Don’t fall into Cambodia’s orphanage trap, Australians told, by Lindsay Murdoch

1451208080232-1Phnom Penh: Tara Winkler, a former NSW Young Australian of the Year, says it is “highly unethical to expose vulnerable children to serious risks in order to engage donors and raise funds”.

Ms Winkler says potential abusers are not being vetted among a high volume of visitors to Cambodia’s 600 orphanages and children’s residential care centres who are allowed to physically interact with children in intimate ways, such as playing games and hugging.

“Even though the majority of people who want to visit centres are good people who only want to help, if they are allowed in to provide love and affection, then the same access is provided to potential predators and sex tourists,” she said.

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Children at a Phnom Penh orphanage. Photo: Lindsay Murdoch

Fairfax Media has reported that strangers can walk uninvited off the street into a Phnom Penh orphanage, where they are greeted in bedrooms with children trained to engage visitors and encourage them to donate money.

A record 47,900 children are living in orphanages and residential care centres in Cambodia, despite research showing that the institutions scar their emotional and personal development through seemingly endless broken relationships, and that they should be living with their families in their own communities.

(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)

http://www.smh.com.au/world/dont-fall-into-cambodias-orphanage-trap-australians-told-20151222-glt8ae.html

Australian mum raises over $100,000 to build safe-house for abused girls, by Belinda Jepsen

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Australian blogger Constance Hall has harnessed the power of her loyal social media following to raise funds for a charity that supports sexually abused Kenyan girls.

The response has been overwhelming, with over $100,000 rolling in in less than a day.

Hall was made aware of the cause after being contacted by a full-time volunteer for Rafiki Mwema –  a not-for-profit organisation that offers a safe house, counselling, medical care, legal support and community education to young female victims of sexual violence in the east African country.

As Hall wrote:

“Some of these young survivors have been sexually abused to the point of needing surgery, some prostituted from the age of 2 (yep, you read that correctly 2-years-old) some aren’t able to communicate to anybody without covering their faces due to the shame they believe they have brought on themselves.”

Sadly, Rafiki Mwema has become so overwhelmed with the numbers of young children in their care, that they were seeking funds to build a house to accommodate older, teenage victims. They needed $75,000. And so Constance reached out to her more than half-a-million followers, or “Queens” as she affectionately calls them.

(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)

http://www.mamamia.com.au/constance-hall-fundraiser-kenya/

What’s Killing 4,100 Children Each Day? And what’s being done about it? By Ginger Kadlec with guests Abbey Kochert and Shelbie Moser

 

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By Ginger Kadlec with guests Abbey Kochert and Shelbie Moser — get free updates of new posts here.

As I write this morning, I’ve washed my face and have already consumed two glasses of water, an oatmeal smoothie containing both water and ice, and I’m well in to cup ‘o coffee number two. I’ve ingested all of this without worry that a microscopic Guinea worm or a small leech might now be nesting in my intestines or building a new home in one of my arms or legs. I truly am one of the lucky ones. Millions upon millions of people… and yes, children… on earth, though, fight this battle daily because they don’t have access to one of our basic human needs: clean water.

Thirst Project Shelbs and AbbsThe daughter of a dear friend of mine, Abbey Kochert, and her colleague Shelbie Moser are on a cross-country trek and stopped by our home last week. They have signed-on for an incredibly important task… they are Road Warriors for theThirst Project.

Thirst Project is an international organization whose mission is to “build a socially-conscious generation of young people who END the global water crisis.” Thirst Project captured my attention because of the organization’s genuine interest in saving children and notes, “Small children typically do not have strong enough immune systems to fight diseases like cholera, dysentery, or schistosomiasis.”

Thirst Project Child Deaths

Source: Thirst Project

Abbey shared a fact that literally stopped me in my tracks: “Waterborne diseases kill more children than anything else in the world – 4,100 children will die today due to diarrhea and dysentery alone.”

As guests in a special BeAKidsHero podcastShelbie shared, “That’s like a jumbo jet crashing every hour-and-a-half each day! Yet it doesn’t even get two minutes of CNN’s nightly air time.”

She’s right. Which is exactly why Thirst Project, the largest youth organization working to end the global water crisis, is working diligently to save children born in areas where they simply don’t have access to clean drinking water.

Abbey shares, “Children between the ages of eight and 13 are tasked with walking, on average, three to four miles, every day just to collect contaminated water. Imagine a muddy rain puddle. Now, let’s add some parasites, leeches, mosquito larvae, and animal feces. This only scratches the surface. Children in developing communities fetch this water using jerrycans; a five gallon gas can, which weighs 44 pounds when full; however, children normally carry two at a time. Work, like most, takes these children six to eight hours everyday. Therefore, children are not able to go to school and get an education because work takes precedence.”

Thirst Project Boy with Guinnea worm removed

Source: Thirst Project

I listened to their presentation as they spoke to Mrs. Broge’s Choralaires class at Zionsville Community High School, but literally choked back tears as Abbey shared the story of this little four-year old boy whose photo was snapped by a Thirst Project team visiting the South African country of Swaziland following the gruesome removal of a 3-foot Guinea worm in his body. These horrid parasites are microscopic when first ingested via contaminated drinking water, but then nest in a limb (arm or leg) until they mature. People infected with these monster worms don’t have access to medical care, so the worms are removed by either slicing them off, a bit at a time, or through an incision whereby the worm is stabbed with a hot poker, wrapped around that poker and tugged out of it’s hosts’ body… in this case, the body of the sweet four-year old boy who I can only imagine couldn’t grasp the horror he saw as a long monster, nearly as tall as he is, was stripped from one of his limbs.

