Talking to Your Kids about Sandy Hook

We are all shocked and saddened by the tragedy of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, yesterday. Our thoughts are with the affected children and families.

 

Save the Children staff is now on site in Newtown, offering assistance if needed. We have set up a Child Friendly Space, where children who are receiving community-assisted crisis counseling also have a safe area to help them deal with the uncertainty and stress they are experiencing. While their parents get grief counseling, our Child Friendly space is also working to identify kids who need some extra care.

 

For parents across the country struggling to talk to their children about this tragedy, we have posted our Top Ten Tips to Help Children Cope with a Crisis at www.savethechildren.org/cope. Many parents, teachers, grandparents and caregivers are concerned about how dramatic images of the tragic crisis can affect the emotional well-being of their children. We hope that these tips can help you have those important

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.

How Can We Build Hope for America’s Kids?

Traveling in rural Arkansas, you can sometimes forget where you are. The long stretch of bumpy highway, surrounded by cotton fields and rice paddies, could be in one of a dozen countries I’ve traveled to recently. And, unfortunately, the poor families I met could have been from any of those countries too—rather than living in the richest country on earth. The kind of poverty you find these days in America is shocking, and it makes me wonder what’s happened to cause so many families to be left behind.

Every Beat Matters

Mbp

Mary Beth Powers, Newborn & Child Survival Campaign Chief

Washington, DC 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 

Who doesn’t love a song with
a great beat?  How about a beat that can help save children’s lives? 
OneRepublic’s new single “Feel Again” has both.

We’re so excited about the
release of this song this week.  It’s a hit in the making and was actually
inspired by real heartbeats of children in Guatemala and Malawi.  Listen
closely as the track opens, and you will hear one of these heartbeats. 
What’s more, when you download the song, a portion of the proceeds will benefit
Save the Children.

In the coming weeks,
OneRepublic will help us roll out our new Every Beat Matters campaign
for newborn and child survival.  You can already make a difference by
visiting EveryBeatMatters.org to
download the song and join the campaign.

Every Beat Matters is focused on giving every child the chance to
survive.  The campaign showcases the frontline health workers who are key
to making that possible in communities around the world.  With proper
support, these local heroes can prevent and treat the major causes of 7 million child deaths each year.  These
include pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria–illnesses that are rarely fatal for
children in the United States.   

We hope you’ll stay in touch
so we can share news, stories and tools you can use to help children
survive.  The best way is to like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EveryBeatMatters
and to follow @EveryBeat on Twitter. 

Please join us if you believe
that every child’s heartbeat matters!

Are Kids of the World Doing Better? Not When it Comes to Hunger

Child Development Index 2012This week, we released our Child Development Index and the bottom line is: kids deserve a lot better. The Index ranks the best and worst places in the world to be a child based on education, health, and nutrition statistics.

 

While there is some good news in terms of education and child survival rates—33% more kids are in school now than in the 1990s and almost 5 million more kids surviving to age 5 per year—there is one part of the report that is really shocking. In the 21st century, we still have children in the world without enough to eat every day—and it’s gotten worse over the last decade, not better. The number of acutely malnourished children across the globe has actually risen since 2000. The situation is particularly

Tips to Beat the Heat this Summer

DeMarrais picJeanne-Aimee De Marrais, Domestic Emergencies Advisor

Washington, D.C.

July 6, 2012


Temperatures have risen to triple-digit highs throughout the East Coast. As you and your family think of ways to stay cool,please keep in mind that infants and young children are among the most vulnerable in extreme heat. Follow these helpful hints and suggestions from the Center for Disease Control's Extreme Heat Guide to keep you and your child happy and healthy this summer:

  • Do NOT leave children unsupervised in parked cars, even if the windows are cracked open. Even in less threatening temperatures, vehicles can rapidly heat up to dangerous temperatures. A child left inside a car is at risk for severe heat-related illnesses and/or death.
  • Air-conditioning is the best form of protection against heat-related illness and death, so be sure to spend as much time in air-conditioned spaces (i.e. shopping malls, public libraries, public health sponsored heat-relief shelters) as possible during extreme heat waves.
  • Get Informed! Listen to local news and weather channels for health, safety, and weather-related updates.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen. Choose lightweight, light-colored, and breathable fabrics, as well as broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect you and your child from the heat and potential sun-related skin damage. Hats and umbrellas can be used to limit exposure to harmful sun rays.
  • Remember to drink plenty of fluids, regardless of your activity level. Also avoid hot meals as they too can affect body heat.
  • Know how to identify heat-related illnesses/conditions such as heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps, and severe sunburn. Please refer to the CDC website for a complete list of health conditions caused by extreme heat exposure, and how to remedy them.

