Five Years of Sponsorship Success for Five-Year-Old Ricardo

author-portrait_by-carla-urrutia-sponsorship-quality-communications-coordinatorCarla Urrutia

Sponsorship Quality Communications Coordinator

Save the Children El Salvador

September 9, 2016

Two hours away from the capital city of El Salvador, surrounded by hills of withered lawns, rural dusty roads covered in bumps and friendly people full of hope, you’ll find the quiet community of Cuyagualo, in our sponsorship impact area of Sonsonate.

It’s in this setting that I meet with Yeni, age 28, a mother of one of our sponsored children, Ricardo. She shared with me that in 2011, she received an invitation from one of our community volunteers to attend an Early Childhood Development Parenting Circle withricardo-and-his-kindergarten-teacher-miss-yaneth her then baby son Ricardo. She told me that this invitation changed her life and the life of her son forever.

Even since he was a baby, Ricardo was very shy and not interactive. Once they started attending the Parenting Circle regularly however, Yeni noticed that Ricardo’s social skills greatly improved, as he learned to relate with the other children by playing, singing and dancing.

The community volunteer who works with Yeni’s parenting group tells me she admires Yeni, as she has never failed to miss any session! After having such a positive experience with Sponsorship’s Parenting Circles, she took Ricardo to our Book Rotation sessions, where over the next two years he developed a deep love for reading and learning.

This year, now five-year-old Ricardo started kindergarten. His mom thought it would be difficult for him because he loves sleeping in, but so far he has had no problem waking up early to go to school. Miss Yaneth, his kindergarten teacher, tells me she notices remarkable development skills among children that have attended Save the Children community strategies like Early Childhood Development Parenting Circles. She says when these children start school, “They already know their colors, can identify letters and numbers, know how to properly hold a pencil, and are more organized, responsible and outgoing.” Ricardo is doing great so far in school, and more importantly, he’s enjoying and lova-happy-ricardo-and-his-classmates-enjoy-some-healthy-snacksing it!

This meeting with Yeni made me think about how positively someone’s life can change in the course of just five years, and how time and experience prove that our programs make a huge difference in children’s development. In 2015, just like Ricardo, more than 1,000 children participated in our Early Childhood Care and Development strategies in El Salvador, and with the support of generous sponsors, we’ll reach many more children and families every year – providing them the necessary tools and knowledge to succeed in life. Thank you, sponsors, for making this possible!

 

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.

Guatemala: Heroes against Hunger

It’s hard to reconcile the beautiful highlands of Guatemala, where I was in mid-January, with this stark fact: the child malnutrition rate here is the highest in the Western hemisphere. Roughly 5 out of every 10 Guatemalan children suffer from chronic malnutrition. All

Rita Weaves her Magic in Grade One Classroom




Sanjana

Sanjana Shrestha, Communication
Coordinator

Nepal Country Office

July 19, 2013


Nothing
deters Rita, not even a room full of curious and mischievous first graders. On
a field trip to Kapilvastu, one of our sponsorship impact areas, I accidentally
stumbled into Rita’s classroom and listened to her teach numbers to eager and
excited first graders.

She
has drawn a chart with numbers and things that represent the number. For
example, the number 3 is represented by drawing of three cups alongside a “3.”
She engages in a discussion with children about how and why they use cups.
Children promptly answer that they drink tea from cups. She also encourages
children to find synonyms for cups in other languages. When it’s time to learn
about the number 4, she asks the children to count the number of windows in the
classroom. In Rita’s class, children not only learn about numbers, but also
about new words, language and discovering things on their own.

Nepal_blog_Rita in her classroom

Rita in her classroom

A
look around her classroom and I am captivated. Rita has covered the walls with pictures
and learning materials. Story books hang on a line that runs across the
classroom, children’s drawings are suspended from the ceiling and there are locally
made toys, games – and learning materials Rita made herself.

“I
do not find teaching these children difficult. In fact, it’s more difficult to
stay home doing nothing,” says Rita, who lives an hour away and comes on a
bicycle every day. “My students help me in class. When I announce the lesson for
the day, they volunteer to bring learning materials needed for that class. One
of them always keeps the attendance register. The best part is when children
volunteer to bring water when anyone is sick in the class or needs to take
medicine.”

Rita
says that she started enjoying her job more when she participated in training
to make learning materials, “a door to new ways in which she could teach
children.” She sometimes gathers her first graders and makes teaching materials
with them, all the time asking them questions about what things they can make
from cutting papers in different shapes and sizes. She says learning materials
make children creative and more imaginative. When they see the lessons in
textbooks turned into something visual, they can understand very easily.

Rita
whose mother tongue is Tharu, uses Awadhi, the language they use at home, to
speak to her students. She is a bridge for her young wards in switching between
languages.

Nepal_blog_Rita with her students

Rita with her students

Rita
takes great pride in her first graders and the discipline they show in class,
even when they are playing games. She says, “I like the beautiful handwriting
the children are learning, and I like their questions. I hope they help their
grade two teacher like they did me.”

One
of her students Anita, 8, says, “I like my teacher a lot because she loves us
and tells stories to us.” Anita, who has been in grade one for the past three
years, is making huge progress this year with Rita as her teacher.

Rita
says, “Anita didn’t go to an ECD [early childhood development] center, but
started in grade 1. In the evening after school, she goes home to wash dishes
and cook. She can write and read Nepali and sometimes leads the class, and she counts
from one to hundred. She even asks me for difficult homework.” Rita is
confident Anita will pass grade one with flying colors this year.

 

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

A Mom’s Best Or Worst Day

The following blog first appeared on The Huffington Post.

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Every day, thousands of women celebrate one of life’s most amazing experiences — becoming a mother. But every 30 seconds a mother’s first moments with her baby are cut short, on the very day she gives birth.

 

Until now, we didn’t know how common this heartbreaking experience is in the United States and around the world. But Save the Children’s new report shows that one million babies die the day they are born.

 

State of the World’s Mothers 2013: Surviving the First Day also shows that today we have the evidence and cost-effective tools to save up to three quarters of newborn babies, without intensive care.

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Thriving in Nacala: One Community’s Story

I recently spent a week in Africa, my second visit to the continent in 2012.  After a quick stop in Cape Town for The Economist’s global meeting on healthcare in Africa I went on to Mozambique to visit Save the Children programs in rural communities in the north of the country.

 

I came away from this trip with a renewed understanding of the huge difference it makes when a community is really involved with kids’ development. 

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Some wins for kids but so much more to do……

As I reflect back on 2011, the changes in the world and the world for children were vast, both here in the United States and around the world.

 

Here in the US, more children are living in poverty as we begin 2012 than in the last 20 years, both as a percentage of our kids and as a total number. Across the US,

PHOTOS: Revolution & Evolution: My Trip to Egypt – Part 3

My evening in Assiut proved to be one of the most unique and interesting parts of my visit to Upper Egypt. As it began to get dark, the streets became clogged with young people coming home and going out. We traveled to a youth center, supported by the local government, to attend a play organized by local young people with the help of some of the adults in the community. The play was written by a well-known local author of children’s books and focused on key health messages directed towards young pregnant moms, parents, and children themselves.

 

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