Dr Joy Lawn's study published in the Lancet (November 2012)


New Lancet study: Preterm Birth Rates
11/15/2012

Rising preterm birth rates leveling off, but prevention remains difficult

 

Prevention of the world's 15 million preterm births remains difficult, but this contrasts with the high, immediate potential to save 75% of the 1.1 million preterm babies who die every year, ays the lead author of a new Save-the-Children-led Lancet study.

 

The first multi-country study on trends in preterm births and the current potential to reduce them appears in today’s Lancet medical journal and shows that after years of poorly explained rises in preterm birth, the rates over the last 5 years are now leveling off in more than half of 39 high income countries assessed.

But with few highly effective prevention interventions for preterm births, the U.S. and 38 other high-income countries could reduce preterm births by 5% by 2015, if the five currently available evidence-based interventions were fully implemented, according to the new study.

The research was conducted by an international team of researchers, coordinated by Dr. Joy Lawn of Save the Children, and including experts from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Boston Consulting Group, March of Dimes, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth, and the World Health Organization.

“This study shows that even the best efforts based on current science could prevent only a tiny fraction of the massive number of preterm births,” said Dr. Joy Lawn of Save the Children, the study’s lead author.

“On the other hand, we already have high impact low-cost care that could save at least half the 1.1 million newborn deaths that occur from preterm births each year. More than 85% of preterm babies are only a few weeks preterm – born too soon, but not born to die. There is no excuse for these babies to die when essential, simple care will save their lives.”

“We need urgent action on two gaps – the knowledge gap for preventing preterm birth, and the action gap to save newborn babies’ lives now by getting frontline workers and essential medicines to the mothers and babies who need care the most,” Dr. Lawn said.

75% of Preterm Babies Could Be Saved without Neonatal Intensive Care

Existing, low-tech interventions could prevent 75 percent of 1.1 million annual preterm deaths, the vast majority of which occur in developing countries. Steroid injections for women in preterm labor, antibiotics for newborn infections and Kangaroo Mother Care (wrapping preterm babies in skin-to-skin contact with their mother for warmth and easier breastfeeding) could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Greater investment in training and equipping frontline health workers is needed to deliver the care needed to save babies’ lives, Save the Children said.

The new Lancet study is a follow on from the groundbreaking “Born Too Soon” report on prematurity published in May with input from 50 organizations coordinated by the World Health Organization, March of Dimes, PMNCH and Save the Children. That report was based on the first national and global numbers of preterm babies, also published in The Lancet in a study coordinated by Dr. Lawn.

 
Born Too Soon set a target of reducing preterm deaths by 50% by 2025. The new Lancet paper addressed prevention, and recommends a target of only 5% by 2015 for preventing preterm births and only in high-income countries, where detailed records made the analysis feasible.

The five interventions the authors found could lead to that 5% reduction are:  smoking cessation, decreasing multiple embryo transfers during artificial insemination, cervical cerclage (a surgical procedure), progesterone supplementation and reduction of elective C-sections.

 

Read the full Lancet article here (published 16 November 2012).

 

 
Launch: Soft Toys for Education Campaign
11/7/2012

IKEA Canada partners with UNICEF and Save the Children to launch the 9th annual Soft Toys for Education Campaign


Campaign will support life changing education programs for vulnerable children in some of the most inaccessible areas in the world.

IKEA Canada is launching its ninth annual IKEA Soft Toys for education campaign across Canada. From now until December 29th the IKEA Foundation will donate one dollar of every Soft Toy purchased at IKEA stores in Canada to support UNICEF and Save the Children’s programs educating vulnerable children around the world.

“At IKEA, we believe every child has the right to a healthy and secure childhood that includes access to a quality education,” said Kerri Molinaro, President of IKEA Canada. ”IKEA Canada’s Soft Toys for Education campaign continues to be an inspiring program that engages our customers and co-workers every year because it continues to improve the lives of children around the world.”

Funds donated this year will reach the most vulnerable, marginalized children including ethnic minorities and children living with disabilities and special needs in more than 15 countries in Asia and Africa including: Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Madagascar.

