David Beckham in his role as Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF recently travelled to Indonesia to meet with children that have been victims of classroom violence and bullying. David Beckham’s UNICEF Fund which is called 7 has managed to transform the lives of millions of children from all over the world. The fund has financed the vaccinations of 400,000 children in Djibouti against polio as well as delivered clean drinking water to more than 15,000 children in Burkina Faso amongst many other accomplishments.
Beckham’s 7 Fund supports programmes all over the world
The 7 Fund has just started to support UNICEF programmes in Uganda, Indonesia, El Salvador and Nepal. The challenge is to deal with bullying and violence, put an end to child marriage and prevent children from missing out on education, especially for girls so they can achieve their full potential. The 7 Fund is therefore lending its support to programmes in Indonesia which seek to empower both girls and boys to become advocates of change and speak out against any violence they experience or witness.
Violence and bullying is an important social issue in Indonesia
Violence and bullying is one of the most important issues young people in Indonesia face. More than 20 per cent of children aged between 13 and 15 have been bullied or a whopping total of 18 million children. One in three children have been physically attacked whilst at school and as the violence increases there is a corresponding rise in the risk of poor mental health of the children being bullied which results in a rising school drop-out rate.
David Beckham was able to see first hand how Indonesian schools are adopting a more student focused approach by including both children who have been on the receiving end of bullying and children that have bullied others. The scheme nominates a peer group which trains members about the issue of bullying and teaches them to construct positive environments. Teachers are also trained in positive discipline techniques to ensure that classrooms remain free from violence. On his trip Mr Beckham learned that the current programme designed to prevent bullying in Indonesia has already had a positive impact on 7,000 children and that initial results suggest that bullying has fallen by nearly 30 per cent in early pilot programmes.
“The thing that strikes me most when I visit children around the world is the potential that exists in every child,” Beckham said. “Potential in every classroom, in every playground and in every home. I feel very proud to see how my 7 Fund is helping UNICEF tackle bullying and violence in schools in Indonesia, and is ultimately keeping children, especially girls, safe in their schools so they can continue their education and hope for a better future.”
Category: Concern Worldwide
Since last August the Rohingya community in Myanmar’s Rakhine State have been the targets of violence and this has resulted in nearly 700,000 people fleeing into neighbouring Bangladesh. Half of all the refugees seeking safety are women and children and as the number of refugees continues to climb, what is happening in Myanmar and Bangladesh is now officially the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis says Save the Children.
Crossing the border
Every day a steady stream of thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar arrive in Bangladesh. Regardless of their gender or age, they are all traumatised and many have found they have become separated from their families. Everyone who makes the journey across the border is seeking safety and refuge. Many have travelled for days with little or no belongings just to set up camp wherever it is possible to do so. Most of these Rohingya refugees feel relieved upon safely arriving in Bangladesh however life in the country’s camps is not without its own set of challenges.
Where do the Rohingya refugees live?
So the main camps where Rohingya refugees live are concentrated within the Cox’s Bazar district on Bangladesh’s South-East coast. The area used to be known for its picture-perfect beaches and even before the crisis, it was the poorest district in the country. Bangladesh is itself a poor country so you have to give the country full credit for hosting the refugees. The communities in Cox’s bazar deserve even more credit for being so generous and gracious in their welcoming of the refugees. But the strain the local community is under as the influx increases is obvious. The cost of basic living items such as firewood has more than doubled as a result of the rise in population.
What is happening inside the refugee camps?
Cox’s Bazar now hosts almost a million Rohingya refugees making it one of the largest refugee camps in the world. Concern Worldwide began its relief operations in the camp in September last year and was one of the first aid agencies to respond to the crisis. Initially Concern focused on emergency projects such as feeding the refugees and providing them with water. As more funds were donated, Concern began expanding into distributing non-food essentials. Concern has partnered with UNICEF and is delivering nutrition services to women and children. 325,000 children aged under five have been screened for malnutrition.
The upcoming monsoon is a major threat
As you would expect, the camps at Cox’s bazar have reached capacity and as refugees continue to arrive there is a real issue of overcrowding. This has put a huge amount of pressure on basic services in the camps and the risk of an epidemic is high. Cox’s Bazar is located on the coast which means it is severely affected by the annual monsoon. Now that there are close to a million refugees living in the region, it is estimated that 100,000 people are in grave danger from flooding and landslides caused by the monsoon. The government of Bangladesh is working with aid agencies to map the risks of flooding to ensure the refugees are protected. Concern is working 24 hours a day to ensure that nutrition services continue to be provided to women and children when the flooding begins.
