Sharing Her Dream

Agnes Zalila, Sponsorship Manager

Agnes Zalila

Lufwanyama, Zambia

February 2014


Her name is Clara and she is 29 years old. We met her at an Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) center at Chibanga in St Joseph. She is small-bodied and articulate.

Clara’s schooling came to an abrupt end in 2002 when her parents died suddenly. Poor and alone, she was desperate. Then, in 2003, she married an ambitious young man who had a big heart and big dreams.

His first step after their wedding was to enroll her in school. Today, she is about to write her Grade Nine examinations.

Clara’s story might have ended there. However, she felt she needed to find a way to inspire children who may be in the same situation as herself. That’s why she is an ECCD volunteer teacher who, though penniless, says she intends to become a qualified teacher and, one day, to be on the government payroll. 

ClaraClara is among the 48 volunteer ECCD caregivers/ teachers who have partnered with Save the Children and the Ministry of Education in Lufwanyama to promote quality education and development through the sponsorship-funded ECCD centers. She was given ECCD caregiver training and continues to receive refreshers to update her on new methodologies.

Meanwhile, Save the Children is supporting her in completing her own education. Her husband continues to help too. Early in the year, when their baby was a few months old and Clara had to help at the center, her loving husband escorted her and would babysit while she worked.

Clara is a role model of what determination can help you achieve. She intends to teach in rural Chibanga where she is already becoming a legend – and an inspiration to the children.


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

No Birth Should Be Left Up to Chance

This blog first appeared in the Huffington Post


Giving birth ranks among the scariest moments for any mother. It certainly was for me. I was living in Hong Kong at the time when my second of three children was born. And he was born in a hurry. He came so fast that I actually thought I’d give birth in our car on the way to the hospital! Fortunately, that didn’t happen and I safely delivered my son Patrick surrounded by a team of well-trained doctors and nurses, not to mention my loving (and relieved!) husband by my side.



But I’m one of the lucky ones.


As new research released today by Save the Children reveals, 40 million women give birth without any trained help whatsoever. What’s more, 2 million women give birth entirely alone.


I met one

Parents get involved in Sponsorship Funded Programs

AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post 3 - Shazia Azizzada - Blog Writer 4

Shazia Azizzada, MIS Officer

Faryab Province, Afghanistan

February 2014

Khal Mohammad of Faryab Province is not educated as there was no school available when he was a child, but he still serves his people by participating in Save the Children programs. He is an active member of the School Health and Nutrition Committee and feels responsible for mobilizing community members to support programs and send their children to Child Focused Health Education groups.

“Being illiterate,” he says, “is like having eyes and not being able to see. Now that we have a nice school, I strongly support children attending and growing up to be teachers, doctors and engineers to build their country.”

AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post 3 - Parent of a Child - Khal Mohammad With His Grandchildren 2Seven of Khald Mohammad’s 26 grandchildren go to school and two more enrolled this year. These two girls attended Save the Children’s Early Childhood Development (ECCD) programs, he says, and, according to their teachers, they perform much better than children who did not. That’s why he encourages his villagers to send their children to the groups.

“Before Save the Children started their programs,” he says, “almost no one knew about the importance of education or hygiene or child protection, but now community awareness has increased. For example, it was common to drink river water, but families now collect safe water from the school well. The quality of education has improved too, and more children are enrolled in school.”

He compliments Save the Children for the programs implemented in his community and for helping people understand how to play an active role in village development. 

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


AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post 3 - Parent of a Child - Khal Mohammad in School 2


Reach Millions to Enlighten their Hopes

Ethiopia Blog Post 3 Alene

Alene Yenew, Head of Sponsorship 


February 2014

Recently I traveled to Gondar, one of the tourist attractions in Ethiopia. The mountains were covered with golden-yellow meskel daisies indicating the end of the rainy season and the beginning of spring, the time where children start school, the time to stride for new hopes and dreams to come true.

Crossing through a range of mountains, we reached Muse town close to midday and I found our sponsorship ambassador child. She was 12 and in grade 6. When I told her that I am from Save the Children, she was happy to talk with me.

She let me inside her home where she was roasting corn, and her friend also joined us. There were 2 pieces of corn on the fire. She broke the roasting corns into four pieces and shared them between her friend, our driver, and me. Her brother was sleeping on the floor very close by the fire. Her mother was out for petty trading, and her father had gone to a faraway place to attend a funeral. I learned our child was roasting the corns for her lunch; a typical poor-person’s lunch in the rural Ethiopia. She was willing to share what she had – a grand gesture of courtesy and humbleness.

Their house had a tin roof with almost-falling walls and a dusty floor. A handmade, grass mattress was covered with anti-malaria bed net. I asked her how she is prepared for the next academic year. She told me she was so angry that she didn’t make the top-three list from her class last year.

She said, “I have a dream of becoming a teacher and a dream of saving the lives of others. I will study hard this year and will rank first, second or third.” Then I realized one thing, this little girl was enlightened and inspired because of Save the Children’s great work in providing access to school and education.

  Ethiopia Blog Post 3 Gondor Landscape









Part 2

As we talked, she told me she likes studying at Donkey Library, one of Save the Children’s innovative projects designed to improve the reading skills of children. She said, “The day when the donkeys reach our village with reading materials, we all are happy to borrow books!”

As it was the first day of school, we followed her there. Teachers were busy leading students to their classes. The school structure, with coloured walls painted with different educational pictures, was built from a strong pre-casted concrete by Save the Children.

The classroom with some combined desks was perfect for learning, for bringing lasting change to children’s lives. The children were fine with the classroom conditions, even if the floor is not tile, and there were no individual lockers and tables, and they do not carry lunch boxes. A small plastic bag packed with exercise books was enough for them. Great minds emerge from schools like this.

Our Country Director Ned’s farewell statement earlier this year said, “our goal is not to raise millions of dollars a year, but to save millions of lives a year and to support children around the world to achieve their potential.” When I read it, it reminded me how we reach many children who wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to school and access education if we didn’t help.


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

From the Philippines, With Love

The following blog first appeared on The Huffington Post.



I met with amazing students at an elementary school in Tacloban, which suffered extensive damage during Typhoon Haiyan. Classes are now conducted in tents adorned with the children’s artwork. Photo credit: David Wardell for Save the Children
I met with amazing students at an elementary school in Tacloban, which suffered extensive damage during Typhoon Haiyan. Classes are now conducted in tents adorned with the children’s artwork. Photo credit: David Wardell for Save the Children

Love. If there is a single word that best describes what I witnessed during my visit to the Philippines last week, then that’s it. Love of family. Love of community. Love of people. Love of life.


So what better day than Valentine’s Day to celebrate the dedication, perseverance and, of course, love between the communities, families and children in the parts of the country that were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan? I would also like to mention a specific passion that came up over

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

More than Just a Handshake: How Corporate Partners Are Rolling Up Their Sleeves and Making an Impact

This post originally appeared on’s blog.

The rise of partnerships between INGOs and corporations is now an established phenomenon. It’s common knowledge that promoting relationships between business and development and relief organizations holds extraordinary value for the world’s poorest families. But when do these mash-ups really work and when are they just a lot of time and money spent with little actual value for beneficiaries?

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