“Last year, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of Canadians, who contributed more than $450,000 to the IKEA Soft Toys campaign,” said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada. “Those donations helped us train teachers, supply educational materials like pencils, books and bags, and rebuild schools.”

New to this year’s soft toys family are forest friends from the VANDRING series, which includes a hedgehog, a bear and an owl hand puppet, that encourage curiosity and caring about nature among children. The new toys are created from different VANDRING textiles, designed by Ann-Cathrine Sigrid Ståhlberg.

Since 2003, donations from the annual IKEA Soft Toy Campaign have totalled over $61 million CAD, helping 8 million children in more than 45 countries enjoy their right to a quality education.

"Last month world leaders rallied together in a final push to meet the global commitment to ensure access to primary education for all children,” said David Morley, President and Chief Executive Officer, UNICEF Canada. “IKEA, the co-workers and customers who have supported the Soft Toys campaign are helping to make this important goal a reality.”

Through the “Global iWitness Citizenship Program” IKEA Canada will also offer two IKEA co-workers the opportunity to visit a Soft Toy sponsored education program in either Asia or Africa. The program’s goal is to provide co-workers with the opportunity to see first-hand the impact the Soft Toys campaign has on supporting education for vulnerable children around the world.

20,000 children in 42 countries racing for survival
10/12/2012

20,000 children in 42 countries, including Canada, "Race for Survival"


More than 20,000 children across 42 countries will take part in Save the Children's Race for Survival, a global relay race to raise awareness of the urgent need to tackle child malnutrition. 

Children from Afghanistan to Canada, Zambia to Brazil, will run on October 16th, coinciding with World Food Day, to bring attention to malnutrition, the underlying cause of a third of all child deaths. In 2011 alone, 2.3 million died due to the effects of malnutrition. Participants from around the world have invited politicians and celebrities to the event so they can highlight the importance of ending child malnutrition.

In Canada teams will be running in Calgary, Toronto and Lac Seul (northern Ontario). In Toronto, the two teams participating in this year's event will be Lawfield Elementary (Hamilton) and Samuel Hearne (Toronto). They will be racing at York University's indoor track (4700 Keele Street) from 10am - 1pm on Tuesday 16 October.

Before the race, chef and television host, Roger Mooking, from Food Network's Everyday Exotic will speak to the kids about his recent trip with Save the Children to Bangladesh where he saw health and nutrition programs up close. He will share what he and his family are doing to help put an end to hunger by supporting Save the Children's Extra Plate campaign.

Roger Mooking will appear at 12noon EST as part in Save the Children's 12-hour 'Great Debate' on child survival on the Google+ hangout platform. A total of 30 panelists from 15 countries, including celebrities, politicians, civil society actors, and children, will discuss ways to avoid millions of preventable child deaths. Join the Save the Children / Google+ 'Great Debate' at www.raceforsurvival.net.

Find out more about the Race for Survival and how you can get involved.

Read More

 

Celebrating the first International Day of the Girl
10/11/2012

Celebrating the first International Day of the Girl

Raghu Rai/Magnum for Save the Children

 It's the United Nations first International Day of the Girl! The Day of the Girl is about highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing girls lives and opportunities across the globe. 

Save the Children is committed to gender equality as an essential foundation for realizing young people’s rights.

Save the Children is committed to working for a world where girls and boys have equal access to, and control over, opportunities, resources and decision-making.

We base our work on a common understanding that gender equality is critical to both overcoming poverty and to the fulfillment of the human rights of girls and boys.

Assumptions about gender roles and identities must be continually challenged. What was relevant and true for past generations is not necessarily applicable in today’s world. Save the Children and our partner Children/Youth as Peacebuilders are working with children and youth to improve our ability to understand what it means to be a young female or male in the 21st century, so that we can develop programs to better support the rights and needs of young people.

Gender Maps is a manual of participatory techniques to facilitate the involvement of young people in individual and group discussions on gender issues.

It is based on a series of workshops that were conducted in Bolivia, Colombia, Kenya and Northern Uganda.

Download Gender Maps. 

