Jordan: ”Taking pictures allowed him to see beautiful things in the camp”



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

Jordan

September 2013


Home to 130,000 people and
counting, Za’atari refugee camp is a massive, sprawling sea of tents, “caravan”
like structures serving as home, all of it blanketed in a thick coat of dust.
It’s hard to distinguish one row from another, but dotting the landscape are a
few playgrounds, brightly painted murals on the side of child-friendly spaces, kindergartens,
and a soccer pitch where teenage boys can break from daily life in the camp –
especially rough for the teens and children here who find themselves at loose
ends – for a series of drills from instructors.

One of these safe spaces is Save the Children’s multi-activity
center for teen girls, where they are learning a series of skills from language
lessons to making crafts. Today they are making soap – a mountain of glycerine,
olive oil, a propane burner, gloves covered in dyes. Saba*, 16, tells us, “when
I go back to Syria, I will teach other girls this and maybe start my own
business.”

In another room, photojournalist Agnes Montanari, who is a
consultant with Save the Children, is listening intently to a radio broadcast.
The reporter behind it is a teenager, who has gone out into the camp and
interviewed two families about a problem they are having with their sewage. The
trucks don’t come by often enough, they tell her, so they have had to dig holes
and dispose of it. They are concerned that their children may fall in, about
the health concerns this poses. The reporter then follows up with staff from an
organization at the camp that helps with disposal of sewage, including the
interview in her broadcast.

Agnes_mon_syria

It’s a refreshing sight – a story that’s been told about
refugees many times, this time being reported by a young refugee. Montanari has
a similar project for photography, where teens can take photos to document
their experiences and environment. She says she came here hoping to help teens
find a new perspective – helping them tell their own story and shaping the
narrative around their experience.

“Using a camera is like having new eyes to see everyday
things in a different way. Instead of being victims, they become actors again.
One of my students, at the end of the first three months said that taking
pictures had allowed him to see beautiful things in the camp,” she says.  “The other important aspect of the class…was
allowing the students to express themselves, not only to talk about their life
in Syria but also about their hopes and dreams, and becoming a photographer, a
photojournalist has become, for some of them, a goal.”

She says learning these skills has also helped them to
become more focused and better articulate their thoughts.

It’s critically important to maintain these spaces within
Za’atari – to give children and teens a safe and comfortable environment to
learn skills, make new friends, and find new ways to cope with the new future
they now face.

 

Read Save the Children's report Hunger in a War Zone

Donate to help Syria's Children

 

Unforgettable Evening after the Colorado Flood




Anonymous

Karen Colville, Education Specialist

Save the Children USA

September 27, 2013

 

There were many success stories that occurred this week during the Colorado Flood response, but I didn’t think anything could top the Family Fun Night event that we threw at the Greeley Recreation Center for the shelter victims. In less than 12 hours, Save the Children teamed up with the American Red Cross and coordinated a spectacular event for the families staying at the shelter. I am truly still in shock at the amount of excitement and momentum that we generated so quickly. Everyone was on board and focused on making this night one unforgettable evening.

 

The flurry of events that occurred rapidly in a just one day was a true testimony at what can be accomplished when we partner with other organizations for a common goal. Once receiving the “go ahead,” we were able to line up a team of 15 AmeriCorps volunteers to deploy and help out, enlist the Salvation Army to feed the families, create and print posters and flyers to distribute, and receive numerous donations from local organizations who believed in our cause. Bags of face paint, game prizes, bouncy castles – (yes there were two donated for the night) cotton candy and popcorn machines, and a friendship bracelets company were the featured headliners for the big night. What compelled us to want to create and throw a huge carnival type event in under 24 hours?

 

That’s easy to answer…it was because of the families we had worked with all week. We simply wanted to give them a night to laugh, to play, to rejuvenate their spirit… and to forget. To forget that they were sleeping in a large gym amongst strangers on cots and pillows that didn’t smell like home. To forget that for so many of them, they had no home to return too, nor anyone they knew locally to stay with. To forget, if only for a few hours, that this shelter, their temporary home, might soon close. Yes, an evening to forget – but also an evening to remember, celebrate and give thanks for family, friends and life.

