Category: Save the Children
More than a quarter million Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh over the last two and half weeks after violence against the people in the Northern Rakhine State of Myanmar escalated. Disturbing reports have emerged that hundreds of people including children have been killed. George Graham of Save the Children says the situation in refugee and host communities is becoming increasingly desperate as the Bangladeshi Government and aid agencies urgently work to scale up their assistance.
Sleeping out in the open
Mr Graham says that in and around Cox’s Bazar, which is a part of Bangladesh near the border with Myanmar, thousands of Rohingya families including children are sleeping out in the open because they have no other place to go. Many have no access to food or clean drinking water and the state of uncertainty increases the risk that children are abused or even trafficked.
Host communities have been generous
Mr Graham added that the host communities have been very generous in sharing their food and other necessities with the refugees, though some Rohingya have been left with no option but to beg for food. Many of the new arrivals feel incredibly desperate after having travelled long distances by foot, having fled their homes amid escalating violence. Many of the children are sick because they do not have access to food and clean water.
Hundreds of children have arrived either separated or unaccompanied and have lost touch with their families amidst the chaos of fleeing their homes. This is a big problem and these children require additional support and help so that they can reunite with their families. Mr Graham says it is critical that the international community fully funds a humanitarian response plan that will provide support to more than 300,000 people until the end of the year.
More aid is required
Save the Children recognises the enormous contributions made by the Government of Bangladesh as well as the local authorities in Cox’s Bazar and its host communities who have lent their support to the Rohingya refugees. However the scale of the crisis means much more aid is necessary. Save the Children is calling for an end to the violence in Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine State.
“We urge all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to end the violence and ensure the protection of all civilians, particularly children. We call for unhindered humanitarian access to northern Rakhine State, where the situation will certainly worsen if relief organisations aren’t able to resume their operations,” Mr Graham said.
Category: Save the Children
Yemen is in crisis with over 1 million children under the age of five who are acutely malnourished and living in parts of the country where the cholera infection rate is high. This is very dangerous because children who are malnourished are nearly thrice as likely to die if they contract cholera because they have weak immunity. Even if they do manage to survive, they are still far from safe. There are plenty of other diseases that cause diarrhoea and can result in malnutrition which puts the children at risk of starvation. After two years of intense fighting, Yemen’s children face the triple threat of war, hunger and cholera.
How did this happen?
There are a combination of factors that cause the rapid spread of cholera. To begin with, the children are suffering from near-famine rates of malnutrition and food insecurity. Secondly, according to the UN, nearly two thirds of the country’s population lack access to safe drinking water. Thirdly, there has been an effective blockade of medical supplies and other resources from entering the country. Finally, Yemen has few medical facilities and the staff that work in them have not been paid for months. Cholera is a disease that is easily treatable, however with the conflict in Yemen escalating as a result of a Saudi-led coalition bombing children, many people have no access to basic health care.
“After two years of armed conflict, children are trapped in a brutal cycle of starvation and sickness. And it’s simply unacceptable.” Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children Country Director for Yemen has said.
What is being done?
Save the Children is scaling up its response as fast as possible and is prioritising eight key provinces, so that the children who need help the most receive it. The agency is supporting people through its Diarrhoea Treatment Centres and Oral Rehydration Therapy Corners. Save the Children is also training health workers as well as delivering medical supplies. The agency is raising awareness about hygiene and the causes of cholera. So far this year, Save the Children has reached almost 50,000 children but without an end to the conflict, the crisis for children gets worse and more funding is necessary.
Category: Save the Children
According to research from Save the Children, approximately 30,000 teenage girls die of pregnancy or child birth each year which equates to one dying every twenty minutes. This makes childbirth one of the biggest killers of adolescent girls globally. Almost 95 per cent of those deaths take place in the world’s poorest countries and unsurprisingly, girls from poorer families and rural areas are the worst affected. Babies born to teenage mothers also face higher mortality risk, with the mortality rate for babies born to mothers under 20, 30 per cent higher than those born to women aged between 20 to 29.
Access to contraception necessary
Save the Children says the situation could get worse unless young girls in the world’s poorest countries are given better access to family planning methods and contraceptives. In many places, teenagers become pregnant before their bodies are ready and many are discouraged from using family planning or contraception because of social and cultural barriers. In fact, the figures are quite alarming. As many as 214 million women globally who do not wish to get pregnant have absolutely no access to modern contraceptives. This means that many are likely to have unintended pregnancies.