Joanne Reek a mother of two says she hopes to raise £1,000 for the LOROS Hospice in memory of her daughter Leah. She says her and her family are walking to raise the money and she is sure that Leah would be so proud and would have a massive smile on her face. Leah died tragically in an explosion on Hinckley Road in Leicester earlier this year. At the time she was volunteering at the hospice. Her family responded to the death by establishing a JustGiving page which so far has raised a whopping £15,701 so far.
Leah’s mum Joanne says the support she has received since the death of her daughter has been overwhelming. The local community have rallied behind the family and even people who didn’t know Leah personally have gotten in touch. Joanne says its just incredible and she and her family want to do everything they can to keep the memory of Leah alive. She adds that Leah loved LOROS so much and she wants to continue with that legacy by doing everything she can for the Hospice.
This year there well be an annual balloon release followed by a minute’s silence before the walk begins so that people can take the time to remember Leah and others that also died. Joanne says that about 45 people are participating in the walk and all will be wearing purple and pink leopard print transfers on their t-shirts as well as leopard ears and tails because Leah loved leopard print. A local bus company will be taking care of transportation and the bus hire money will also be donated to LOROS.
Circus and carnival theme
The theme of this year’s even is circus and carnival and LOROS are thrills that BBC Radio Leicester’s Rupal Rajani will be cracking her whip as ring mistress. Ms Rajani says she is always happy to lend her support to LOROS for all the good work they do and she feels honoured to be asked to help. LOROS provides amazing help to people who need it and it is wonderful to have such a supportive hospice right on the doorstep she says. The Twilight Walk takes place on Saturday the 14th April Tickets cost just £12 in advance or £30 on the day. If you want to participate simply search: LOROS Twilight Walk
It’s not surprising given the events that have occurred over the last few months that charities are being hit. Nearly 25 per cent of the British public have stopped making donations with the major reason being a lack of trust. Other reasons included the fact that some people could simply no longer afford to donate whilst many worried that their donations failed to make a difference.
Charity donations have taken a hit
The survey of 2000 people was conduction by ethical mobile network ‘The People’s Operator’ (TPO) and according to its results that average British adult will donate £72.95 to charities. It appears that Southampton is the most charitable city in the UK with the average donation there £108.50 a year whilst residents of Sheffield were the most miserly only donating an average of £35.07 a year. Over nine out of ten UK residents have made a charitable donation at some point in their lives with 27 per cent going even further and actually engaging in fundraising activities.
The UK is a generous country
TPO CEO Sam Tilloston says the UK is a very generous country having donated over £9.7 billion each year to charities. Unfortunately, the events that have occurred of late have made a major dent in the amount of money charities have been able to collect. The survey results show that half of all UK adults believe they should be giving more to charity which is something TPO makes possible by allowing its customers to donate 10 per cent of their bills to fund good causes.
Cancer tops the list for charitable donations
The most popular charities to donate to dealt with organisations that were helping fund research and education into adult illnesses such as cancer which was in fact top of the list. This could be partly down to the fact that these charities have received support from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as Prince Harry. Millennials tend to be more likely to support mental health charities. Charities that raise money for children’s illness, hospitals and hospices as well as organisations which fight to prevent child abuse also receive a lot of support.
Sign up to TPO
Another interesting statistic is that less than 10 per cent of UK adults would be more likely to donate to a charity if it was fronted by a celebrity. So far TPO has managed to raise more than £400,000 for charities. If you are someone who is socially conscious you can sign up to the network for a plan that costs just £7.99 a month which included a 4G SIM card plan plus 1GB of data, 500 minutes and unlimited texts. You can also donate ten per cent of your monthly bull to a charity of your choice.
In 2012 Monika Weila was running an online shoe store and came across a homeless man whilst she was in Chicago. The man was holding up a sign which said he needed a new pair of shoes. Being in the shoe business Ms Wiela was in a position to do something to help and returned a few hours later with a pair of shoes for the man. Unfortunately, he had already left the scene and her attempt at providing charity led her to think about what was possible with all the empty boxes stacked at her warehouse as well as providing assistance to people like the man she had tried to help.
Creating a new social enterprise
That was the genesis of a new social enterprise. Ms Weila did a lot of research and found out that approximately 11 million tons of clothing, footwear, towels, bedding, drapery and other forms of textiles end up being dumped in US landfills each year. Apart from that fact it had become obvious that the general public now prefer to do most of their shopping online, these retailers make extensive use of corrugated boxes for their packaging. Armed with all this information, Ms Wiela developed an idea that would allow online retailers to use boxes from Give Back Box and other boxes and items a second opportunity at being used before being recycled. The impact would be nothing short of remarkable.
