Witnessing Change in Action

Andrea WHAndrea Williamson-Hughes; Deputy Director, Office of the President

Gare Arera, Ethiopia

December 20, 2011


The school constructed by Save the Children in Gare Arera came into view as we rounded the last turn of a bone-rattling, 45-minute drive over a rocky road that was more path than anything. That anyone lives so far from the paved road, let alone goes to school there, seems nothing short of amazing. Yet the sight of children peering out the school’s windows assured us that something was happening.

Save the Children has worked in the West Showa District of Ethiopia, where Gare Arera is located, since 2009. Today, several hundred children attend the school constructed with sponsorship dollars. Classes ranging from Preschool (Early Childhood Development programs) to Grade 4 are taught in two shifts to allow maximum use of classroom space. Working in close collaboration with the Ethiopian Government, Save the Children helps with curriculum enhancement and training, to help instructors convey important health, sanitation and nutrition practices and to impart basic, but effective, teaching methods.

I couldn’t help but smile during our classroom visits. Eager youngsters anxious to demonstrate their knowledge filled rooms adorned with colorful learning materials, many of them locally made. Questions about their lessons revealed their grasp of the health, sanitation and education messages that Save the Children-trained teachers impart.

IMG_1560 (2)Nearby latrines and clean-water sources – constructed by the community under the guidance of Save the Children – are further indication of the positive changes brought to Gare Arera by sponsors’ contributions. A school garden on the premises that puts my own vegetable patch to shame provides a means of income generation through the sale of produce for the school, as well as nutritious food for children to take home and seeds for home-garden sowing.

The comments of school PTA members, most of them parents themselves, further demonstrated that Save the Children greatly impacts the community. “Thanks to Save the Children, our children are learning important lessons – lessons they bring home to us about healthy living,” said one father. Parents in Gare Arera now value their children’s education to the extent that the PTA plans to enhance educational opportunities by raising funds for additional classrooms to house upper grades. Currently, children who want to go to school beyond fourth grade must walk a long distance and ford a river that becomes dangerous in the rainy season. This deters many children, especially girls, from going on to upper grades.

IMG_1634 (2)It was recess time as we prepared to depart and classrooms emptied into the open playfield. Rather than caring for younger siblings or working in the fields, these bubbly children were spending their day as children deserve – with exposure to knowledge and practices that will help them live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

As our vehicle began winding its way back down the bumpy road toward the nearby town of Ambo, I looked back at the many small hands waving us off. How often does one have the opportunity to see real change taking place? It’s a rare occurrence but because of caring sponsors that want to make a difference for children in Ethiopia, I knew I had just witnessed change in action.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more

Culture Snapshot: Xingomana

Joao Sitoi Headshot Joao Sitoi, Sponsorship Manager

Maputo, Mozambique

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Save the Children has sponsorship programs in over twenty countries in five regions of the world! Our Culture Snapshot series highlights unique elements of local culture from each of the regions our sponsorship programs operate in. Check out the last post, "Culture Snapshot: Blind-Cat Game Played by Children in Egypt."

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Cultural dance is very popular in Mozambique. The most popular dance in the rural community of 3 de Fevereiro – “3rd of February” – is xingomana, which is performed by both children and adults.  Xingomana, accompanied by songs rich in meaning and context, has also become an important tool to communicate educational messages such as the dangers of early pregnancies and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.



 Watch Mozambicans dancing throughout Nampula!

Do you like to dance? Tell us about your favorite style or reason to dance in the comments section below. We'd love to hear from you!

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Culture Snapshot: Blind-Cat Game Played by Children in Egypt

Generic Ahmed Abdel Hamid, Sponsorship Manager

Cairo, Egypt

Friday, April 8, 2011


Save the Children has sponsorship programs in over twenty countries in five regions of the world! Our Culture Snapshot series highlights unique elements of local culture from each of the regions our sponsorship programs operate in. We hope you enjoy and will visit again in the coming weeks to learn about each region. Check out the last post, "Culture Snapshot: Carom – A Favorite Game of Children in Bangladesh"

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The “Blind Cat” or “El Qota El Aamyaa” in Arabic is a team game where children decide who will be the blind cat and who will search for the others while his/her eyes are blindfolded.

Children Toss to Decide who Starts (1)
After selecting who will start, the team creates borders for the playing area.

Children play Blind-cat 2
Then the selected blind cat tries to catch one of the children who will then become the blind cat.

Children play Blind-cat 1
The child who plays the blind cat focuses on his/her hearing skill to figure out where each child is.

Coming soon, learn about xingomana, a cultural dance in Mozambique!