Cultural barriers prevent family planning
Kirsty McNeill an Executive Director of Save the Children UK says it is not acceptable that so many young girls end up dying simply because they do not have access to basic contraceptives such as condoms or the pill because of cultural barriers and myths. Ms McNeill adds that the UK has led the way in making sure these barriers are broken so that young females and women all over the world have the right to decide if and when they get pregnant which is a decision that could ultimately save their lives.
The UK leads the way
The UK has led the world when it comes to family planning for the last few decades. Since 2012 UK aid has assisted as many as 8.5 million women and girls to get access to contraception. This has meant that approximately 2.6 million unwanted pregnancies have been avoided and as many as 3,000 women’s lives have been saved. Additionally, 30,000 still births and 19,000 new born deaths have been prevented says the Department for International Development.
Family planning should be a right
Save the Children is urging the UK government to keep increasing the accessibility of family planning services and to make sure that health services are free, particularly in the world’s poorest countries where barriers to contraception are often the greatest. The charity says family planning should be delivered as part of a full range of sexual and reproductive health services that have their roots in the rights of women and girls.
Category: Save the Children
Save the Children is aware that making a donation is not as exciting as online shopping. So, the UK based children’s charity has decided to take a leaf out of Amazon’s playbook and is making use of the online shopping behemoth’s Dash button concept which will make its quick and simple to make a donation because all you need to do is push a button.
Making use of technology
Save the Children has teamed up with marketing incubator Iris Nursery and together they are developing their own button which is very similar to the Domino’s pizza “easy order” button. However instead of summoning a pizza to fill your hungry stomach, pushing the “Give” button will automatically send a donation to the charity.
Young people not engaged enough
Save the Children has said that collecting direct donations online through its website simply did not engage youngsters who tend to have very short attention spans. According to Save the Children’s Sarah Fitzgerald O’Connor, young people want to feel as if they are actively contributing in real time as a response to world events as they take place.
Sending the app to potential donors
Apparently, the button will be mailed to potential donors who will then set it up online with their payment information including the amount to donate with each push of the button. If you are worried about accidental donations, never fear, you will be able to cancel them plus you can establish limits on how much you give.
David Caygill, managing director of Iris Nursery says the best technology feel effortless as if it were magic. Mr Caygill reckons that the Give buttons could be a serious contender for being one of these great applications because it takes away friction and more importantly it is likely that it will generate more donations.
Category: Save the Children
Ray Parlour the football legend who played for Arsenal was there to inaugurate one of three new football pitches that are located in North Jakarta’s disadvantaged slum communities. Ray was there to participate in the Save the Children football programme which is financed through the Arsenal Foundation. Arsenal ran an end of season campaign to fund the project in order to enable children to be empowered to fight for their rights and help them escape tragic circumstances.
Safe spaces for children
Ray visited the programme in Indonesia’s capital that is providing a safe place to play for vulnerable children and in the process, build their confidence by encouraging teamwork. As part of his visit, Ray played football with the kids and participated in a training session run by Drew Tyler, who is a coach at Arsenal Soccer School.
Speaking about the visit, Ray said that football has been such a big part of his life and provided him with so many opportunities that it is truly amazing to see the sport used in a way that makes such a massive difference to children’s lives. Ray cited the example of a young boy called Dhani who lives on a bench at the edge of a rubbish dump. Dhani has had to leave school in order to support his family and listening to his story was a real eye opener for Ray. Dhani faces so many struggles each day but through football he can live out some of his childhood and put a smile on his face.
Lack of public spaces
Fajar Jasmin who works for Save the Children in Indonesia said that there are more than 1.6 million people living in North Jakarta and there are lots of urban slums in the region. Many children from this part of the city live in extreme poverty and are socially excluded every day. These children are forced to live in conditions which are unstable and are exploited and neglected combined with a lack of public spaces. As a result of the Arsenal Legends game which Ray participated in, The Arsenal Foundation and Save the Children have come together to enable the power of football and the Arsenal brand to build and run pitches.
