Canada floods: I’m one of the 100,000 displaced.



C.malone_small

Colleen Malone, SCI Humanitarian Adviser

Canmore, Alberta, Canada

June 28, 2013


 

June 20  

Following the news of massive flooding in Canmore, in
the Rocky Mountains just west of my hometown,

Deserted_downtown

Deserted downtown. Emergency vehicles, stragglers, me standing in rain with sleeping baby in carrier.

Calgary. It is headed our way –
in fact it is arriving faster than anyone expected. We walk down to the bridge
crossing the Bow River just one block from our house; this morning the water
level was at the 2 feet marker, and in the afternoon it is at 7 feet.  We talk to a neighbour about the huge
flooding in 2005, and she says our neighbourhood didn’t have to evacuate then.
My visiting mother raises her eyebrows when I suggest perhaps she shouldn’t
sleep in the basement tonight. I am in the park playing with my 15 month old
daughter when I see pairs of police going door to door and a passerby shows me
the flyer they are handing out: we are under a mandatory immediate evacuation
order. We are told just to pack for a night. We hurriedly throw stuff in bags
and the baby wears the new tiny backpack we had happened to buy for her the day
before; she looks like she is heading out on an adventure.

 June 21

Donated_items

So much donated stuff and so many volunteer hours, but many needs remain for Siksika families.

Waking up early in the downtown hotel room we were
lucky enough to snag, we notice the power go out. And then the back up power.
About 6 hotel staff shine their cell phones as I walk down 8 flights of pitch
black stairs with the baby. Do we stay in a hotel with no power or look for
somewhere else to stay? Every hotel we call is fully booked. As the baby naps
in her carrier, I stand in the pouring rain on a deserted downtown street; a
few other stragglers here and there.  Emergency
vehicles are the only ones on the move. The river pathways – and the streets – are
filling with water. Nothing is open, nowhere to eat. Downtown is being
evacuated.

 

June 22

A friend is out
of town and is letting us stay in her house. We are among about 100,000 people
who have been displaced from their homes. Evacuation centres are sheltering around
1,500 people – everyone else is like us, benefiting from the kindness of
friends and families. Our friend has a baby a bit older than my daughter. My
daughter is delighted with all the other baby’s toys and books, and I am so
relieved to be able to put her safely to sleep in a safe, quiet, comfortable
place. But I want to go home. I see pictures from our neighbourhood – the
pathway just across the street from our house has disappeared under about 13
feet of water. The Bow is rushing with just slightly less than the force and
volume of Niagara Falls.

 

June 23

The rain has
cleared at last and the air is fresh and crisp, but any thoughts of playing in
the park across

Flooded_house

Like a tsunami: one of many houses just like it across Calgary's flood damaged 'hoods.

the street are dashed by the swarming, huge clouds of
mosquitoes. Starting to get a bit stir crazy. Baby watches her Dada, Mama and
Nana all transfixed by their smart phones, iPads and the TV news. All her
caregivers are distracted and it isn’t good for anyone. While we are pretty calm
on the outside, I can feel stress building with each day away from home. I am
addicted to Twitter updates and spend all day trying to find news of our
neighbourhood and when we will be allowed home. Part of my neighbourhood is literally
slipping into the Bow and no one has power. So frustrated by the lack of even
an estimated timeframe of when it might be safe to return – we need to leave
our friend’s house so where should we go? For how long?

 

June 24

Flood_clothes

Monochrome #YYC: husband's clothes after day gutting mucky, water-logged basements of friends & strangers.