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Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more

 

Culture Snapshot: Carom – A Favorite Game of Children in Bangladesh

Tahmina Haider Headshot

Tahmina Haider, Sponsorship Manager

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Monday, April 4, 2011


Save the Children has sponsorship programs in over twenty countries in five regions of the world! Our Culture Snapshot series highlights unique elements of local culture from each of the regions our sponsorship programs operate in. We hope you enjoy and will visit again in the coming weeks to learn about each region.Check out the last post "Culture Snapshot: Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas Recipe."

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The game Carom is very popular among adolescent boys in Meherpur, Bangaldesh and a Carom board can be found in many homes. The game is played with two teams and each team picks a color and tries to win chips of that color. The winning team scores points for each opposition chip remaining on the board, and extra points if they can take the special red piece! While playing the game the boys talk about many things like sports, hobbies, and even their problems.
Cultural corner boys playing Carom 2
 Stay tuned for a common game played by children in Egypt—Blind Cat.

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Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more

Culture Snapshot: Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

Katherine Golden Headshot

Katherine Golden, Sponsorship Manager

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Friday, April 1, 2011


Save the Children has sponsorship programs in over twenty countries in five regions of the world! Our Culture Snapshot series highlights unique elements of local culture from each of the regions our sponsorship programs operate in. We hope you enjoy and will visit again in the coming weeks to learn about each region.Check out our last post "Culture Snapshot: Bolivian Music"

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This is a fun meal for the family to make together. Caeleigh, a sponsored child, says, I love to help my mom in the kitchen. We make enchiladas for our family together.”

Green-chile-enchiladas (1)
 INGREDIENTS:

 • 3-5 chicken breasts, boneless

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 2 Tbsp. margarine

• 1 10 oz. can cream of chicken soup

• 1 10 oz. can cream of mushroom soup

• 1 ¾ cups frozen chopped green chili, drained

• ½ cup broth saved from chicken

• 1 12 ct. pkg. corn tortillas

• 1 lb. cheese, grated (cheddar, jack or mixture)

 DIRECTIONS:

1. Boil chicken, cool and shred breasts with a fork or your fingers.  Be sure to save the broth the chicken boiled in.

2. Preheat oven to 325º F.

3. Sauté onion in margarine until slightly soft.  Combine onion with soups, chili, broth and stir.

4. Tear 6 tortillas into small pieces and cover the bottom of a 9” x 13” pan. Spread ½ the chicken over the tortilla pieces, then ½ the sauce, and ½ the cheese. Repeat for several layers until you use up all your ingredients.

5. Bake 30-40 minutes, until very hot, bubbly and slightly browned.

6. Serve and enjoy!  Makes eight to ten 8 oz. servings.

In next week's Culture Snapshot we head to Bangladesh to learn how to play the game Carom!

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Culture Snapshot: Bolivian Music

Carmen Escobar Headshot

Carmen Escobar, Sponsorship Manager

Oruro, Bolivia

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Save the Children has sponsorship programs in over twenty countries in five regions of the world! Sponsorship gives you the unique opportunity to connect with a child. By building a friendship with a sponsored child you have the opportunity to learn a variety of new things about the child and area that you help support. 

Time and again sponsors rave about how fascinating is to learn about other cultures! This short series highlights unique elements of local culture from each of the regions our sponsorship programs operate in. We hope you enjoy and will visit again in the coming weeks to learn about each region.

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Rosario and Yveth are best friends and love to play music. The 13-year-old girls play a variety of Bolivian instruments such as the quena (bamboo flute), zampona (pan pipes), tarka (traditional flute of the Andes) as well as sheep hooves, used as castanets, and Spanish guitar. Rosario says, “Our identity is in our instruments. I think that Bolivian music should be valued by young people.”

Rosario playing the tarka
Rosario and Yveth started composing their own music and lyrics. Music has become a way to express their feelings. As Yveth puts it, “The melodies we create are ours and playing them can be described as something magical.”

Listen to a clip from a performance at Bolivian Heritage Festival:

Over the next few weeks we hope you will come back to read about cultural information from all of our sponsorship regions! Coming up next, a recipe for green chili chicken enchiladas from our Western Region office in the United States.

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Update: Save the Children’s Egyptian sponsorship programs

Farouk Egypt

Farouk Salah, Egypt Sponsorship Manager, Save the Children

Assiut, Egypt

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Given the political climate in Egypt over the last two weeks I would like to take a moment to update you on the status of our sponsorship programs.

Our sponsorship programs, located more than an hour’s drive from Cairo, are still fully operational and have not been disrupted by the unrest in the capital.

I ask you to limit the number of e-mails to the Egyptian office until service is fully restored.

If you would like more information about the status of the programs we encourage you to e-mail donor services or contact an associate at 1-800-728-3843.