 

The gym itself was a whirlwind of activity! We kicked it off by having all the families enter the gym and sit on the bleachers, and then in Olympic style fashion, ran their children, homemade torch and all, into the gym and complete a lap around a track. The energy and excitement was felt and shared (by all) as the families competed in a friendly relay race, played and jumped in bouncy houses, and then took turns playing a variety of carnival games we had created. The evening concluded with one of our staff volunteers playing the guitar and everyone, and I do mean everyone singing favorite children’s songs. It was truly a magical and beautiful evening. The family fun night that we made happen in less than 24 hours was pretty unbelievable and I honestly didn’t think anything could top it.

 

But believe it or not, the most memorable moment for me night wasn’t the relay race, where parents cheered on their kids and ran along with them, nor was it the bouncy castles that both children and adults enjoyed. Not watching the volunteer arts club from a local university who attended the event to create Paracord survival bracelets with the children or seeing all their smiling faces as they ran around covered with face paint and glitter. It wasn’t the amazing AmeriCorps volunteers happily spinning the cotton candy onto the sticks or singing and dancing as I lead everyone in the ‘Tooty- Ta’ song. The evening indeed was truly magical and filled with many beautiful and memorable moments. But for me, the one I will never forget occurred long after the Family Fun Night had ended. It was the moment when we gave flood victim, Tonie, a pack –n-play for her son, Josiah.

 

We met Tonie when we opened a Child-Friendly Space at the shelter. She had been staying there for 8 days along with her 4 year old daughter, 18 month son and was 6 months pregnant with her fourth child. She literally has lost everything and to make matters worse, just days before the flood, her husband was deported, leaving her to care for the children alone. I cannot even begin to imagine the heartache, loss and despair she must be feeling. Yet if you met Tonie, you would never know how hard things must be for her right now.

 

During the entire time I worked at the shelter, I never once saw her without a smile on her face and hope in her eyes. She exuded joy, and love everywhere she went and continued to be a bright light for all in the shelter, even amidst the devastation. Her excitement and enthusiasm was contagious and her love for friends, family and life could be felt from both her and her beautiful children. Her babies brought such joy into our staff life’s…we will never forget them. Josiah and Janie…vibrant, hilariously funny, a love for song and dance, they were always full of love and joy…just like their mother.

 

When we learned that she had been strapping her baby in a stroller to sleep at night and because he would sleep walk and she feared losing him, we acted quickly. There are few words to express what it meant to see the expression on her face. With tears running down her cheeks, much like the tears that are flowing from my own eyes as I type this…she expressed her gratitude for Josiah now having a safe place to sleep As she thanked us over and over again, I couldn’t help but think that it should be me thanking her. For teaching me that even in the most difficult of times to still believe in the goodness of others. That there can still be laughter, and that a smile goes along way. I am honored to have met her and her children, and can honestly say that Tonie’s story’ is the one moment I will never forget.

Jordan: “We get to be happy”



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

Jordan

September 2013


Since Syrians began fleeing their homes two and a half years
ago, we have seen countless images of large camps, tents comprising our images
of families forced to flee their homes in Syria. But here in Jordan – home to
the largest of these camps, Za’atari, which has 130,000 people – many more are
urban refugees, scattered in host communities and struggling to get the
services they need.

We recently visited a child-friendly space in Amman, where
Save the Children is connecting with this hard-to-reach segment of the refugee
population. We saw a bright, cheerful space tucked into a neighborhood in the
older eastern part of the city, where children have adorned the walls with
drawings and crafts. In this room 29 children – and 3 adults, comprised of Save
the Children staff and Syrian volunteers – help children express themselves and
play in a non-threatening environment.

 

Shireena_Francine_blog_Jordan_Spet_2013We spoke to to 10-year-old Shireena*, who is in Amman with
her mother and siblings. Her father has been missing for more than a year.
Shireena has been out of school for two years, and like many children who are
unable to attend school, the child-friendly space is her only structured
activity. “We get to be happy,” she says. “We draw and we play…we sing and tell
stories.” Despite being unable to attend school, she tells us she wants to grow
up to be a doctor because “if something happens to you or someone close to you,
you can help them.”

 

As we prepare to leave, the teacher tells us someone wants
to speak to us. Zeina*, 8, is shy and quiet – she speaks so softly we can
barely hear her. The first thing she says is that she is worried about her
father. She saw him after he was shot in both legs and crippled – a horrifying
image for anyone, much less a child, to witness. “I’m very concerned for my
father because we often can’t reach him,” she says, her expression conveying
the sadness and worry that she carries with her. Here at the child-friendly
space, she likes to draw her old neighborhood, to be able to express her
memories of a home she still misses.