Home! The
evacuation order has been lifted for our neighbourhood. We have no power but
our house is amazingly, thankfully dry. Others are not so lucky – our
neighbourhood is a mess. The streets are all covered in river mud and chalky dust
blows through the air. The river is still dangerously high and sink holes are
appearing in the roads and sidewalks. Volunteers are dragging out the contents
of neighbours’ basements and throwing them into dumpsters. One neighbour asks
me why we store away precious things instead of enjoying them. She is cheerful
and bizarrely hospitable, but her voice catches briefly as she pitches her
water damaged family treasures in the dumpster. As is the case in every neighbourhood
every day, free food and coffee is being provided to volunteers and flood
victims, and businesses with trucks, dumpsters and pumps show up to help. We take
our daughter to the only place open for dinner, the local truck stop, with some
friends and their baby. The two girls ‘wow’ and ‘beep beep’ at the model train
running around the restaurant while the adults share flood stories. We put our
daughter to sleep at last in her own bed, and light candles in our cold dark
house. The normally busy neighbourhood is entirely quiet except for the
constant hum of pumps and generators.

June 25

Although we are
home, all is not back to normal. My husband’s office is closed, as much of the

Flood_pathway

Pathway and park less than 1 block from our house disappears downhill under about 13ft of water.

downtown core remains without power. He is helping friends and strangers gut
their basements, right back to the studs, slipping through thick river muck. I
am heading out to do an assessment for Save the Children of the Siksika First
Nation, a reserve east of Calgary that was devastated by the floods. My
daughter is not herself; she clings to me at every chance and wants ‘up, up.’
We are trying to get her back into her routine but me leaving her behind,
instead of simply going into my home office, is not part of that routine. She
has to be distracted while I leave, feeling terrible. I’m told she cries for me
whenever she sees my empty office.

 

June 26

Flood_food_truck

Wherever you turn in affected communities, generous restos and food trucks serving free food.

Out for a second
day with the Siksika First Nation. It strikes me as I prepare to leave that
while it is a much too common experience for so many of our staff around the
world, this is the first time I’ve headed out for a day of emergency assessment
or response from my own home. The Siksika are quite literally overwhelmed by in
kind donations: the sportsplex that is serving as an evacuation centre has
mountains of donated clothes, toiletries, toys, baby supplies, and bottled water.
But the kids are climbing the walls – there is nothing to do, nowhere to go. No
running water, no showers, lines of porto-potties. Fortuitously and
coincidentally, a company from Calgary has donated and set up a tent just
outside the sportsplex that is ideal for a child friendly space, and the centre
staff are keen to have us establish one. On our way out, we talk to a family
camped outside in a tent. The parents went through the residential school
system; they don’t want to sleep inside in an institutional setting. No one
knows when they will be able to drink the water, let alone go home.

 

Charitable contributions from people like you make it
possible for us to respond to emergencies in Canada and around the world. By
contributing to our Children's Emergency Fund, you will enable us to
immediately serve children through disaster planning, preparedness, response
and recovery work.  Donate here
http://bit.ly/14CvNrx

 

Round the Corner to the Children in Meherpur



Tahmina Haider, Sponsorship Manager

Tahmina Haider, Sponsorship Manager

Bangladesh

June 2013

Save the Children Korea CEO, Michelle Kim, and International Program Director, Jiyeon Kim, visited Meherpur on February 16th & 17th, to learn more about sponsorship programs in Bangladesh. They met many children and parents as they visited the activities we implement with kind support from our sponsors.
SCK CEO Michelle Kim with Pre_Primary School Children in Hasnabad Village in Meherpur_Original

During their short visit, our honorable guests visited an arsenic treatment plant that has ensured pure water for many families in Beltala village in Amjhupi Union. They observed a teacher-led Health Education session and a hand-washing demo by the school children in Jhaubaria Government Primary School. They also attended a grade I math class in Isakhali Government Primary School, where the teacher was using technology to teach children how to add.

Pre-primary school children of Hasnabad Government Primary School enjoyed the company of these guests and, in a Parenting session, their mothers spoke with Michelle. They told her their children do not want to eat vegetables, which they consider a problem. The CEO ensured them that this is not a problem only for Bangladeshi mothers, but for mothers all over the world.