Here are some links to additional information which will help keep you and you child safe this summer:

The Center for Disease Control's Extreme Heat Guide

More information on child vehicular hyperthermia

Keeping Expectant Mothers and Children Protected during Wildfires

DeMarrais picJeanne-Aimee De Marrais, Advisor, Domestic Emergencies, Save the Children

Washington, D.C.

June 28, 2012


Wildfires continue to wreak havoc in Colorado, forcing more than 32,000 people to evacuate their homes, and destroying over 15,000 acres of land, according to this report by Reuters.

Of the thousands of families uprooted by the Colorado fires, or during any disaster for that matter, pregnant women and children are often the most vulnerable. That’s why Save the Children is releasing the following two-partguidance—a combination of tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and our own disaster preparedness experts—tohelp expectant mothers and families with young children stay safe and protected during the Colorado wildfires or any fire emergency. 

Tips for expectant mothers and parents with young children facing evacuation

  • Be prepared to evacuate quickly and have important items (such as copies of medical records and medications) ready to go— you may not have much time.
  • When checking into a shelter or temporary housing, alert the staff if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.
  • If pregnant, seek prenatal care even if it is not with your usual provider. 
  • Make sure health care providers at the shelter know about any special needs or health problems that you or your child have, or any medicines you might be taking (both over the counter and prescription.)
  • If you don’t have your infant’s medicine with you, ask health care providers at the shelter for assistance in getting it.
  • Make sure your baby gets plenty of breast milk or formula, and you drink enough water.
  • Pregnant women and children should stay indoors, if possible, to keep from Avoid breathing smoke or fumes, rest often and stay indoors if possible.
  • If you’re pregnant, rest often and get plenty of water.

 (Guidelines derived from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. To see the complete guidance–Wildfires: Information for Pregnant Women and Parents of Young Infants–please visit http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/Emergency/WildFires.htm)

For more information on how to keep you and your children safe during a wildfire, visit the website of the Center for Disease and Control Prevention.

General fire safety tips for families

Save the Children wishes to remind parents, teachers, and caregivers about the importance of child fire safety. About 80 percent of all fire-related deaths and injuries occur in the home, and young children are at a particularly high risk. They may not understand the danger or may not be able to escape. Children under the age of 5 account for almost half of all home fire victims. Children in the poorest homes face the greatest risk of death. Every family member should know exactly what to do in case of a fire emergency. Precious seconds can be lost when someone can’t find a way out in the dark or does not know how to release a window lock. Having a family fire safety plan and practicing it will save lives.

Here are some tips for keeping families safe. For further guidance specific to your community, contact your local fire department.

  • Talk to children about fire safety. Children accidentally set many of the fires that harm them. Teach children not to play with matches and lighters. If they see matches or lighters within reach, teach them not to touch but go tell a grown up right away.
  • Teach children the DON’T HIDE, GO OUTSIDE rule in the event of a fire. Fires are scary, but they should NEVER hide in closets or under beds when there is a fire.
  • To escape during a fire, teach children to FALL & CRAWL. It is easier to breath in a fire if you stay low while getting out. Use the back of your hand to test if a door is hot before you open it. If it is hot, try to use another way out.
  • Practice STOP, DROP and ROLL: If clothes catch on fire, don’t run.  Stop where you are, drop to the ground and roll your body back and forth until the fire is out.  Running makes the fire burn faster.
  • Teach children to never go back into a burning building for any reason.  If someone is missing, tell a firefighter.
  • Make a family fire plan and practice it. The plan should include identifying two exits from each room and marking an outside meeting place. Practice escaping by both exits to be sure windows are not stuck and screens can be quickly taken out.
  • Make sure street signs and address numbers are easily visible so fire trucks and emergency responders can find where they need to be.
  • Teach children what a fire alarm sounds like and make sure that it will effectively wake them in the middle of the night.
  • Ensure smoke detectors are installed on every floor and in the sleeping areas of your home, and that batteries are changed twice per year. Carbon Monoxide detectors are also recommended. Test these alarms to make sure they can effectively wake family members.
  • If there are security bars or locks on doors, make sure all family members know how to release them.  All family members should be able to escape from the second floor.
  • Know your local emergency number. Put stickers and magnets with emergency numbers on your refrigerator and every telephone in the house.

