A Life Changed: A Community Volunteer’s Story

6a0120a608aa53970c01b7c6d05b65970b-120wiMona Mariano, Sponsorship Manager

Caloocan City, Philippines

August 21, 2014

Small steps are sometimes what take us to great leaps. Coming home to a land already foreign to her, Charity’s family had to return to the Philippines after staying in Sabah, Malaysia since she was little. Charity shied away from others as she was unfamiliar to the language and the people.

6a0120a608aa53970c01a511facc4f970c-320wiAfter two years since her return, there is now no trace of that shy and uncertain woman. One would see a confident and independent person when observing Charity as she reads aloud to her students and she interacts with their parents. Every day, she plays her Save the Children volunteer role and serves as a Literacy Boost and Supervised Neighborhood Session Facilitator in Caloocan City, Philippines. In Literacy Boost, she implements a set of basic education activities adapted according to local context which teaches reading appreciation, letter knowledge, fluency, and comprehension. On the other hand, the Supervised Neighborhood Sessions is a neighborhood-based alternative early learning initiative that provides children with no access to daycare centers with stimulating educational activities and learning materials.

Charity says, “I usually hurry to the sessions right after I take care of my two kids and do my responsibilities at home, it is important for me to be there to teach children reading and learning skills. Being a volunteer is not about benefiting from a program, but it’s about giving back what you have learned. It is about helping people around you.”

She started volunteering to expose herself to the Tagalog language and because she was curious about what Save the Children does. Charity says she no longer views her undertakings as just volunteer work wherein she learns from, but more as an initiative that is very helpful to her neighbors and community. It is a joy for her to see the children grow and learn before her very eyes. Aside from improving her self-esteem, she says serving and being known as a community volunteer is life-changing. Charity says she understands that the financial problems usually discourage parents from sending their children to daycares and she knows she is contributing to ease this problem. She mentions that she will continue doing this for her community until she can.

6a0120a608aa53970c01a511facc6b970c-320wiCharity knows that what she does not only makes a difference in the community, but it changes her family life as well. She has learned how to make her kids love reading better and is now a promoter of positive discipline at home. She says that volunteer work sometimes seems daunting, but she knows it accomplishes so much for those who are involved in it.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Pre-School, Helping to Build Healthy Habits

Abilio Cossa

Abilio Cossa, Program Officer

Gaza Province, Mozambique

July 30, 2014

 

Save the Children has opened 35 preschool classrooms in 15 communities in the Gaza province, giving 1,225 children an early start to school success. Parents and caregivers have reported on the importance of early development of their children and change in the hygiene habits in the community. “Children that go to pre-school get knowledge about things that are not common in the community and they teach their parents…” said the community leader Nosta.  Laila (with her sister Leila) ready for the graduating cerimony

Getting ready for preschool, Laila, 5, and her sister, Leila, 3, brush their teeth behind their home in a small village outside of Mozambique’s Gaza province. Both girls attend the local Save the Children-supported preschool, where they learn not only the alphabet and counting, but also the importance of good hygiene. These healthy habits are very appreciated by parents, caregivers and other children in the community.

“Preschool is very important because kids develop good habits. They know that when they wake up they have to brush their teeth and comb their hair, get dressed and go to school”, said Laila’s mom, Maria Jose, 35. “These practices were not common in the community and we (parents) are learning from our children… note that… today the children are transmitting us habits that we did not have before.”

Laila and her ECCD colleagues exhibiting their certificatesWhen I asked Laila about what she learned in the pre-school she answered,” We learned that we have to wash our hands before eating and after using the latrine, we also learned that after waking up we have to wash our faces and comb our hair to be beautiful.”

During the interview Laila added, “Today is a special day for me and for my family.” Laila was part of a graduation ceremony. Her mother’s last remarks were, “I feel like I am flying. I am really proud and happy to see my daughter graduating.”

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Stimulating Early Learners

Portrait 1

Hend Saad

Early Childhood Care and Development Coordinator, Save the Children Egypt

June 25, 2014

 

 

“I feel filled with happiness when I see a child smiling with that innocent look in their eyes,” said Hend Saad.

Hend joined Save the Children in Egypt in 2013 to support our Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Program which provides families with access to safe places for their young children to learn play and make friends. Hend works directly with children on a daily basis, and is one of the lucky people who adores her job.  At  ECCD class

“I remember one day when I arrived at an ECCD class to monitor the activities, and a five year old boy Ahmed ran towards me after he noticed that I was holding a camera .He excitedly asked me to take a picture of him which I did. I was struck by his eloquence and couldn’t help thinking of children who did not have a safe place like that to develop, be stimulated and grow.