The last stop was an Adolescent Center, where the children performed a drama about early marriages.
SCK CEO and International Program Director attended Parenting Session with the mothers of  Pre-Primary School Children in Meherpur

Before leaving Meherpur, Michelle and Jiyeon had lunch with some of the sponsored children at the Save the Children office. Sadia, Mohona, Sabina, Anamika, Sajib and Humaiyra came with their family members to meet the honorable guests. The children wanted to know from them how their sponsors are and were able to get an essence of their sponsors through Michelle and Jiyeon. Sajib sang a local song for the guests. One child brought a letter and two brought drawings, and they requested that Michelle and Jiyeon forward those gifts to their sponsors in Korea.

As the CEO and program director said goodbye to Meherpur, they expressed their wish to visit again, sharing that they love the children, people and food in Bangladesh.

If you are not already a sponsor, become one today!

Round the Corner to the Children in Meherpur



Tahmina Haider, Sponsorship Manager

Tahmina Haider, Sponsorship Manager

Bangladesh

June 2013

Save the Children Korea CEO, Michelle Kim, and International Program Director, Jiyeon Kim, visited Meherpur on February 16th & 17th, to learn more about sponsorship programs in Bangladesh. They met many children and parents as they visited the activities we implement with kind support from our sponsors.
SCK CEO Michelle Kim with Pre_Primary School Children in Hasnabad Village in Meherpur_Original

During their short visit, our honorable guests visited an arsenic treatment plant that has ensured pure water for many families in Beltala village in Amjhupi Union. They observed a teacher-led Health Education session and a hand-washing demo by the school children in Jhaubaria Government Primary School. They also attended a grade I math class in Isakhali Government Primary School, where the teacher was using technology to teach children how to add.

Pre-primary school children of Hasnabad Government Primary School enjoyed the company of these guests and, in a Parenting session, their mothers spoke with Michelle. They told her their children do not want to eat vegetables, which they consider a problem. The CEO ensured them that this is not a problem only for Bangladeshi mothers, but for mothers all over the world.

The last stop was an Adolescent Center, where the children performed a drama about early marriages.
SCK CEO and International Program Director attended Parenting Session with the mothers of  Pre-Primary School Children in Meherpur

Before leaving Meherpur, Michelle and Jiyeon had lunch with some of the sponsored children at the Save the Children office. Sadia, Mohona, Sabina, Anamika, Sajib and Humaiyra came with their family members to meet the honorable guests. The children wanted to know from them how their sponsors are and were able to get an essence of their sponsors through Michelle and Jiyeon. Sajib sang a local song for the guests. One child brought a letter and two brought drawings, and they requested that Michelle and Jiyeon forward those gifts to their sponsors in Korea.

As the CEO and program director said goodbye to Meherpur, they expressed their wish to visit again, sharing that they love the children, people and food in Bangladesh.

If you are not already a sponsor, become one today!

Don’t Read This on an Empty Stomach…




Sara headshot
Sara ShaughnessyMedia and
Communications Intern at Save the Children

Westport, CT

June 2013


What do you get when you challenge a group of mom bloggers
to create kid-friendly recipes under $8 using eight healthy ingredients? You
get “Gr8,” good-for-kids treats that even grown-ups will love.  If you’re looking for a healthy way to cure a
raging sweet tooth or your little one is a chipsoholic, read on.  

But wait.  Before I
get to the recipes—and before you start wondering whether Save the Children is
becoming the new Food Network—let me explain our foray into the foodie world.  Coinciding with the G8 nutrition summit
earlier this month, attended by President Obama and other world leaders, Save
the Children released a new report on child nutrition, called “Food for Thought”
(get it?).

According to the “Food for Thought” report, 165 million
children globally are malnourished, a condition affecting a child’s cognitive
abilities, overall health and physical strength.  Meanwhile, 23 million U.S. children are
overweight or obese, which can be just as detrimental to their health and
well-being. 

Carolyn Miles w bloggers

Tri-state-area mom bloggers with Carolyn Miles, Save the Children’s president and CEO, at an advance screening of “Man of Steel,” which, in conjunction, helped to raise awareness about the “We Can Be Heroes Campaign,” a Save the Children and DC Entertainment initiative working to fight hunger in the Horn of Africa.