Parents should also take steps to learn about their child’s school or child care fire safety plan, as part of an overall emergency plan. They should also ensure that any family friends have evacuation plans in case a child spends the night elsewhere.

G(irls)20 Summit 2012

Andrea headshotAndrea Burniske, Director GIRL Project

Washington, D.C.

June 15, 2012

Just a few weeks ago, a group of incredible young women gathered in Mexico City as delegates to the 2012 G(irls)20 Summit. Each year,The G(irls)20 Summit brings together one delegate from each G20 country, plus a representative from the European Union and the African Union. The delegates debate, discuss and design innovative ideas necessary to empower girls and women globally and present these to G20 Leaders. While the agenda is the same as the G20 leaders and focuses on economic innovation – the participants are all girls, aged 18-20. In anticipation of the G20 Summit June 18-19, the girls came together to discuss and debate topics of global economic importance – agriculture/food security and violence against women – and to make recommendations to the G20 leaders on the issues that impair a woman’s ability to be economically productive. Take a look at what the G(irls) 20 Summit looked like last year..

Be sure to check out girls20summit.com for more information.

Way to go girls!

G20_summit-2day_323

 

What it means to have friends abroad

Bolivia headshotElena Morales, Basic Educator Program

Save the Children, Boliva

June 8, 2012 


My name is Elena Morales and I am an educator working in the “Wawakunawan Purina” program, which means “We Walk With the Childhood”. This is a sponsorship-funded program implemented in the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia.

I support the School of San Francisco, located in the neighborhood Villa Sebastian Pagador. This neighborhood has a high migrant population, most residents come from other cities in Bolivia. The school has 926 children, many of whom are sponsored through Save the Children.

The children are very happy when they find out they are going to have a friend abroad and many wait for their sponsor’s letters with great anticipation.

One example is of a 12-year-old girl named America. This year she received a letter from her friend in the U.S. When she read the name of her new friend she shouted, "I have a friend in the United States!" The other children asked her why she was so excited. With pride she explained that her sponsor wrote a letter and that he knows her by her picture. This makes America feel special.

Elena Morales and America

What fills me with such great satisfaction is that "Wawakunawan Purina" allows boys and girls to have the opportunity for a better education and integrated formation without any type of discrimination.

This is how Save the Children contributes to each child, community, and country: through the creation of capable citizens who can reach their goals in life.

Watch America and her friends jump rope

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What if you could not buy food?

DhheadshotDave Hartman, Social Media Specialist

Westport, CT 

May 30, 2012


 This is a translation of a blog post origninally published by Save the Children Spain. Click here to read the original post.

_______________

Imagine you could not buy food.

Although there is food stacked and placed on the shelves of stores, you simply cannot afford to buy it.

Prices have risen so high that the food is unattainable. 

What would you do?

Prices rise, income falls

This is exactly what is happening in parts of Niger, a country where millions of people—especially children–are at risk of malnutrition.

Here, a combination of high food prices (linked to speculation on international markets) and insecurity in neighboring countries means that families can no longer afford to buy what they need. The prices of some goods have reached exorbitant levels, and the majority of parents have seen their incomes plummet.

Many Nigerien families grow food, especially staples such as millet or sorghum, which they ground and mix with water or milk to make mashed grains.

One might think this would solve the inflation problem and reduce reliance on markets; however, last year, a combination of poor rains and crop shortages made families more dependent on buying food when prices were peaking. 

Parents in Niger do everything they can to keep their children alive; many limit themselves to just one meal a day so children get the most food available. Some take their children out of school to help make money and even turn to using animal feed as an additional source of food.

But then, how can we help?

While we're on the ground supporting the emergency, the level of aid is not enough to handle the broad scope of crisis hitting the country. Today, one million children are still at extreme risk of malnutrition across the Sahel where, as in Niger, countries like Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, are facing an imminent food crisis. 

We know that we can do more; Save the Children can help save the lives of more children before it's too late. We also know that there is no way to do so without your help.

BlogNiger

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