At ECCD  classWhen I returned home I thought again of Ahmed, and that comparison remained in my mind: Ahmed the confident kid who participates in ECCD, and other children who spend most of their time playing on the streets with little care and almost no stimulation from anyone. I realized that our mission in Egypt is not easy, and there are many challenges, but I will work when all children can join ECCD classes. It’s not only good for their development, it’s their right!”

 

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

From the Philippines, With Love

The following blog first appeared on The Huffington Post.

_______________________

 

I met with amazing students at an elementary school in Tacloban, which suffered extensive damage during Typhoon Haiyan. Classes are now conducted in tents adorned with the children’s artwork. Photo credit: David Wardell for Save the Children
I met with amazing students at an elementary school in Tacloban, which suffered extensive damage during Typhoon Haiyan. Classes are now conducted in tents adorned with the children’s artwork. Photo credit: David Wardell for Save the Children

Love. If there is a single word that best describes what I witnessed during my visit to the Philippines last week, then that’s it. Love of family. Love of community. Love of people. Love of life.

 

So what better day than Valentine’s Day to celebrate the dedication, perseverance and, of course, love between the communities, families and children in the parts of the country that were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan? I would also like to mention a specific passion that came up over

Literacy Boost – A Success!





Zacarias Mundiara

Zacarias Mundiara, Communications and Campaign Manager

Mozambique

September 30, 2013

 

Idalina teaches at the primary school of Chingoe in Gaza in the district of
Bilene. She and other teachers were the first Gaza teachers to be trained and
to implement Literacy Boost methodology to develop children’s abilities in
reading, writing and numeracy in their respective classes.

Teacher training in Literacy BoostThe fact that these children improved their reading and writing by about 60% in
a single school year attracted the Ministry of Education’s attention. It has
been requesting that Save the Children disclose this methodology to various
circles of interest and technical education within the ministry that ensure the
quality of education. In Mozambique, the quality of education remains a major
challenge. Nearly 25% of all school children can neither read nor write in the
appropriate class.

Idalina has been invited to give a lesson to colleagues and technicians of the
Ministry of Education in Maputo. This shows the differences that the various
strategies and methodologies, including literacy Boost, are starting to make
and that they are starting to be adopted by the Mozambique Government, which is
also concerned with the quality of education.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

#Moms4MDGs: Why Primary Education Matters




DaintymomWEB-7196

Martine de Luna

Philippines

September 17, 2013


Imagine having to swim through a river each day to get to school? No, not wade; not slosh through with
wellingtons and a waterproof jacket: I mean swim
doggie-paddle style through a deep, running river.

This is the reality for young students in the small town of
Casili, a region north of the capital city of Manila, here, in the Philippines
where I live. Here, the children of Casili literally swim towards an education.
Due to lack of infrastructure and bureaucracy issues in the local government,
the kids arrive at their school house drenched (and likely at-risk for flu, if
we are to be honest) every day.

And yet, they do so with smiles. They are among the lucky ones
with access to education.

They should — and they do — consider themselves blessed. I, too,
consider them privileged, because at least they have access to accredited
teachers, government-approved curricula and even a chance at a college
scholarship. They are not among the 57 million children globally,
who are currently out of school.

 

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Photo Credit: Susan Warner/ Save the Children

As a former member of the education force, this number astounds
and appalls me. Approximately half of the out-of-school youth, a majority of
whom are girls, are located in sub-Saharan Africa. UNESCO predicts this number
will skyrocket by 2015, if no action is taken by local governments and NGOs to
provide education access to these children.

 

I used to teach children how to read. These were children from a privileged
upbringing, from some of the top schools in our country. And when I think of
the 40 some students I used to tutor, I have to reflect: How fortunate is this child to be able to read, write or pick up a
book and engage in a conversation!
This is because I understand that
literacy and basic learning skills (reading, counting, etc.) are foundational
to a child’s overall development.

There is a clear correlation between illiteracy and poverty. That
is why #2 of the Millennium Development Goals of the UN focuses on the right to
primary education for all children. Here are the current targets:

Target
2.A: 
Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able
to complete a full course of primary schooling

            •           Enrolment in primary education in
developing regions reached 90 per cent in 2010, up from 82 per cent in 1999,
which means more kids than ever are attending primary school.

            •           In 2011, 57 million children of
primary school age were out of school.

            •           Even as countries with the toughest
challenges have made large strides, progress on primary school enrolment has
slowed. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of out-of-school children of primary
age fell by only 3 million.

            •           Globally, 123 million youth (aged 15
to 24) lack basic reading and writing skills. 61 per cent of them are young
women.

            •           Gender gaps in youth literacy rates
are also narrowing. Globally, there were 95 literate young women for every 100
young men in 2010, compared with 90 women in 1990.