Leading up to the G8 summit, 20 mom bloggers posted and tweeted kid-friendly, “Gr8 recipes” to raise awareness of childhood malnutrition around the world and show parents in America easy, inexpensive (yet tasty!) ways to make healthier choices for their children.

The result? Mouthwatering recipes that take minutes to
prepare, such as this quesadilla with a twist: on a whole-wheat tortilla, swap
greasy cheese with natural peanut butter, top it off with some fruit and,
voila—a delicious dessert that’s nutritious to boot. Or try my personal
favorite, crispy kale chips, which I made last night. Check out all the recipes
by following the ‘Gr8’ healthy kids’ recipe links below.

A big thank you from Save the Children goes out to all the
mom bloggers for sharing their recipes, making calls to action through social
media, and urging White House and government officials to ensure children get
the nutrition they need in their first 1,000 days.  We also wanted give a shout-out to the mom
bloggers who participated in an early screening of the “Man of Steel” movie as
part of the “We Can Be Heroes” campaign, a Save the Children and DC
Entertainment initiative to fight hunger in the Horn of Africa.

To end on a positive note, here is some promising news: At
this month’s Nutrition for Growth Summit in London, the Obama administration
pledged to reduce stunting among 2 million children through its Feed the Future
program, as well as committed more than $1 billion in funding for global
maternal and child nutrition programs. A great start, but there is still more
to be done.

Now go back to those tasty recipes.  But if you start salivating just by looking at
the photos, you can’t say I didn’t warn you!

Thank you!

See the Pinterest Board


‘Gr8’ Healthy Kids’ Recipe Blogs

Lisa Van
Engen of About Proximity
, Jennifer
Barbour of Another Jennifer
,
Lea of Becoming super Mommy,
Connie
Roberts of Brain Foggles
, Samantha
Kitchenman of Carrying the World on My Hip
, Jennifer
Wagner of Connect With Your Teen Through Pop Culture and Technology
, Karen
Heffren of Desert Chica Ramblings,
Elizabeth
Atalay of Documama: Sahara to Suburbia
, Amanda
of Maroc Mama
, Shiloh
of McKinney Mommas
,
Makeba Giles of MelisaSource
, Julia Gibson
of Mom on the Run X2
, Ruth
Hill of My Devotional Thoughts
, Tiffany
Washko of Naturemomsblog
 (also on Macaroni Kid), Betsy
Shaw of Baby Center
,
Barb Webb of RuralMoms.com,
Jeanna
S. of Surf and Sunshine
, Kelli Nelson of
Sweetness of Life and Motherhood
, Heidi
of Textbook Mommy
, and Holly
of Tropic Home and Family
.

Mom Bloggers Who Mobilized a Call to Action to the White House

Jennifer Barbour of Another Jennifer,  Samantha Kitchenman of Carrying the World on
My Hip, Karen Heffren of Desert Chica Ramblings, Elizabeth Atalay of Documama:
Sahara to Suburbia, Shiloh of McKinney Mommas, Makeba Giles of MelisaSource,
Julia Gibson of Mom on the Run X2, Ruth Hill of My Devotional Thoughts, Tiffany
Washko of Naturemomsblog, Betsy Shaw of Baby Center, Barb Webb of
RuralMoms.com, Kelli Nelson of Sweetness of Life and Motherhood, Heidi of
Textbook Mommy, and Holly of Tropic Home and Family.

Mom bloggers Raising Awareness About ‘We Can Be Heroes’

Harriet Shugarman
of Climata Mama
, Adriana
Velez of CafeMom
, and Jennifer
James of Mom Bloggers For Social Good

 

Don’t Read This on an Empty Stomach…




Sara headshot
Sara ShaughnessyMedia and
Communications Intern at Save the Children

Westport, CT

June 2013


What do you get when you challenge a group of mom bloggers
to create kid-friendly recipes under $8 using eight healthy ingredients? You
get “Gr8,” good-for-kids treats that even grown-ups will love.  If you’re looking for a healthy way to cure a
raging sweet tooth or your little one is a chipsoholic, read on.  

