Communities Take Ownership

Author Portrait_Yamileh Théodore, Sponsorship Operations Officer
Yamileh Théodore

Sponsorship Operations Officer

Save the Children in Haiti

February 24, 2017

Sponsorship’s ultimate goal is always to prepare the communities to be able to continue our programs on their own one day, without Save the Children’s support. As we are now about halfway through our planned time in Dessalines, from arriving in 2012 to our planned exit from the community in 2020, we want to make sure that the capacities of the communities and schools we work with are strengthening.

A child participating in one of our summer camp activities, making art from recyclables.
A child participating in one of our summer camp activities, making art from recyclables.

One aspect of our work through which we can assess the success of our programs is by the local summer camps, which were started thanks to Sponsorship funding. Week long camps this year welcomed more than 600 girls and boys from ages 7 to 16. Kids received lessons in arts and crafts on skills like making floral arrangements, macramé and ways to recycle trash into art. Children also benefited from sessions on health and hygiene topics, for example how to identify nutritious foods or, for adolescents, how to maintain their sexual and reproductive health.

These camps also provided an opportunity for the school council members, representatives from the local government, trained teachers and volunteers from the community to demonstrate the skills gained through trainings provided by Sponsorship. Save the Children in Haiti program staff watched as camp activities unfolded – both camp facilitators and children were eager to share all they had learned. For the adults present, it was clear they shared great interest and a common sense of duty and responsibility to ensure that the highest standards are maintained for educating the local children.

 Children performing a song during the closing ceremony for the summer camps.
Children performing a song during the closing ceremony for the summer camps.

The camps closing ceremony was the perfect moment for the participants and actors to express their joy with the summer camps and likewise the good work Save the Children is doing throughout the community. It was agreed on by everyone that next summer the camps would continue, and the community happily offered to lead in taking ownership in running the camps this time. We look forward to a smooth and efficient transition of activities!

Your sponsorship supports your child’s growth and development and empowers community members to sustain the work we’ve started. For our sponsors of children in Dessalines, we hope you continue with us on this journey through the end of 2020 – when our programs will be solely run by community members and we will move on to other areas in need in Haiti.

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

Taking Part in Something Big

Author Portrait_Florenda Albano, Program Officer & Sponsorship Partner
Florenda Albano

Program Officer & Sponsorship Partner

Save the Children Philippines

February 17, 2017

My name is Florenda, I am a midwife and nurse by profession. Although now, I basically have two professions – before, I felt as if I was not doing enough. I used to wonder what my real purpose in life was. These thoughts, however, were quickly silenced after I began my role with Save the Children’s maternal and child health programs in Mindanao. I knew I found my answer, and I was sure that I was taking part in something big.

In indigenous tribes in the Philippines, seeing children married at an early age, and female teenagers cradling their suckling young ones, has become nothing less than ordinary. Female teenagers are not only challenged with the dual roles of wife and mother at such an early age, but they also lack access to local health facilities which prevents them from having regular check-ups while pregnant or even a safe delivery.

Florenda sharing information about breastfeeding and nutrition with new mothers.
Florenda sharing information about breastfeeding and nutrition with new mothers.

Unfortunately, these challenges do not end after delivery. There are many young children in the communities in which we work who are undernourished, especially children under five years old. A child’s development is most crucial during his or her first 1,000 days of life, so not having proper nourishment within this particular period poses grave health risks, as well as irreversible damages.

With both mother and infant care in mind, we train health professionals in birthing and delivery practices, and orient parents on proper care for mothers and infants. Our Sponsorship team braves the far-flung areas of Mindanao to build the knowledge of parents and parents to-be on the benefits of regular before- and after-delivery check-ups. In order to reach these areas, we must often make the last leg of the journey on foot, walking for hours up mountainous, bumpy dirt roads. For some villages, we even must fashion makeshift rafts to cross rivers – which during the rainy season are constantly flooding and changing.

Michelle and her baby Alyssa attending the maternal and child health session in a rural health center.
Michelle and her baby Alyssa attending the maternal and child health session in a rural health center.

There would be days when my feet would ache, and there will continue to be, but our real journey has just begun. I see that change has come not only for myself, but also for the young generation in the communities I’ve traveled to. Young mothers are learning how to keep their babies healthy, and nothing is more important. I know that they also see the possibilities of what we can do together.

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