Let’s go back to that number
again: 57 million children without access to education
or hope to one day be able
to read or write. Fifty-seven million
children with lack of life skills that can equip them against disease, early
pregnancy, abuse and exploitation.

We have to step up to meet the Millennium Development Goal for
Education because schools give children
the building blocks for practical life skills.
We have to actively engage
in efforts to build sound school structures,  invest in quality books and teachers, and
clamor for the strong support of governments, corporations and communities.

We have to teach our own
children — those who have the privilege of a quarterly report card and a
lunchbox — to care.
Unless we teach our own children to be grateful for their
schooling, and ultimately fight for children’s right to education the world
over… then, as moms, our own children’s good grades will be for naught. In
communities such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, a school is more than a place
to learn how to read or write: It is safe haven for support and socialization,
access to clean water and even vaccines. It is a mecca for young people to
start life right.

I’ve seen three children in Casili sharing one tattered textbook,
with a more eager longing in their eyes than any students in the top schools in
the country. And it makes me think: What
if they were my children?

What would I sacrifice so that my child could open up a book and
learn the ABCs?

What would I do to give my son the privilege of raising his hand
in a classroom filled with other students as hungry for knowledge as he?

What can I do, as a mother to help meet the millennium development
goal promoting the right to primary education?

As a former
teacher, I will always be a champion for a child’s right to education. Moreover,
as a mother, I will not just advocate for each child’s right to learn; I will ultimately fight for
each child’s right to a life that
will afford him or her with opportunities. The most basic of these
opportunities being a quality primary education, teachers who will champion
them, and systems that will compel them to succeed–even if poverty dictated
otherwise.

How about you? What would you do to champion each child’s right to
learn?

Keep the conversation going
on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and help save the world — share this
post and join World Moms Blog and Save the Children for two #Moms4MDGs Twitter
Parties!  Wednesday, September 18th,
from 1-2 pm EST and again at 9-10 pm EST, go to www.tweetchat.com and enter the
hashtag: #Moms4MDGs to join in! This month we’ll be focusing our chat on MDG2,
the right to a universal primary education. 

Martine de Luna is a writer,
a former educator, an attachment parenting advocate and work-at-home mother.
She blogs at www.daintymom.com, and is a Managing Editor for the Asian regional
writers of the World Moms Blog
.

 

Spreading the Love of Reading Beyond School Walls

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve curling up with a good book and embarking on a world of adventures unfolding on each page. But for 250 million children around the world who cannot read or write, getting lost in a story is a pleasure they may never get to experience.

 

For me, it’s hard to imagine myself flipping through a book and only seeing pages full of symbols, unaware of their meaning or the stories they tell. But for more than a third of all primary-school age children around the world, that’s a reality they face every day. And going to school is not enough to guarantee learning.

 

Too many children around the world are at risk of never learning to read or read well, whether they attend school or not. Children like 10-year-old Sita from Nepal. Sita lives in Budhathok village, a remote farming community, where the nearest market is 90 minutes by car (if you’re lucky to have a car), families are struggling to make ends meet, and books and time for reading are a luxury they often can’t afford.

 

2013-09-07-Sita.JPG
Sita, 10, reads at home with books borrowed from Save the Children’s mobile library in her village in rural Nepal. Save the Children’s new literacy report proves that practice outside the classroom is the key to learning to read, especially among girls, children living in poverty and those with few books or readers at home. Photo by Sanjana Shrestha.

 

Knowing the importance of practicing reading at home, Save the Children brought

Kids from around the World Tell Us Why They Love to Read

Ajla

Ajla Grozdanic, Manager, Marketing and Communications, U.S. Programs

Washington, D.C.

February 14, 2013


From Valentine’s Day to World Read
Aloud Day on March 6, this time of year is all about spreading the love—love of
reading, that is. Teaching our kids to become skilled readers early on is key
to ensuring their success in school and life. This is as true in America as it
is in Nepal, Mali or any other country for that matter. Why? Because education
is one of the most viable pathways out of poverty.

That’s why Save the Children,
through our early childhood education and school-based programs, strives to
help disadvantaged children around the world, including right here in the
United States, develop and grow as readers. The results speak for themselves! In
America alone, 69 percent of participants in our literacy programs showed
significant improvements in overall reading ability and the number of those
reading at or above grade level more than doubled by the end of the school
year.  

Here, some of our once strugglingreaders from
the United States and Nepal tell us how their newfound love of the written word
turned them into young bookworms. 

