New Boots Bring Hope in Jordan

The kindergarten inside the Za’atari camp in Jordan is a little island of happiness inside a place that is full of tragedy. Here, 3-5 year-old Syrian children living in the huge camp are able to come three times per week in the morning or afternoon to have fun, build social skills and start learning. The brightly colored space, the simple toys, the dedicated young teachers all serve as a respite from the tough, grinding life these children have been living for months or even years in the camp. On my recent visit to Za’atari, the kids got something else too. New winter boots, specially made and provided to Save the Children by TOMS Shoes, were distributed to 9,000 children. As you can see from this video, the reactions were truly wonderful to see.

 

TOMS is pretty unique among our partners. Many have not supported our efforts for Syria due to fears of political issues within the conflict or lack of focus on the Middle East. But TOMS entire business model is built on the idea that for each pair of shoes purchased, a pair of appropriate shoes will be given to someone who needs them—the company has now given away more than 10 million pairs of shoes worldwide. You won’t find the rubber boots we gave out in Za’atari camp at any shoe store in the U.S.

What is it like when a sponsored child receives a letter from their sponsor?

Patrick Sylvestre, Impact Area Sponsorship Coordinator

 Patrick Sylvestre, Sponsorship Coordinator

Dessalines, Haiti

January 27, 2014

Many sponsors confess they feel nervous when writing for the first time to their sponsored child. However, letters and pictures from sponsors have a special impact on children. Teachers report children spend weeks discussing what their sponsors write. At home, some children choose a secret place to save the letters and pictures so little brothers or sisters will not destroy them. These pieces of paper become a treasure.

 

Here are some reactions we’ve collected from the field.

 

Borguedy-7 years old-writing back to his sponsorBorguedy, age 7: “I was very happy when I received my first email from my sponsor a while back. At first, I was sad seeing other kids receiving letters and not me. So, when Priscille (the sponsorship agent) called my name that day in class I was really, really excited. It is so cool to have a friend from very far.”

 

 

 

Weslencia-6 years old-received a postcard from her sponsorWeslancia, age 6: “I was so happy when I got my first postcard from my sponsor a long time ago and again when I received an email. I am going to keep them in my schoolbag so they will not get dirty. I am happy I have a friend from another country.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nedline-11 years old-replaying to her sponsor letterNedline, age 11: “It is nice to have a friend living faraway… I received first a postcard, then a long letter with lots of information from my sponsor. I took them to school to show my friends and the way they were looking at me made me feel very special. I am thankful to have someone that doesn’t even know me to care about me.”

 

 

 

 

Celinecia Chama-7 years old-making a drawing for her sponsorCelinecia-Chama, age 7: “I was thrilled when I receive my sponsor’s email. She told me all about her life and family. I will draw a nice picture for her. I will keep my letter in my pillowcase.”

 

 

As we look forward to your letters, we would like to remind you that you are building a relationship. Be simple and remember, you are writing to a child who sees you as a friend. On behalf of the children in our programs, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 

Kumro Bori – Sun dried small pulse dumplings

Tahmina Haider, Sponsorship Manager

 Tahmina Haider, Sponsorship Manager

Bangladesh

January 20, 2014

Food tells a lot about the culture of a people and place. In Meherpur, one scene is common from the beginning of winter until the end of spring – women busy preparing a traditional item called Kumro Bori. Using various kinds of fish, potato and other common vegetables, they prepare delicious curry, which is served with plain rice.

  Curry

To prepare the Bori necessary ingredients are pulse/grain legumes (Mash Kolai dal), white pumpkin (Chaal Kumro), water, salt etc. The housewives are competitive about preparing Kumro Bori. They prepare as much as they can keep in stock for use throughout the year.

 

Bori-making is a laborious process. Pulses are soaked in water the night before so their skin comes off easily. The soaked pulses are pestled to dough and mixed with grated, smashed white pumpkin, water and salt proportionately to achieve the sticky texture required. After completing this process, boris are prepared and dried on clean, rough cloth or bamboo sheets in the sun. It takes three to four days to make those usable.

 

Recipe: Fish curry with Bori (Bori Diye Machher Jhol)

 

Legumes (Daaler Bori/Hinger Bori)………..10 pieces            

Fish (Rui/Kaatla/aar)………………………………10 pieces

Nigella Seeds (Kalo Jeera)………………………..1 pinch

Eggplant (Brinjal) ……………………………………1 medium-sized

Potato (Aloo)…………………………………………. 2 medium-sized

Red Chili Paste…………………………………………½  tsp

Turmeric Powder…………………………………….  1 ½ tsp

Mustard Oil……………………………………………..4-6 tbsp, to taste

Green Chili………………………………………………4, halved

Salt…………………………………………………………..to taste

 

Preparation

  • Heat the mustard oil in a deep pan and fry the fish pieces. Put aside.
  • In the same oil, add the legumes, fry until golden and remove from the oil.
  • Add the nigella seeds, chili paste, turmeric paste and salt. Stir fry all well
  • Next add the vegetables (potato and eggplant cut into pieces lengthwise) and fry along with the spices until reddish in color.
  • Add a few tablespoons of hot water, cover and cook until the vegetables soften. Then remove cover and add the fish pieces, green chilies and the legumes. Add enough hot water to the pan to make a sauce and boil as needed.
  • Serve over plain steamed rice.

Preparing Kumro Bori on the roof of  a house

Sponsorship Staff working in Egypt

Blog Post_Mariem Felly_IMG

 Mariem Felly, Sponsorship Assistant

Egypt

January 13, 2013

I joined Save the Children as a sponsorship assistant 6 months ago and am enjoying working in the field I love most!

 

Helps a girl to write a message to her sponsorI usually go to the impact area of Abnoub every day to follow up on the correspondence between sponsors and children. On the way to Abnoub, I pass by the famous basil farms and smell the amazing aroma of the basil, which farmers spread out on the sides of the road to be sun dried.

 

During one of my visits to Abnoub, one of the girls in the sponsorship program said she wanted to tell me a secret. I bent down and listened, and she asked me to do her a favor. She needed my help to make up with her friend who she had annoyed and wanted to tell she was sorry. It is so touching to see children having pure feelings for each other.

 

When I asked this little girl about her Save the Children sponsor, her face lit up and she said, “Julia is my friend and she sends me letters. I love to write back to her because she sends me special things, and she tells me stories in her letters.”

 

I have found that correspondence strengthens the relations between sponsors and children, providing knowledge and motivating children to learn. I asked this girl, “What is the special thing you want to write to your sponsor?” Her reply was amazing. She said, “I will learn English and will write the letters myself in her language.” This is how correspondence encourages children to learn and develop their skills.

 Interview with primary school students

After having a long talk with this child, I learned that children are like basil. You smell their wonderful aroma when you are on your way to support them.