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.

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#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.

 

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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

Keeping Expectant Mothers and Children Protected During California Wildfires

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

Westport, CT

May 4, 2013


As wildfires continue to wreak havoc in California, Save the Children is releasing the following two-part guidance to protect those who are the most vulnerable. Follow this combination of tips, created by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and our own disaster preparedness experts, to help expectant mothers and families with young children stay safe and protected during the 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 avoid breathing smoke or fumes. Rest often and stay inside 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.

The Real Breastfeeding Scandal

The following blog first appeared on The Huffington Post.

_______________________

 

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Last year, Time magazine’s “Are You Mom Enough?” cover practically shouted “Scandal! Women breastfeeding too long!”

 

The unforgettable image stirred up controversy and I’m sure it sold magazines. But are moms and kids any better off?

 

Now, imagine funneling all that outrage and punditry into something that really helped mothers and their babies when it came to breastfeeding — especially in the developing world where it can literally save lives.

The real scandal is not breastfeeding late, but that too many moms don’t get the support needed to breastfeed early — or to keep breastfeeding, should they want to.

 

In our new report, “Superfood for Babies,” Save the Children estimates that 830,000 babies could be saved every year if they were breastfed in the first hour of life. The colostrum, or first milk, provides a powerful shot of antibodies that can stave off deadly disease. And immediate breastfeeding more often leads to exclusive breastfeeding for six months, which can save even more lives.

Read Article

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. 

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.