Visiting Early Childhood Care and Development Centers

Eman Mahrous, Early Childhood Care and Development IMG_1681Manager

Assuit, Egypt

October 26, 2012


 After an hour of driving on the Upper Egypt agricultural road we reached Kom el Mansoura village, part of the Assiut governorate, to visit one of the Early Childhood Care and Development centers.

 As I entered the classroom the children happily greeted me with awelcome song and beaming smiles. I talked with them a little to see that they are doing well, enjoying the classes and to ensure that they’re benefiting from the services Save the Children provides.

 IMG_1034After my conversation with the children they return to their coloring, drawing, and writing. During the classes, the children feel free and safe in an environment ideal for learning – one which every child should have, but unfortunately many still do not.

 One mother arrived at the center to bring her child lunch and I had a chance to speak with her. I asked if she is satisfied with the ECCD
services and if she sees positive changes in her child. She replied happily:

ECCD is like a dream come true; before we were constantly wondering why no one could see our problems and was helping our children, not even government officials. Then all of a sudden, our calls for help are answered. Now we have a safe place for our children to play and get an education that will help them make an easy transition to primary education since they are familiar with the school environment. Since joining the program our children are able to express their needs, communicate better with their peers and their behavior ha s improved.

The most important thing though is the parentIMG_0983 education sessions
that we attend.

Save the Children staff tell us all about common problems our children might face, how to solve them, the best ways to deal with our children and how can we support our children while they grow.

After hearing all of that, I can honestly say that the voices of the people we work with is the motivation which helps Save the Children staff,
like me, work harder and reach more children and communities in need with these beneficial services.

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A Well-Deserved Reputation


Raul PinedaRaúl Pineda, Sponsorship Manager

Las Mesas, El Salvador 

October 17, 2012

So often many good acts go unnoticed. And this is good, most times.

But there are other times where these same good acts create an avalanche of good deeds that surpass our expectations, when these actions are made public. 

I’m not talking about daily activities where we all try to do our best for our family, friends and work. I’m talking about the incidents we have in the lives of so many people while working for or interacting with Save the Children.

An example of this could be seen in the newspaper last week, where Save the Children was highlighted as an important actor in a project working to stop and eradicate human trafficking in the region. Our involvement in this project is so impactful that even government entities look for our advice and participation in the decision making at the highest levels. 

This has been a major success because the results have been made public and have shown that this problem can be addressed with the appropriate measures. We feel proud to be a part of this, not because we were in the spotlight, but because the issues surrounding human trafficking are now being handled by more government entities and a likely solution is really in sight.

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

A Mother’s Perspective: Feliza Asteti

Crispin AcostaCrispín Acosta, Basic Education Facilitator

Cochabamba, Bolivia

October 12, 2012



My name is Crispín Acosta and I work for the Wawakunan Purina Program (We work with the children) as a basic education facilitator at the San Nicolás School in Bolivia. My work offers me the
opportunity to work closely with the entire school community – children, parents,teachers and the authorities. Through my work I recently had the opportunity to talk with Mrs. Feliza Asteti from Oruro in the Challapata Province.
Feliza and her daughter Daniela helping to find words in the dictionary

The Asteti family moved to Cochabamba 16 years ago. They live near the Nicolás neighborhood and like many in this area they suffer from deficiencies in basic services such as water, electricity, sewerage, telephones and transportation.

During my conversation with Feliza she clearly showed how happy a mother gets, knowing that her daughter Daniela is sponsored and has friends in other countries.

With a beaming face she asked me how to pronounce Daniela’s sponsor’s name in English and explained how happy and excited Daniela is to receive and send letters and drawings to her sponsor.

 TCrispin and Felizahe education materials delivered on behalf of Save the Children are also a great source of joy for both the students and parents. “I have seen the materials that were delivered to the school. Bookshelves and many books, balls, toys and materials so they learn better, like calculators. I also participated in a workshop on how to speak with my family and how to treat my children. This was very helpful and I want to continue participating in this type of workshop,” shared Feliza.

A parent’s emotion and satisfaction of being able to rely on educational materials of equal or better quality than well-funded city schools, and seeing the results of their children improving their learning skills, is expressed by Feliza: “I have said that before we never had anything at school, but now new materials are arriving for our school and my daughter no longer wants to miss school, therefore I am very happy and I thank the friends, sponsors and Save the Children.”

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

Literacy Boost: The Power of a Teacher!

Zerihun GultieZerihun Gultie, Sponsorship Manager

West Showa, Ethiopia

October 5, 2012

In 2009 a study was conducted to measure the reading skills of children in the South West and West Showa zones of Ethiopia. The results were shocking, a huge percentage of 3rd grade children were unable to read a single word, despite schools, trained teachers and community support. It was then that Save the Children came up with an innovative concept called Literacy Boost to create a culture of reading, both inside and outside the classroom. 

In April of this year I visited three schools which have benefited from Literacy Boost. I was
stunned by the positive change. Children in the 2nd and 3rd grades were reading their textbooks and were highly engaged – almost all were able to read an average of 40 or more words per minute.

There I met Mitke Kuma, a vibrant 2nd grade teacher. She is a multi-disciplinary teacher, teaching 6 lessons a day on all subject matters. She lives several miles from the school and walks almost three hours each day to and from work. When her shift starts in the morning, she often sets off walking in the dark in order to be ready to start teaching at 8am. On Mondays, she arrives an hour early or extends her afternoon shift to help students in the library as part of her commitment to the Literacy Boost program. Mitke in action

Mitke has participated in several Save the Children trainings. She is a strong supporter of Literacy Boost and is constantly developing aids to help her students read. She has grouped them into three reading levels with materials according to their skill, and has facilitated a reading buddies program where younger children are paired with older students who help them with their reading. According to Mitke, the Literacy Boost trainings have equipped teachers with effective and necessary teaching skills.

Mitke is committed to helping the children at her school and hopes to move closer, “If my home were closer to school, Icould have more time to help students improve their literacy level,” she
shares. Her dream is to improve her educational qualification to a PhD.

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A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action

I spent last week at the Clinton Global Initiative and the UN General Assembly meetings in New York. There was much talking about issues of international development, about the rights of children to an education, about stopping children dying from preventable things like pneumonia, about making sure that the world is free from hunger. But in the midst of all this talking, I noticed that there was simply not enough of one thing—not enough shouting. We need louder voices to make changes on what really needs to be done for poor children and families around the world. Simply put, we need more people to care and speak out. Loudly.

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Ultimate Growth Stock

Together with a group of experts, I spoke at last week’s Clinton Global Initiative on something I have become more and more convinced of the longer I do this work with Save the Children. The best investments we can make for children are those that are made early. The overwhelming evidence shows that if you want to spend money wisely on development, invest in early education and healthcare. The return on those investments will far surpass those you make later in children’s lives.

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