 

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“I love reading because you can learn many things in a book. You can even learn how to build a hamster home!” –Kori, 7, Point Pleasant, WV

 

 

 

Umesh_Nepal

 

“When I read, my grades will be better. Being able to read helps you read stories. When you can read, you can become anything you want. I like Nepali stories. My Nepali textbook has many stories and poems. My favorite poem is ‘such a pretty sun, such a pretty shadow, the two play together in the ground.’ I think this poem is very nice.” –Umesh, 3rd grader, Nepal

 

 

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“I love to read because the pictures and stories help me to imagine that I am somewhere else!” –Nevaeh, 7, Landers, CA  

 

 

 

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 “I like to read because there are new adventures all the time. Fiction is my favorite, because you can get inside the adventure.” –Brandon, 11, Lobelville, TN

 

 

 

Anita_Nepal“I think reading will make me smart. My father
brought a book for me from Qatar. The storybook is in two languages, Arabic and
Nepali. It’s about a teacher who teaches Arabic. My father reads the story to
me.” –Anita, 1st grader, Nepal  

 

 

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“The more I read, the faster and better I can read. It helps me to get better grades.” –Orlando, 9, Shaw, MS

 

 

 

 

Bijay_Nepal

 “I
like reading because when I grow up I want to become an engineer or a teacher.
My favorite book is DhungakoKhichadi
(Stone Porridge). I like stories about old men and women.” –Bijay, 3rd grader,
Nepal 

 

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“Because my mama likes to read!” –Kayla, 8, Shaw, MS

 

 

 

 

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“Reading lets me travel to awesome places in my imagination. That’s why I like to read.”—Nyla, 9, Foxworth, MS

 

 

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“Reading is good for your mind.” –Dontavious, 9, Columbia, MS

 

 

 

 

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“I love reading because it takes my mind to a different world.” –Macie, 10, Williston, SC

 

 

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“I love to read because it helps me learn.” –Hayden, 8, Maury City, TN

 


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 “Reading can take you on exciting adventures.” –A.J., 8, Maury City, TN

 

 

 

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“I want to be a veterinarian and reading is helping make my dreams come true! I already work at the zoo and reading has helped give me the knowledge I need to do my job well.” –Dedra, 16, Lobelville, TN (former student in Save the Children’s U.S. school-based program)

 

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“I love reading, because if I read a book and I see the movie, for instance, Harry Potter, I can compare them. They usually leave out details and skip scenes in movies. Books have more details.” –Lauren, 11, Morongo Valley, CA

 

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“I love to read books because it’s the only fun thing I can do.” –Patrick, 10, Morongo Valley, CA

 

 

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“I read because Nana says I got to. It is fun and I learn my ABC’s from books.” –Emilee, 3, Jackson, KY

 

 

 

 

All photos taken by Save the Children staff. 

The Sound of Change

Tererai podium

Dr. Tererai Trent, PHD , Educator and Humanitarian   

Hurungwe District, Zimbabwe

December 10, 2012

The following post first appeared on Tererai Trent's blog


Ping. Ping. Ping. 
That’s the sound of text messages hitting my mobile phone here in California, day and night, after
navigating over the long dirt roads and open blue skies thousands of miles away
from my home, in Africa.  With each ping, my smile beams more brightly, my
step has more spring and my bliss is boundless.  And, I am reminded of the
words of the soulful R&B singer Sam Cooke “A change is gonna come.” 

For you see, my dream
of bringing a better education to children in my rural village
of Matau, Zimbabwe, is soon to come true.  A
gaggle of grandmothers – Gogos in my native term, tease me with these texts,
feeding me morsels of news about the progress on the Matau Primary School
project. This will create a brighter future
for nearly 4,000 children and 125 teachers. 

"A brand new school
is now standing, it almost seems like I am dreaming
," Gogo Sande says
in her text. 

The next morning, before I
have recovered from my joy of reading her text, I get two more: 

"Tererai, my daughter
could not read and write and died leaving orphans under my care. Now they can
read at home and I get to participate in their reading, it has never been heard
of until Matau Project. It's a miracle.” 
Gogo Kawocha. 

"I saw the new desks
and chairs arriving, our children have hope for a better future,”
Gogo Kambuzuma tells me in her text.

My heart is brimming over
with affection and tears come to my eyes as I picture these grandmothers,
walking around my village, tracking down the young men and asking or paying
them a few cents to relay their messages to me via text on their mobile
phones.  I am humbled knowing that these women have had little to no
schooling themselves yet they share the same enthusiasm of children
awaiting their first day of school.

At this time of year, when we
express our gratitude, I want to bestow mine on these grandmothers.  I
thank them for reminding me that hope springs eternal.  I can hear them
saying, “Naysayers of Africa, pass on through. Your stay is temporary, like the
shift in shadows under the clouds of the African sky.”  Change is gonna
come. Progress is on the horizon. Can you feel it? 

Tinogona!  It is
achievable.