But wait.  Before I
get to the recipes—and before you start wondering whether Save the Children is
becoming the new Food Network—let me explain our foray into the foodie world.  Coinciding with the G8 nutrition summit
earlier this month, attended by President Obama and other world leaders, Save
the Children released a new report on child nutrition, called “Food for Thought”
(get it?).

According to the “Food for Thought” report, 165 million
children globally are malnourished, a condition affecting a child’s cognitive
abilities, overall health and physical strength.  Meanwhile, 23 million U.S. children are
overweight or obese, which can be just as detrimental to their health and
well-being. 

Carolyn Miles w bloggers

Tri-state-area mom bloggers with Carolyn Miles, Save the Children’s president and CEO, at an advance screening of “Man of Steel,” which, in conjunction, helped to raise awareness about the “We Can Be Heroes Campaign,” a Save the Children and DC Entertainment initiative working to fight hunger in the Horn of Africa.

Leading up to the G8 summit, 20 mom bloggers posted and tweeted kid-friendly, “Gr8 recipes” to raise awareness of childhood malnutrition around the world and show parents in America easy, inexpensive (yet tasty!) ways to make healthier choices for their children.

The result? Mouthwatering recipes that take minutes to
prepare, such as this quesadilla with a twist: on a whole-wheat tortilla, swap
greasy cheese with natural peanut butter, top it off with some fruit and,
voila—a delicious dessert that’s nutritious to boot. Or try my personal
favorite, crispy kale chips, which I made last night. Check out all the recipes
by following the ‘Gr8’ healthy kids’ recipe links below.

A big thank you from Save the Children goes out to all the
mom bloggers for sharing their recipes, making calls to action through social
media, and urging White House and government officials to ensure children get
the nutrition they need in their first 1,000 days.  We also wanted give a shout-out to the mom
bloggers who participated in an early screening of the “Man of Steel” movie as
part of the “We Can Be Heroes” campaign, a Save the Children and DC
Entertainment initiative to fight hunger in the Horn of Africa.

To end on a positive note, here is some promising news: At
this month’s Nutrition for Growth Summit in London, the Obama administration
pledged to reduce stunting among 2 million children through its Feed the Future
program, as well as committed more than $1 billion in funding for global
maternal and child nutrition programs. A great start, but there is still more
to be done.

Now go back to those tasty recipes.  But if you start salivating just by looking at
the photos, you can’t say I didn’t warn you!

Thank you!

See the Pinterest Board


‘Gr8’ Healthy Kids’ Recipe Blogs

Lisa Van
Engen of About Proximity
, Jennifer
Barbour of Another Jennifer
,
Lea of Becoming super Mommy,
Connie
Roberts of Brain Foggles
, Samantha
Kitchenman of Carrying the World on My Hip
, Jennifer
Wagner of Connect With Your Teen Through Pop Culture and Technology
, Karen
Heffren of Desert Chica Ramblings,
Elizabeth
Atalay of Documama: Sahara to Suburbia
, Amanda
of Maroc Mama
, Shiloh
of McKinney Mommas
,
Makeba Giles of MelisaSource
, Julia Gibson
of Mom on the Run X2
, Ruth
Hill of My Devotional Thoughts
, Tiffany
Washko of Naturemomsblog
 (also on Macaroni Kid), Betsy
Shaw of Baby Center
,
Barb Webb of RuralMoms.com,
Jeanna
S. of Surf and Sunshine
, Kelli Nelson of
Sweetness of Life and Motherhood
, Heidi
of Textbook Mommy
, and Holly
of Tropic Home and Family
.