Thank you for your support,

Farouk Salah

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more

Why You’d Want This Job

Karisten Strong Karisten Strong, Sponsorship Marketing Associate 

Westport, CT

Friday, November 12, 2010  


 

Every Save the Children child sponsor enjoys a special connection to children in need.  If you sponsor a child in Nepal, you also have a direct connection to Seema Baral, whose passion for children is sure to inspire.

Seema, our Sponsorship Manager in Nepal and Bhutan, has one of the most enviable jobs in the entire agency. Every day, she sees first-hand the impact that you and every Nepal sponsor make in children’s lives.


Seema (1)

On a recent trip to one of Nepal’s poorest communities, Seema was on hand for the opening of a new school building that was funded by our Nepal sponsors.

“Everyone was so pleased with the new learning space, and I was so happy thinking of sponsors like you, who’ve joined hands with people here in Nepal to make positive changes in their communities.”

Seema is especially grateful for your sponsorship because education and equality can help children achieve their dreams—something she has sought to do even before joining Save the Children in 1997.

After graduating from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal, Seema began volunteering her time assisting displaced women and children in the town of Siraha. 

The women and children were considered “untouchable” by the community merely because of their families’ past economic circumstances, and they struggled mightily to overcome discrimination at every turn.

What struck Seema was that instead of faltering in the face of such adversity, the children remained hopeful: they dreamed of being teachers, policemen, mothers and fathers just like other children. It was then Seema knew her calling. She sought equality for all children; she wanted every child to have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. She has been working to accomplish that goal ever since. 

Seema sees a long and successful future ahead for Save the Children Nepal, thanks to the loyal support of sponsors like you. With your support she and her team will continue working to bring Save the Children’s mission of creating lasting positive changes in the lives of children to life. 

Save the Children Humanitarian Response in Philippines- Sponsorship Update

Riel Andaluz Riel Andaluz, Philippines sponsorship manager

Manila, Philippines

Friday, October 22, 2010

 

Save the Children is actively responding to the current emergency in the Philippines.  Initial estimates from the province of Isabela, where Typhoon Megi made landfall Monday, are of over 82,600 homes damaged or destroyed and over 1 million children and adults affected. 

Save the Children first wants to let you know that the region struck by the typhoon is more than 250 miles north of Save the Children’s sponsorship program area in the capital of Manila. To the best of our knowledge, all girls and boys in our Philippines sponsorship programs are safe.

We will work on keeping our sponsors up-to-date with our emergency response efforts.  You can learn more about our post-typhoon work and find out how you can help by visiting Save the Children’s website.

If you have any immediate concerns please contact Donor Services at 1-800- SAVETHECHILDREN (1-800-728-3843) or email us at twebster@savechildren.org.  Thank you for your concern and we hope you will help the people of the Philippines who have been devastated by Typhoon Megi.

Learn more about our response to Typhoon Megi

Donate now to our Philippines Typhoon Children in Emergency Fund

Behind the Sponsorship Scene: Malawi- Part Two


Kathryn koonce Kathryn Koonce

Global Sponsorship Operations Manager, Save the Children

Thursday, September 30, 2010

 At the end of Kathryn's first post she was leaving a child-care center in Malawi supported by sponsors like you and administered by Save the Children.
 
We rush off to a nearby primary school that holds more than 2,000 children to catch the 1st-3rd-graders in the St. Martin district before their day ends. There are half a dozen one-story brick buildings on a barren piece of flat sandy property. The teachers are inspiring and the children are engaged and enjoying their studies. After visiting a sixth grade class, I sit outside the head master’s office. More than 20 kids crowd around me, wondering where I come from, staring at me, and waiting for me to take their picture. They scream as soon as they hear “click,” and retreat. Moments later they inch closer and closer until they get another “click” out of me.

Reading camp tree

Students gather under a tree for "Reading Camp"

Our last stop is the Literacy Boost “Reading Camp,” a voluntary after-school program where children in grades 1-5 practice reading and play word and alphabet games. When we arrive they are reading together, playing and having fun with locally-made materials. The volunteer facilitators are great at keeping the children (who have already attended a full day of school) engaged and interested. They read a book with lots of “L” words, then discuss names with the letter L and draw names and words with L in the sand with their fingers. The Malawian music blasting from a nearby house and what looks like a 200-pound, gray pig wandering about makes the atmosphere cheery and comfortable.

Teacher and class

A teacher poses with his students

I am inspired by the passion of the volunteers, teachers, and caregivers, and encouraged by the smiles on the faces of the children. In this region, where many parents cannot read, they are compelled to send their children to get the best education they possibly can through the early learning centers, schools, and reading camps that Save the Children supports.

I will leave Malawi comforted by the smoky scent and vibrant cloths, and most of all, the sparkle in the smiles of the children.

Sunset  

All Photos Courtesy of Kathryn Koonce

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