Ms Weila set out about looking for a non-profit partner with a national footprint that had the ability to accept donations on a massive scale. There were a number of criteria. The organisation would not only need to accept second hand clothing but also any other items people wished to donate. It also needed to develop the capacity to recycle the boxes it received in order to reduce the amount of rubbish being dumped into landfills.
Developing the system
Give Back Box’s first major retail partner was Newegg.com and the company agreed to place fliers in all the boxes they were shipping to their customers. The fliers contained information which recommended that their customers re-use the boxes that their purchases were packaged in and fill them up with clothes, accessories and other household items no longer necessary and then ship them to local charities using a pre-paid shipping label. The local charities built a system that would allow them to track those packages, so once they were received, the boxes were scanned and tax receipts were generated for donors. Since then Give Back Box has developed partnerships with a number of major retailers in the United States.
Anyone can participate
The platform developed by Give Back Box is open to any retailer who wishes to join as a partner. Donors are also most welcome as well and can choose which charity to give their money too. These charities stock their shelves with the donations they receive from ordinary people and the money that they are given is used to fund their activities. The charities also make sure they recycle every box they receive. Give Back Box is a truly innovative charitable concept that not only limits the amount of waste retailers generate by recycling their package for secondary use, it also allows people to clear their wardrobes, create new jobs and enables companies and consumers more opportunities to be more sustainable.
Category: Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK will become one of the first large British charities to abolish unpaid internships and from June 2018 the charity will ensure that all interns receive a stipend for their work. Cancer Research decided to implement the policy as part of a broader initiative to improve standards of equality, diversity and inclusion. Cancer Research UK says is it is completely committed to creating a culture of inclusion, one where everyone is able to achieve their full potential.
Charities taking advantage of the law
Presently the National Minimum Wage Law has provisions for charities to employ unpaid interns, however the non-profit sector has been criticised for taking advantage of that provision and employing people who simply wish to establish a career within the sector. Unpaid internships also discriminate against those who do not have sufficient funding to be able to work for free. The paid internship programme at Cancer Research UK is 12 weeks long and gives the opportunity to school leavers aged over 18 and university undergraduates and graduates or people who wish to switch careers the opportunity to gain work experience.
Now is the time for change
Successful applicants to Cancer Research UK’s internship programme seeking to start their career in the non-profit sector will develop a unique insight into what it takes to work for a charitable organisation whilst also playing a role in the fight against cancer. Sir Harpal Kumar, the charity’s Chief Executive says the issue is a complex one, however the organisation believes now is the right time to deal with it. He adds that is it unfair that those who cannot afford it should be excluded from an internship programme at an organisation like Cancer Research UK.
Everyone should be paid a fair wage
At the moment the priority for the charity it to allocate as much money as possible towards the goal of beating cancer. Mr Kumar says there are however some costs that should not be avoided and this includes ensuring that all members of Cancer Research UK’s staff are paid a fair wage for their contribution. Mr Kumar goes on to say that his organisation is drawing a clear distinction between the thousands of people who choose to volunteer out of altruism and interns who wish to establish a career in the non-profit sector.
Other big UK charities likely to follow suit
Tanya de Grunwald a campaigner for fair internships says the decision by Cancer Research UK represents a major step for people seeking to start careers in the non-profit sector. She adds that the line between a true volunteer and a junior charity job has become blurred because neither is paid. It is not easy to demarcate the two, but there is a clear difference and it is very important that the difference be made clear. She concludes that now Cancer Research UK has taken this step, it will be much easier for other major charities in the UK to follow suit.
Category: Save the Children
Dennis (name changed) was only six when his home in Ukraine was struck by a shell that left him with shrapnel wounds to his skull and body. Doctors refrained from removing all the shrapnel fearing that if they did, it may cause nerve damage leaving his arm paralysed. This means Dennis still has shrapnel fragments lodged under his skin. This is just one story. According to Save the Children there are 357 million other children around the world living in conflict zones.
Number of children living in conflict zones has dramatically increased
The charity says the number has increased by an astonishing 71 per cent since 1991 and today, nearly one in six children live in parts of the world considered vulnerable to grave human rights violations. These violations include killing and maiming as well as sexual violence and the recruitment and use of children for war. Children are being abducted, their schools are being attached as are hospitals and access to deliver humanitarian assistance is being denied.