Reaching children like Shireena and Zeina  – as well as their families (the center also
holds sessions for parents and helps connect them to much-needed services) – is
Save the Children’s priority in this crisis, and critically important in urban
areas like this. Buses provide transportation, as many parents cannot afford
it, and bring children to the center. Parents have told teachers that they see
a positive change in their children’s behavior – less aggression, more
friendliness – as a result of their time here.

 

Despite the
encouraging signs from this child-friendly space, the number of children spread
across cities who do not have access to programs like this is too high. Like
Shireena and Zeina, those children need support and assistance to cope with the
new reality of their childhoods.


Shireena_drawing_Francine_blog_Jordan_Sept_2013

 

Read Save the Children’s report Hunger in a War Zone

Donate to help Syria’s Children

 

Cash for Work: A Lifeline for Syrian Refugees



Carter_blog_Syria_headshot

Cat Carter, Head of Humanitarian Information & Communications

Save the Children UK

September 24, 2013


Father of three Ahmad grins at
me from inside his tent. It’s a wide, toothy grin and I’m immediately charmed.
We shake hands and he invites us inside, settling us down on the floor with a
blanket before insisting we take coffee. It’s Ramadan, and I’m keenly aware that
it must be hard for fasting Muslims to watch as others drink (those observing
Ramadan don’t eat or drink anything all day, until sundown), but he insists and
eventually simply brings out a pot of coffee and pours it for us. He sits down
to explain why they eventually left Syria, after more than two years of
conflict.

“We
were surviving only day-to-day, and if I missed even one day of working because
of the fighting, I could not afford the food for my family. And that is what
happened in the end, the fighting meant we could not work, and food was too
expensive. We borrowed some money to pay for a little food, but that soon ran
out. We could not afford to survive – there was no life for us left in Syria.”

Ahmad
pauses for a moment, remembering Syria. We wait silently, sipping our hot,
strong coffee.

He
looks at his children and continues softly “it is the worst feeling as a
father, being unable to give your children food – worse even than the bullets
and shells.”

 

Carter_blog_Syria

Now
in Lebanon, it’s still a struggle, but things are a little better for Ahmad.
He’s been working with Save the Children’s Cash for Work programme, which
involved him cleaning up the camp. He was paid in cash (better than payment
with food vouchers because it gives the family the option to buy exactly what
they need). He used the cash for water and food for the whole family, and tells
me it lasted a long time. His gratitude is evident, but I’m embarrassed to
receive it – as a compromise I promise to pass on the thanks to the Save the
Children Cash for Work team responsible for setting up the project.

 

We
talk more generally about the situation in Syria, and what Ahmad thinks will
happen next. Working in the field, you’re often told to avoid contentious
topics like politics and religion.. But Ahmad isn’t interested in siding with
the opposition or the government.

 

He
shakes his head sadly at me and tell me that this whole war “is a war on
children – food, water, shells – they all kill the children first”. He tells me
that he just wants peace, so he can take his children home. 

 

Read Save the Children's report Hunger in a War Zone

Donate to help Syria's Children

Put the Frontline Health Worker Into the Post-2015 Framework

This post previously appeared in the Huffington Post and on the Skoll World Forum.

 

As world leaders gather this week to discuss the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Framework, no subject of conversation will be more important than the need for more frontline health care workers. In the last two decades, the world has made tremendous progress in reducing child and maternal mortality, due in no small part to the contributions of the local health worker delivering lifesaving care. Millions of people in impoverished countries are alive today because a midwife was by their side when they gave birth, or they were vaccinated as infants by a nurse, or because their families learned from a community health worker to adopt healthy behaviors like breastfeeding, hand washing, birth spacing, and sleeping under a mosquito net.

 

I saw the lifesaving power of local health workers first-hand last month when I visited Save the Children’s programs in Pakistan, a country with some of the worst health indicators on the planet. According to our latest State of the World’s Mothers report, the lifetime risk of maternal death–the probability that a 15 year old woman will eventually die from a maternal cause–is 1 in 110 in Pakistan. Compare this to the United States, where it’s 1 in 2,400 and you see my point. Pakistan’s children aren’t any better than their moms. For every 1,000 children born, 72 of them will die before they reach the pivotal age of five, more than ten times the rate of their American counterparts.