Mom Bloggers Who Mobilized a Call to Action to the White House

Jennifer Barbour of Another Jennifer,  Samantha Kitchenman of Carrying the World on
My Hip, Karen Heffren of Desert Chica Ramblings, Elizabeth Atalay of Documama:
Sahara to Suburbia, Shiloh of McKinney Mommas, Makeba Giles of MelisaSource,
Julia Gibson of Mom on the Run X2, Ruth Hill of My Devotional Thoughts, Tiffany
Washko of Naturemomsblog, Betsy Shaw of Baby Center, Barb Webb of
RuralMoms.com, Kelli Nelson of Sweetness of Life and Motherhood, Heidi of
Textbook Mommy, and Holly of Tropic Home and Family.

Mom bloggers Raising Awareness About ‘We Can Be Heroes’

Harriet Shugarman
of Climata Mama
, Adriana
Velez of CafeMom
, and Jennifer
James of Mom Bloggers For Social Good

 

Morganne’s Thank You for trip to Mozambique

Dear Sponsors,

I wanted to follow-up with you on my trip to the Save the Children Advocacy Summit in Washington in April. (I am sorry that this is so late.) 

Momo CapOn Wednesday, I spent the day in the Youth Summit, where we learned how to advocate, kinds of messages to use and how our voices as children advocating for children are so important. There, I met, while working in groups, a lot of very interesting people: a 17 year old ex-gang member who now supports the Boys and Girls Clubs, kids that started school clubs to help develop their small rural towns and other kids that share my experience in going into poorer countries to build shelters or work with children.  Through these encounters I learned the hard work and tools it takes to get the message out.  In the afternoon I went to the White House where several of President Obama's advisers on foreign aid and US development gave the administrations' vision of what could be done to help children worldwide and how advocacy can help.  One of the most exciting moments of the day was in the evening when I attended the Board of Trustees cocktail party, because I got to meet Vice-President Joe Biden!!

On Thursday, I spoke as part of the Youth Advocating for Youth Panel.  My mom filmed the panel discussion, but unfortunately she had her hand over the microphone so I have pictures but no sound.  I spoke in front of over 300 people and shared my opinions based on my experiences about how a 14 year old can help others.  In the afternoon, I went with a group to the Capitol to meet with three House of Representative staffers (all representing Legislators from the state of New York) to discuss why the Legislators should support setting up a National Commission on Children and also why they should co-sponsor H.RES 135 supporting frontline health workers worldwide.  

The Summit was two full days worth of learning and action.  It helped me realize that we all need to advocate for change.  It taught me how small actions can make a big difference in children's lives. I learned so much, and had an absolutely incredible experience!  

I just want to thank you again for your support for my trip to Mozambique.  While I have learned so much from the entire Save the Children experience, the most important thing is that I've seen how the money you donated is working to help children in need worldwide.  Thank you!

Sincerely,

Morganne

Morganne’s Thank You for trip to Mozambique

Dear Sponsors,

I wanted to follow-up with you on my trip to the Save the Children Advocacy Summit in Washington in April. (I am sorry that this is so late.) 

Momo CapOn Wednesday, I spent the day in the Youth Summit, where we learned how to advocate, kinds of messages to use and how our voices as children advocating for children are so important. There, I met, while working in groups, a lot of very interesting people: a 17 year old ex-gang member who now supports the Boys and Girls Clubs, kids that started school clubs to help develop their small rural towns and other kids that share my experience in going into poorer countries to build shelters or work with children.  Through these encounters I learned the hard work and tools it takes to get the message out.  In the afternoon I went to the White House where several of President Obama's advisers on foreign aid and US development gave the administrations' vision of what could be done to help children worldwide and how advocacy can help.  One of the most exciting moments of the day was in the evening when I attended the Board of Trustees cocktail party, because I got to meet Vice-President Joe Biden!!

On Thursday, I spoke as part of the Youth Advocating for Youth Panel.  My mom filmed the panel discussion, but unfortunately she had her hand over the microphone so I have pictures but no sound.  I spoke in front of over 300 people and shared my opinions based on my experiences about how a 14 year old can help others.  In the afternoon, I went with a group to the Capitol to meet with three House of Representative staffers (all representing Legislators from the state of New York) to discuss why the Legislators should support setting up a National Commission on Children and also why they should co-sponsor H.RES 135 supporting frontline health workers worldwide.  