Category: Concern Worldwide, Oxfam, Save the Children
The British public has once again showed its generosity by helping to raise £50 million in 22 days for East Africa. The money will be used to enable aid agencies to step up their efforts to deliver food and assistance to millions of people who are on the brink of starvation. The total amount raised by the UK to help with food shortage in Yemen and East Africa is £72 million when you include the £15 million the UK government has also contributed.
Helping to save lives
This means the British people are already helping to save lives says Saleh Saeed CEO of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). Mr Saeed says the £50 million raised for East Africa will provide millions of people living in the drought afflicted areas with food, water and access to medical care for more than two years. The Yemen appeal which was launched back in December last year has so far raised £22 million.
Assistance being delivered despite of obstacles
More assistance is already being delivered to those in need in spite of the fact that there are many challenges. For example, as a result of the conflict in Yemen the cranes in the port of Hodeida have been destroyed. In South Sudan fighting is taking place and in Somalia vast swathes of the country are controlled by terror groups who have blocked access to aid. Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan and in Somalia people face the prospect of starvation with roughly 20 million people affected.
All the leading charities are contributing
The DEC is made up of the UK’s leading charities and is lending its support in East Africa where food shortages are most acute. According to Mr Saeed there have been reports that the delivery of aid has had an immediate impact to the lives of people affected by the crisis. Concern Worldwide has set up a nutrition centre just outside Mogadishu the capital of Somalia. Save the Children is also working with about 40 drought affected communities in Ethiopia and Somalia and providing them with food, water, and medical care. Oxfam is delivering water and providing sanitation to hundreds of thousands of people in Kenya.
Still lots more to be done
Mr Saeed said whilst the he was very grateful for what has been provided so far, there is still far more to be done as the crisis get worse. He added that the UK can be proud of its response to the East Africa and Yemen appeal. A lot of money has been raised and the UK government and the British public are leading the charge.
Category: Save the Children
Save the Children says it strongly condemns the recent appalling attack on busses that were being used to evacuate civilians from two towns in North-West Syria, Foua and Kefraya. A number of people including children are thought to have been killed in what appears to be a savage attack. Sonia Khush who runs Save the Children in Syria says people have been living under siege for the past couple of years and the condition they live in are truly horrific.
Attacking civilians with impunity
In a strongly worded statement Ms Khush added that once people finally had the chance to leave all sides participating in the conflict continue to attack civilians with no repercussions. This has had devastating consequences for children and their families. Ms Khush says civilians should never be targeted. The attack took place whilst thousands of people were being evacuated from four towns that are under siege.
Children are dying
Two towns are government held and are Foua and Kefraya, whilst the other two towns, Madaya and Zabadani are held by opposition forces. Whilst under siege, critical aid such as medicine and food are prevented from entering for months at time. To add to that, children are dying from starvation, sniper fire and bombing. Save the Children is urging all parties involved in the conflict to make sure that the remaining evacuees are completely protected and given safe passage.
Millions of people not receiving aid
650,000 people still live under siege in Syria. There are also more than 4 million people living in parts of the country that are considered ‘hard to reach’ and simply not accessible to aid agencies. Despite the fact that various participants in the conflict have pledged to increase aid access, over 90 per cent of people living in these parts of Syria have no seen a single aid convoy in 2017.
Category: Save the Children
Save the Children says that millions of children in war torn Syria could be living in a state of “toxic” stress as a result of extended exposure to the horrors of war. The charity says that an entire generation of children could be damaged irreversibly without immediate aid. The stress of war has caused children to engage in self harm, bed wetting, attempted suicide and aggressive behaviour. The findings were based on hundreds of interviews with children in Syria.
The largest study of its kind
The study by Save the Children is the largest of its kind covering the mental health and well-being of children stuck in Syria’s protracted civil war which is now 6 years old and has left more than 300,000 people dead. The report titled “Invisible Wounds” concludes with the fact that the mental health crisis of children trapped in the war is simply terrifying. The aid agency spoke to over 450 people as part of its research including kids of various ages, parents, caregivers, teachers, aid workers and teachers.