(Photo credit: Raghu Rai/Magnum for Save the Children)

  

 

Failure to tackle malnutrition putting millions of children at risk
9/20/2012

Persistent Failure to Tackle Malnutrition Putting Millions of Children at Risk


Save the Children and World Vision are calling for political promises to be urgently translated into actions to avert the deaths of millions of undernourished children, 2.3 million of whom died in 2011 alone.

Together we have have launched a Nutrition Barometer which assesses governments' political, legal and financial commitments to tackling malnutrition in the 36 countries where 90 per cent of the world's undernourished children live. Almost a quarter of these countries have shown little progress in tackling this silent crisis.

"The Nutrition Barometer released today is a way to assess and hold governments accountable in terms of their political and financial commitment to end child malnutrition," said Save the Children CEO Patricia Erb.

"I will be in Bangladesh visiting our nutrition and health programming next week. Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries, has shown significant improvements in child mortality, health and nutrition. Through political will they have demonstrated that by investing in health, by targeting the poorest and by working closely with grassroots organizations, they are on the road to ending preventable child deaths in a generation."

Strikingly, India appears at the bottom of the list despite experiencing strong economic growth in the past few years. At the other end of the spectrum lies Peru which have shown strong political resolve and committed growing resources to fight child undernutrition, achieving results.

 

Nutrition Barometer: Gauging national responses to undernutrition

Read more or download full report.

World Vision and Save the Children are calling on world leaders gathering in New York for the UN General Assembly summit to take urgent measures to tackle child undernutrition. Unless promises are translated into swift action, the ambitious commitment made at the World Health Assembly earlier this year to reduce the number of stunted children by 40 per cent, by 2025, will not be met.

World Vision Canada's Elly Vandenberg said: "Every child deserves the best start in life. Combatting child malnutrition demands good governance and multi-sectoral strategies backed by long-term investments. As Minister Fantino heads to his first UNGA, we are counting on Canada to keep pushing other countries for accountability on this issue. Hungry children need concrete commitments delivered, not empty promises."

More information, including country by country results.

 Read More



Accelerating reduction in child deaths is welcome, but progress remains insufficient
9/12/2012

Save the Children welcomes accelerating reduction in children deaths, but warns progress remains insufficient

 

Save the Children says the latest United Nations figures on children mortality suggest the world is achieving strong results in the fight to end preventable child deaths.

For the first time, annual global child mortality figures are reported to have fallen below seven million (6.9 million) in 2011, down from 7.6 million in 2010, with breakthroughs taking place even in many of the poorest countries.
But whilst progress is accelerating, global progress is still too slow to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, warns Save the Children.

“These new child mortality estimates show that we are within reach of ending preventable child deaths. That we have halved child deaths in a generation is absolute validation that aid and programs focused on children and women work," said Patricia Erb, President and CEO of Save the Children.

“To save the last 6.9 million children, we will need to keep up the fight. We know what low-cost solutions work to save the lives of moms, newborns and babies. What we need now is the political will to ensure that these solutions reach the poorest who need it the most. All of us – individual Canadians, companies and government – need to work together to get this job done."

In an effort to accelerate this progress and end all preventable child deaths, Save the Children's EVERY ONE campaign is calling for concrete action to help achieve this goal, putting special focus on ensuring access to healthcare workers, support for immunization, and increased efforts to tackle malnutrition.

The new UN report ranks the leading causes of child death as pneumonia, premature birth, diarrhea, childbirth complications, and malaria, with child malnutrition remaining an underlying cause of a third of child deaths. Additionally, the findings reveal that nearly half of under-five deaths occur in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and China.

The report also shows that as deaths to all children aged below five have dropped, those occurring in the first month of life have declined more slowly. As a result, newborn deaths now account for 43 per cent of child deaths, up from 36 per cent in 1990. Overall, the vast majority of child deaths – 83 per cent – now occur in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia.

Save the Children said it is a critical time for all supporters to help to maintain momentum to fight this continuing crisis. Healthier children are the foundation for more productive, prosperous and stable communities, which benefit everyone, the agency said.

About 60,000 children displaced in China earthquake