The Summit was two full days worth of learning and action.  It helped me realize that we all need to advocate for change.  It taught me how small actions can make a big difference in children's lives. I learned so much, and had an absolutely incredible experience!  

I just want to thank you again for your support for my trip to Mozambique.  While I have learned so much from the entire Save the Children experience, the most important thing is that I've seen how the money you donated is working to help children in need worldwide.  Thank you!

Sincerely,

Morganne

In Iraq, the Unseen Refugees of the Syria Crisis



Francine-blog-headFrancine Uenuma, Director Media Relations and
Communications

Domiz, Iraq

June 2013



Children are everywhere in Domiz camp, a hot patch of land
near the Syrian border in northern Iraq where more than 40,000 people eke out
their existence in a space designed for only a quarter of that number. We saw
them before we even arrived, running alongside our car, selling gum, trying to
earn a little money.

This crowded camp, which is where many families have taken
refuge from the violence that has wreaked havoc on homes, livelihoods and lives
in Syria, is now where many families find themselves in limbo – unable to
return to Syria, trying to find odd jobs and pass the weeks and months. The
Kurdistan Regional Government manages the camp, which has schools and a small
medical clinic, but the number of refugees strains those resources and many
live in flimsy plastic tarps that blow over when a windstorm comes through.
There are mounds of garbage, and sewage runs down walkways in between the
makeshift dwellings.

RS37631_1076102-Stop-the-Killing-Photo
Sebastian Meyer/Getty Images for Save the Children
It’s hard for me to imagine the shock those who dwell here
have experienced – leaving their homes, jobs, communities and schools – and
beginning a new life of uncertainty and daily hardship. That is reality for 1.5
million Syrians, a number that is hard to fathom when you speak to just one
family and hear what have been through. And what is most difficult to grasp is
that these families are – in a relative sense – the fortunate ones, with
millions more inside Syria subject to violence, food shortages and a medical
and educational infrastructure that has become unrecognizable in more than two
years of fighting.

On the day of our visit, Aras, a father of six children, is
out in the midday sun trying to rebuild the tent where he and his wife and 6
children live. Two of them are in the hospital, he says, so we meet Rebaz*, 5,
Govand, 4, Harem 3, and little Shalha, 1. Health problems – rashes, diarrhea –
are a problem here, and expected to worsen as the summer months grow more
unrelentingly hot. We go inside their tent, where the boys play amidst the pots
and pans and cans that make up a small makeshift kitchen in one corner.

The children who live in tents nearby are curious – as we take
photos we show them their images on our phones and camera. Several boys pose
repeatedly, smiling proudly at each new image of themselves, or with their
friends or siblings.

Aras tells us the tent they now call home was damaged in a strong
windstorm that completely wiped out nearby  families’ homes. His is still
standing, but many families have had to rely on the good graces of others as
they wait for a replacement tent, their dwellings reduced to a pile of plastic
by the strong winds.

Several people gather to talk to us, one man emphatically
says what he needs for his family – “no car, no money, just home — one home!”

Before leaving we walk through rows of tents of the newer
arrivals – those who came later to a camp built originally for only 10,000. We
meet two-month-old baby Banaz*, who was born one month
before her family fled the violence in Syria, completing the last leg of their
journey into Iraq on foot with what belongings they could carry. They don’t
know what the future holds for them – right now life is about the day to day,
trying to find work, cleaning and maintaining their small sliver of space, and
raising their small infant and two-year-old daughter in a world of painful
unknowns.

 

*Names have been changed for privacy

 

How You Can Help

Your gift to Save the Children’s Syria Children in Crisis Fund
will help provide immediate and on-going support to displaced Syrian children
and their family members in refugee camps throughout the region. Your funds
will help us provide comprehensive relief to these families that includes
shelter, health, child protection and educational needs.  Donate Here.

What Becomes of a Save the Children Formerly Sponsored Child When they Grow Up?