Almost all children affected
The study found that almost all children and 84 per cent of the adults said bombing and shelling were the main cause of stress for children. Two thirds of children have lost a loved one or had their home bombed or shelled. 71 per cent of those interviewed said that children were increasingly wetting their bed and involuntary urination is a symptom of toxic stress or PTSD. 48 per cent of adults interviewed said they had seen children losing their ability or suffer from speech impediments since the onset of war.
Toxic stress impedes development
About 2.3 million children have managed to flee the conflict in Syria and at least three million children under the age of six have never known anything other than war according to the report. Toxic stress can impede how the brain and other organs develop, increasing the risk of mental health problems developing in adulthood according to researchers.
“After six years of war we are at a tipping point, after which the impact on children’s formative years and childhood development may be so great that the damage could be permanent and irreversible. The risk of a broken generation, lost to trauma and extreme stress, has never been greater ” said Dr Marcia Brophy, a senior mental health adviser with Save the Children.
Study conducted only in safe areas
The research for the report was conducted in parts of Syria where Save the Children and its local partners were able to work. According to the aid agency the survey was conducted in mainly opposition-held areas. The report suggests that kids in areas under the control of either the government or the Islamic State where the agency is unable to work are also more than likely to be experiencing traumatic events.
Category: Save the Children
According to Save the Children, tens of thousands of children are sitting targets as a result of heavy shelling in East Aleppo which is the last part of the city held by the opposition. As the Syrian army continues to make advances, these children simply have nowhere to hide. There are thousands of people who have been crammed into a small area which means they are at grave risk from artillery and airstrikes causing the number of casualties to climb quickly. The situation is compounded by the fact that medical aid, supplies and food are scarce.
Children killed in makeshift school
Outside the city, fighting and bombing continues unabated. Recently three children died when a bomb exploded at their teacher’s home which was serving as an improvised school because the bombing had required the regular school to shut its doors. Save the Children said it is extremely concerned about the three quarters of a million people that are effectively living under siege in Syria. The charity says it is unconscionable that the UN Security Council would not come to an agreement on a cease fire. Save the Children is calling for urgent action without which many more children could be killed as a result of fighting or starvation.
Negotiate a cease fire
Save the Children says it wants all parties that have influence over the various groups participating in the civil war to start negotiating for an in internationally monitored ceasefire that would last for at least 72 hours. This would provide a window of opportunity for aid to reach the people who are stranded in the Eastern part of Aleppo. It would also give people the chance to leave as well. The charity wants safe routes from Aleppo to be established so that people can flee the city in relative safety.
If safe routes cannot be established Save the Children says “air bridges” should be created which would allow aid to be dropped off at landing strips and airports. The situation in Syria continues to remain severe after nearly six years of conflict and suffering. The international community should not stand by as civilians are bombed without consequence.
Category: Save the Children
Save the Children is warning that the latest efforts by both the EU and US to water down the language used to define the detention of migrant and refugee children is extremely worrisome and goes against international standards. Patrick Watt of Save the Children said that the UN refugee and migration summit was supposed to unite member states so they could find news solutions to arguably what has been the most pressing global challenge of our time. There are millions of people on the move, most of which are escaping violence and persecution. Instead of proposing solutions to help, members of the United Nations are arguing over existing rules including those that lie at the very heart of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Mr. Watt says that all members must support the principal of ending the detention of children on the basis of the parent’s migration status. Anything less would be a big step backwards.
Forced to flee
Of the 65 million people that have been forced to flee as a result of persecution and violence in 2015, more than half are children who are especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation whilst they are on the move or stranded at borders. Save the Children has been arguing for UN member states represented at the Summit to recognise their obligations under international human rights treaties so that these children have their best interests protected. Save the Children wants member states to commit to ending the detention of children once and for all.
“The de facto detention of children – the likes of which we are seeing on the Greek Islands – must not become a new normal. World leaders must live up to their existing commitments to ensure that the most vulnerable people on the move, including children, are treated with dignity and have their rights respected,” said Mr. Watt.
Raising the bar
Mr. Watt adds that both the United States and the European Union should be raising the bar instead of seeking to lower it. Whilst there have been some welcome developments in other parts of the declaration, the results of the negotiation should be to provide and ambitious and meaningful solution of millions of refugee and migrant children. This means that a new global system must be developed that ensures governments share responsibility for protecting refugee and migrant children as well as their families.