 

But as harrowing as these statistics are, you would never know it from visiting the maternal and child health clinic in Haripur district. It is one of the most impressive facilities I have seen anywhere in the world at the primary care, or village, level. The spotlessly clean unit is staffed by two female doctors and several nursing staff as well as a pharmacist–all health care workers. A warehouse stocked with supplies is available on-site and the facility provides services 24/7 as needed. Women come here for prenatal visits, for family planning counseling and products, and to give birth in a simple, clean and safe facility with excellent care. Three women were in labor the day I visited and when I saw the care they received, I knew I would have felt comfortable having one of my own children there.

 

Unfortunately, not everyone in Pakistan–or the rest of the world for that matter–is as lucky to have a health worker in such close proximity. By some estimates, there is a shortage of at least 1 million frontline health workers in the developing world. And many existing health workers are not trained, equipped and supported to deliver basic lifesaving care close to the community. The consequence of failing to close this gap is grave. Every 3 seconds, a child’s death is prevented thanks to care provided by a frontline health worker. When a health worker is not accessible, the situation is, predictably, far less rosy.

 

The challenge for all of us in the business of saving mothers’ and children’s lives is to ensure that every person, no matter where they live in the world, is within reach of a health worker. We can–and should–start at the UN General Assembly, and continue the drumbeat at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Recife, Brazil in November. But, it will take more than a few high-level meetings to make this a reality. That’s why Save the Children, in partnership with the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, created The REAL Awards, a first-of-its-kind, annual global awards platform designed to develop greater respect and appreciation for the lifesaving care that health workers provide in the U.S. and around the world. Anyone can take a few moments to nominate an inspiring health worker and help spread the word about the countless unsung heroes who go above and beyond the call of duty. It will make a REAL difference.

#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.

 

R13-GT___197_123731

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
.

 

How One Sponsor’s Words Colored a Little Girl’s Dreams




Pailyn Tan

Pailyn E. Tan, Sponsorship Assistant

South Central Mindanao Program OfficePhilippines

September 12, 2013


 

It
all began with her first letter to her sponsor. Gazelle, with a few crayons she
borrowed from a classmate, drew a simple picture on the back of her stationery
and carefully handed it to a Save the Children staff member. In school, she didn’t
draw or participate much in art classes because she felt she was not as good as
her classmates who excel in drawing. “They were so good and I was not, I
think,” she recalled.

IMG_7036Months
later, a response from her sponsor came. At that time, she could not understand
English yet, so she asked her teacher to translate the letter.

“You
are such a good artist. I hope you will send me more of your drawings,” the
letter said. Gazelle kept that letter for days before she finally replied. “I
thought of what to draw for her. I wanted it to be special. It made me happy
that she liked my work, so I wanted her to like my drawings more.”

When
the next letter came, she got more words of appreciation and encouragement. The
letter said her sponsor, Sandy, had put Gazelle’s drawing in a frame and
displayed it in her house. That made Gazellle so happy – her sponsor was the
first person to appreciate her work. She brought the letter home and kept in
under her pillow. Then, her mother found the letter and asked her about the
drawings. “My parents didn’t know that I can draw. And besides I didn’t own
crayons. Our money then was just enough for our basic needs,” Gazelle says.

To
win a most coveted art set and continue to draw for her friend from a faraway
land, Gazelle bravely joined a drawing competition in her school, which was hosted
by Save the Children. Her teachers and schoolmates eyed her with scepticism on
competition day because they thought she couldn’t possibly win. But armed with
determination, inspired by her sponsor’s encouraging words – and the desire for
that art set – she shrugged off their stares, and she won!
IMG_7041

“My
first thought when I opened the pink box was that I could draw more beautiful
pictures for Sandy,” she smiled. And that’s what she did. The first time she
used her set was to draw pictures for her sponsor. For two years now, she has
been drawing wonderful pictures. Sandy’s letters, telling her that she enjoys
her drawings, never fail to make Gazelle happy. “Her words encourage me to
improve my skills,” she smiles. “I give back by drawing beautiful pictures for
her.” 

The Decision to Escape Syria


Anonymous man

Hedinn Halldorsson, Emergency Communication Manager

Jordan

September 11, 2013



Two reasons. That is what most of the refugees give me
when I ask them why they decided to flee and take on a perilous journey. One, security
and the simple fear for their lives and their families. Secondly, Syria is a
country in ruins. With its eroded infrastructure, simply getting by, finding
water and bread, has become nearly impossible for many.