Fidelia Condarco Photo

Fidelia Condarco, Sponsorship Assistant

Oruro, Bolivia

June 2013



Sandra Veronica Velasquez Layme is one of the many success stories of former sponsored children who are now adults and have broken the poverty cycle.

Sandra Veronica Velasquez Layme at home

A sponsored child from Francisco Fajardo School in Oruro, Sandra participated in Save the Children sponsorship program from when she was young. She was part of the School Health and Nutrition program and, in 7th grade, became part of the adolescent program "Making Decisions." We interviewed her about the impact of sponsorship programs.

How did the Sponsorship program help you?
After many years, Sandra said, she finally understood the benefit of receiving Ferrous sulfate and vitamin A, which helped her in school and in her development. She also mentioned that her participation in our Dance Festivals helped her be more sociable with classmates.

What obstacles did you overcome?
With the help of our programs, Sandra overcame her shyness and started to think differently. At first, she felt uncomfortable, but later on, she enjoyed sharing with other teens and started improving her social skills and making friends. This prepared her to make decisions in a thoughtful way. She also told us she used to have difficulties speaking with her parents, but Save the Children helped her overcome this problem, and she now enjoys a strong relationship.

Sandra became a facilitator for the program and, finally, a mentor, growth that "clearly marked my life." Sandra Veronica Velasquez Layme portraitShe also was part of our Youth Zones program at the Yugoslavian Health Center. Today, Sandra is president of a children and adolescent organization called Q’ANRRAYKU (¨thinking of you¨ in quechua), which she says started thanks to Save the Children and the potential of teens in the Making Decisions program. 

What does she do for a living?
Sandra decided to teach because she wanted to share her knowledge with other children. She graduated in 2010 and became a psychology and philosophy teacher. Now, she’s studying to finish a pedagogy major and also to become a public accountant.

Says Sandra, "Save the Children helped me a lot – helped me to dream, to fly and to establish goals. Today, I am a confident, determined, professional and able to contribute to positively change my society. Save the Children, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to be part of you and to grow so much."

 

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Why I Love the Reading Camp



Anonymous man

Rhea N.,Sponsored Child

Philippines Barangay 177, Caloocan City

June 07, 2013

Rhea is a 3rd grade student from our partner school in the City of Caloocan. This was the speech she gave during an event held in February 2013 to mark the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement by Save the Children, the City’s Department of Education Division Office, and the Local Government Unit to formalize the implementation of the Sponsorship-funded Literacy Boost; the Reading Camp is one of the many activities designed to improve children’s literacy.

PHCO Rhea and her brother Rhen Rhen love to read. Here they are skimming through the pages of the new books given by Save the Children

Good afternoon! 

My name is Rhea, a grade three student. Every Saturday, at three in the afternoon, my brother Rhen-Rhen who is in grade one, and I rush over to our day care to attend the Reading Camp. In the Reading Camp, there are older kids, an Ate and a Kuya, who read stories to us. There are other children like us too and, like them, my brother and I are very happy listening to the different stories! After the storytelling, Ate and Kuya ask us questions about the story they read to us. We also get to play, and we make artworks and crafts that we get to keep and play with at home.

I love going to the Reading Camp because my friends are there. Being with them makes me happy, especially when we read wonderful and funny stories together. PHCO Rhea delivering her speech at the MOA Signing between SC LVPO and DepEd Caloocan 2.6.2013I learned a lot from the Reading Camp and I hope more children will get the chance to attend camps like this.

On behalf of my fellow students, I would like to say thank you to the officials of our Barangay, led by Captain Donna Jarito, to the Department of Education of Caloocan, to our school and to Save the Children for giving us the chance to join this program.

Thank you!

Note:

"Ate" and "Kuya" are Filipino terms used as a sign of respect for an older relative, such as a sibling or a cousin. It may also be used for friends or even strangers. "Ate" is used for females, while "Kuya" refers to males.

The Barangay is the smallest administrative unit in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village or community.

 

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