The world is in denial over Ukraine
Dennis’s mother abandoned both him and his brother and they now live with their grandmother just kilometres away from the fighting. The family continues to experience regular shelling and say when it happens the children shake with fear. Many people believe there is no conflict in Ukraine, but fighting is taking place and the shelling is so intense that the windows shake. The UN says the number of verified cases of children being killed or maimed has risen by 300 per cent since 2010. The denial of humanitarian access has risen by a whopping 1,500 per cent.
Rules of war no longer being respected
These increases can be attributed to the fact that there is a growing lack of respect for the rules of war and indiscriminate violence in conflict ridden countries such as South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria. The UN “War on Children” report noted the disturbing trend of increasing use of children as suicide bombers, whilst schools and hospitals seem to be deliberately targeted. The widespread use of indiscriminate weapons such as barrel bombs, cluster munitions and IED’s is maiming and killing children.
The Middle East worst affected region
40 per cent of children living in the Middle East are located in a conflict zone which is the highest rate anywhere in the world. One in five children are affected by conflict in Africa whilst Asia has the largest number of children affected by conflict. The most dangerous conflict zones in the world for children are in Somalia, Syria and Afghanistan.
End the ‘War on Children’
Save the Children CEO Keven Waters says the increasing number of children residing in conflict zones together with worsening atrocities perpetrated against those children by conflict participants should be a source of concern for all of us. He adds that the world faces a stark choice. Do we stand by and do nothing whilst most children are killed when their schools and hospitals are attacked or are being denied life-saving aid? Or do we take collective action to deal with this culture of impunity and end this ‘war on children’
Three different UN agencies are warning that South Sudan is a crisis in the making. More than 7 million people or approximately two-thirds of the country’s population face the prospect of severe food insecurity in the coming month unless they receive access to sustained humanitarian assistance. If the worst happens, then it will be the largest number of people suffering from food insecurity in South Sudan’s short history. The greatest risk is the lean season between May and July where as many as 29,000 children could end up suffering from the most extreme level of hunger.
Half the population struggling to feed themselves
At the start of the year 5.3 million people or close to half the country’s population were already finding it touch to find enough food each day representing crisis or emergency level of food insecurity. That represents a jump of 40 per cent in the number of people who are severely food insecure compared to January 2017. Famine in parts of South Sudan was officially declared in February last year. There was a massive humanitarian response combined with improved access which was successful in mitigating famine towards the end of the year. Despite that fact the outlook has never seemed bleaker.
UNICEF and partners successfully intervened last year but the situation is fragile
UNICEF along with its sister agencies the FAO and WFP are all warning that the success of last year’s effort could easily be reversed and more people could end up being pushing into severe hunger and famine like conditions during the lean period unless both access and assistance continues. An FAO representative in South Sudan says the situation is very fragile and the country is on the brink of another famine. It is important not to ignore the stark projections otherwise another tragedy will occur. If farmers receive support there will be a rapid improvement in the food security situation of South Sudan.
Conflict violence and displacement make the problem worse
Some parts of South Sudan are riddled with recurring outbreaks of violence and conflict causing displacement. In these areas the percentage of people who face extreme food insecurity is as high as 62 per cent. The number of people facing extreme food insecurity in South Sudan will continue to rise unless people are able to either produce or purchase their own food. The conflict and deteriorating hunger situation has resulted in soaring levels of malnutrition and more than 1.3 million children are estimated to be at risk of acute malnutrition.
Preparing for the worst
A UNICEF representative in South Sudan says the agency is preparing for rates of child malnutrition never seen before in the country. Unless there is an immediate response combined with access to those who need help the most, many children will die and it is imperative that this not be allowed to happen. Last year all three UN agencies and their partners embarked on their largest ever aid campaign. In the process many lives were saved and the famine was contained. Life saving assistance was delivered to 1.8 million people in the most hard-to-reach areas. UNICEF and its partners were able to treat 208,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in 2017 and the agency intends to reach another 215,000 this year.
Category: Concern Worldwide
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is on the brink of a massive humanitarian crisis. The country erupted into what was arguably Africa’s worst ever civil war towards the end of the 90’s and since then it continues to have to deal with a number of smaller conflicts concerning land natural resources and power. Africa has more people displaced as a result of conflict than any other continent on the planet. The DRC has more people displaced by conflict in Africa than any other country on the continent. Last year every day, on average, 5,500 people were fled their homes bringing the total number of displaced people to more than 4 million people.
Why aren’t we hearing much about it?