DS7A5834 copy

Photo Credit: Save the Children/Hedinn Halldorsson

So in the end, the refugees don't have a choice. That's
the calculus. A question of life and death. They risk their lives by staying,
and they risk their lives by fleeing and embarking on a long journey, with no specific
destination other than “safety.” "We walked during the night and slept in
the daytime", says a pregnant mother of three who walked 60 miles in 5
days. "I was so afraid someone would attack us from the bushes".

The option of fleeing, if everything goes well, offers
refuge a distant light at the end of tunnel. That is why one in three Syrians
is now on the run, either internally displaced within the Syrian borders or in
a neighboring country, having left everything they once knew and loved.

There is no sign of the violence to cease, on the
contrary. And those bearing the brunt are ordinary people. The needs are
biggest in the plagued country itself, where humanitarian access is greatly
limited. Nonetheless, Save the Children has, since the onset of the crisis,
more than 900 days ago, reached hundreds of thousands in Syria, under extremely
difficult conditions.

Save the Children has for months demanded unhindered
humanitarian access, something we don't have today. Operating without
limitations in Syria would mean that we could reach those most in need. And
secondly, the burden of Syria's neighboring countries, already hosting more
than two million refugees, could be eased.

Syria has become the great tragedy of this century,
says the head of the UNHCR, "with suffering and displacement unparalleled
in recent history". According to the UN, the fighting has been so intense
that the number of refugees has risen tenfold in a single year.

When you know how enormous the needs are and how dire
the situation of millions of people are as these lines are being typed, it is
difficult to get your head around the fact that the emergency response of an
organization like Save the Children, whose simple aim is to meet basic needs of
children and ensure they stay alive, is only 40% funded.

Some months ago, Jordan had the biggest numbers of
refugees, but today it is Lebanon. One in ten inhabitants of Jordan are Syrian,
one in five inhabitants of Lebanon. Most of the two million people that have
sought refuge and safety and neighboring countries live in ramshackle homes,
temporary shelters, vacant housing.

The demographics of the region have changed for good,
on such an epic scale that no one could have predicted. And what is worrying,
is that the exodus is bound to grow in coming days.

Numbers have a tendency of losing their power the
bigger they get. That is the case of more than one million Syrian children that
have fled to a neighboring country. One million of them, in a dire need of
humanitarian assistance. I've met Aya, aged seven, who said she would dance
when there was shooting outside, "Cause I don't like to be afraid",
she explains.

No one says it, during my interviews with the refugees,
but many do realize that it could be months and years before they will be able
to return to a country that was once called Syria. And those I talk to, are in
different stages of grieving everything they have lost and left behind and
might never see again. Family, home, a country. The conflict has unleashed an unimaginable
tide of suffering, and continues to do so.

Click here to donate to help Syrian children

 

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.

 

2013-09-07-Sita.JPG
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

Malawi Local Cuisine: Therere (Okra)










Nomsa Mkandawire

Nomsa
Mkandawire, Communications Officer

Malawi

September 6, 2013


Therere (Okra)
is one of the easily available types of relish accessed by families in various
villages across Malawi. It is a local delicacy that is cherished by many. Most
men and women who live in the urban areas find themselves eating outside their homes
in search of this treat.

 

DSC_0735Therere
is normally eaten with Nsima/hard porridge (a staple food made from maize
flour). Usually, it is taken with no other relish.

 

The kind
of therere we are talking about here is one referred to in the local language
as Lokupa (sticky). To cook therere lokupa, the following are needed.

 

  • Pumpkin
    leaves (almost a basin full when not cut)
  • Bicarbonate
    soda/Baking soda (¼ teaspoon)
  • Salt
    (¼ teaspoon)
  • Tomato
    (2 large)
  • Okra
    (¼ basin)

 

Method

Thoroughly
clean the pumpkin leaves, making sure all unwanted particles are removed. There
may be some sand and other particles as the pumpkin leaves are directly taken
from the home garden.  Carefully cut the
Okra in even pieces small enought to make them easy to
cook. Clean the tomato and cut well.

 

Put water
(about ¼ of a cup) in a pot, add the salt and boil for about 3 minutes. Add the
bicarbonate soda, the Okra and pumpkin leaves and let them boil for 3 minutes
also, then add the tomato and keep stirring until all is mixed and cooked. This
should take less than 10 minutes.

 

Serve
with Nsima and enjoy Malawi’s delicacy!