The conflicts raging in the DRC has produced a hunger crisis. 7.7 million people face the prospect of acute hunger and 1.9 million children suffer from severe malnutrition. Clean water is not available to the vast majority of the population and as a result the DRC is the location of the worst-recorded cholera outbreak this decade. The sheer scale of the problem the country faces is immense and the reason mainstream Western media is not covering the crisis in the way that they should comes down to “crisis fatigue”. Whilst the most recent conflict erupted in 2016, media seemed completely uninterested until two UN investigators were murdered in March last year. Recently 14 UN peacekeepers were also assassinated leading to increased awareness though holding the public’s attention remains a challenge.
What’s being done about it?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is “not enough”. The number of people who are in need of humanitarian aid stands at approximately 13 million, representing an increase of a whopping 6 million people compared to this time last year. This year’s UN funding appeal for the DRC is the world’s largest and the agency is requesting US$1.6 billion. So far less than half the requirement has been met whilst the situation in the DRC continues to deteriorate.
Aid agencies are innovating
The current trend is for donors to force their partners to direct their actions where the needs are greatest and this means agencies are becoming more innovative. For example, Concern Worldwide established a mobile team to deal with displacements and in December last year the aid agency distributed kits containing hygiene and household items to more than 2,500 people that had been forced to flee their homes in under ten days from they day the alert was launched. It is hoped that such examples and better messaging combined with a targeted humanitarian response will inspire more donors to contribute.
What is Concern doing?
Last year Concern opened three offices in the worst affected conflict-ridden areas. The agency seeks to provide assistance to families that have been displaced either in-kind, if local markets are shut as a result of the crisis or by providing cash if local markets continue to function. Concern is also working with other agencies to provide emergency shelter and access to clean water to people who need it. Concern is also providing targeted cash assistance and training to recipients in order to provide the tools for them to escape extreme poverty. So far thanks to the generosity of the public, Concern has been able to provide financial assistance and distribute household materials to 12,000 displaced individuals and is lead agency of the biggest water sanitation consortium in the DRC. More than 600,000 people across seven provinces in the DRC have access to safe water thanks to the project.
Virgin Atlantic Partners With Guide Dogs To Provide The Full In-flight Entertainment Experience For The Visually Impaired
Category: Guide Dogs For The Blind
Virgin Atlantic has become the first international carrier to announce a partnership with Guide Dogs that will deliver a completely accessible in-flight entertainment service for passengers with vision impairment. The technology will be installed across the airline’s entire fleet which flies to destinations in North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In-flight entertainment has come a long way since the days when there used to be a single screen at the front of the cabin. Now airlines have installed seat back touch screen entertainment instead.
New technology developed
Whilst such innovation has been great for passengers with no sight issues, it still remains a barrier for passengers who are partially sighted because they find it difficult to navigate the system. As a result, Virgin Atlantic has pioneered a new technology that will allow vision impaired passengers to take advantage of its entire suite of in-flight entertainment using specially modified iPads. The airline worked with Blue Box Aviation Systems to develop the iPad-based platform which was tested by representatives from Guide Dogs. The technology uses audio descriptions, large fonts and a consistent control layout.
Guide Dogs provided recommendations
The two companies worked closely with partially sighted individuals who helped with the development of the special equipment and offered insight in to the different types of visually impaired people that could benefit. This included people who are totally blind, partially blind or have a sensitivity to blindness. Guide Dogs representatives also provided recommendations for the system’s design which took a year of intensive testing to ensure the final product met their needs.
New system allows the visually impaired to have a better travel experience
John Welsman a spokesman for Guide Dogs says his organisation is acutely aware that something as simple as an in-flight entertainment system that comes with audio descriptions and voice overs will allow passengers who are visually impaired to have a better travel experience. Mr Welsman who himself is visually impaired and travels frequently says the development is wonderful because he can access entertainment and information on Virgin Atlantic flights without having to ask for help. He adds that Guide Dogs is always striving to ensure that people who are visually impaired are not left out of life. As a result, the organisation is thrilled that Virgin Atlantic has made the effort to cater to visually impaired passengers, allowing them to be more independent whilst they are flying by providing accessible in-flight entertainment.
Virgin Atlantic first airline to cater to the visually impaired
Mark Anderson an Executive Vice President with Virgin Atlantic says its been almost three decades since the carrier became the first airline to offer seat back entertainment across all cabins. As a result, it is extremely apt that Virgin Atlantic is also the first airline to ensure its entertainment offering is fully accessible to all passengers across all flights. He adds that working with Bluebox and Guide Dogs has enabled the airline to be the first carrier to ensure visually impaired passengers can experience the full range of in-flight entertainment including the latest blockbusters, television shows and music.