Source: Thirst Project

Source: Thirst Project

Thirst Project notes that, “Waterborne diseases kill more children every single year than AIDS, Malaria, and all world violence combined.” They also share a graphic that illustrates the physical impact on both children and adults of drinking contaminated water.

BTW, did you know that the average American uses 150 gallons of fresh water per day? People in countries like Swaziland have access to only 5 gallons of water a day… if they have fresh water access at all.

The Good News

Thirst Project Logo v2…is that Thirst Project is making a measurable difference in the lives of children and families around the world! Just seven years ago, nearly 1.1 billion people around the world had NO access to clean drinking water. Thanks to efforts from organizations like Thirst Project, that number has dropped to 66.3 million. While much has been done, much more is left to do.

(To read more of this article, follow the link below…)

http://www.beakidshero.com/posts/killing-4100-children-each-day/

St. Brigid’s School Children Support Families Devastated in Fiji Cyclone By Kirsteen Mclay-Knopp

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Cyclone Winston tore through Fiji on 20th Feb. 2016, changing the lives of children and families there forever.

Fiji is in a state of natural disaster and its people are in urgent need after Cyclone Winston ripped through the Island nation and left a trail of destruction and heartbreak with 44 dead, more than 35,000 homeless and everyone – babies, families and the elderly – with nothing.   Devastating images show the impact of Fiji’s biggest ever storm, with debris scattered everywhere and nothing but single walls standing for some homes.   Mothers cradle children in the wreckage of their homes, children huddle together as they seek refuge at evacuation centres and fragile, elderly citizens are forced to fend themselves, left with nothing but the shirt on their backs…   Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama is warning his devastated nation it faces a long and difficult recovery.  (Source:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3463347/Death-toll-Fiji-rises-44-10-month-old-baby-presumed-dead-catastrophic-Cyclone-Winston-tore-country-wiping-village.html)

A woman and her son in their damaged house in Viti Levu. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A woman and her son in their damaged house in Viti Levu, Fiji. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The children of St. Brigid’s School (in Dunedin) decided to have a mufti day to support their peers in Fiji.  The school children each brought along some gold coins, which were laid out on the ground to spell the word “Fiji”.

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St. Brigid’s School children spell out the word “Fiji” in coins on the floor of their school hall.

“The kids in Fiji have had their homes, schools and churches all smashed up,” Ben, aged 8, told us.  “We thought how bad we’d feel if that happened to us.  Some of them have even had people in their families die.  It’s good if we can do something to help.”

All together St. Brigid’s mufti day raised $243 for the Catholic Charity organisation Caritas, who have organised an appeal to support those affected by Cyclone Winston in Fiji.

For more information about St. Brigid’s School, see their website:  http://www.stbrigidsdn.school.nz/

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St. Brigid’s School children, collecting the money they raised to help those affected by Cyclone Winston in Fiji.

Related Links:

http://caritas.org.nz/where-we-work/emergencies/cyclone-winston-response

 

“Orange Friday” in Aotearoa/ NZ… raising awareness of domestic violence. By Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

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Orange Friday is a  day to raise awareness and much needed funds to help victims of domestic abuse become safe and stay safe.

Domestic abuse is not an easy subject, especially because our statistics here in Aotearoa/ NZ are shocking.   The NZ Police answer a domestic abuse callout every 5 minutes.   One child is killed every 6 weeks by a family member.   And one in three Kiwi women will experience physical or sexual abuse by a partner in their lifetime.  It’s awful to know that we have such a huge problem with domestic abuse in our beautiful country.

On “Orange Friday” people dress in (you guessed it) ORANGE :).  They donate money to the organisation “Shine”.  Shine was founded in 1990, so have just celebrated their 25th Anniversary.   Shine work in partnership with many organisations,  including the NZ Police,  Child Youth & Family Services and Family Works.  They offer a range of integrated services that support adult and child victims to be safe, as well as supporting men who have used abuse, to change their behaviour.  Shine currently have a serious funding shortfall, meaning only  1 out 4 victims that are referred are able to be helped.  Orange Friday aims to help with this shortfall by raising  funds to ensure  all victims of domestic abuse are able to have the support that they need.

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Kamo lntermediate School Children on “Orange Friday” 2015.

“Orange Friday” is also a good opportunity to raise general awareness of domestic violence, so holding it in schools or offices is great… lots of people wearing orange will attract interest and further help this worthy cause.  So get out there, get orange and “shine a light” on this problem… one which is often hidden behind closed doors until it’s too late.

xxx

For more information about “Orange Friday” and Shine, follow the links below:

http://www.2shine.org.nz/

http://www.orangefriday.org.nz/orange-friday/who-is-shine

How would your Kids fare as Soldiers? Red Hand Day, 12th February. By Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

Red Hand Day

I have four children.  The eldest turns eleven this year, the youngest is five.  February 12th is “Red Hand Day”, an internationally recognised day for raising awareness of the plight of “Child soldiers” (anyone under the age of 18 who, for what ever reason, bears arms and fights in a conflict).  On the eve of that day, I think about my own children… each has their own, distinct personality, goals, hopes and aspirations.  They all love to play.  We work hard every day to enable them to attend school, participate in sports and other activities and to try to equip them with skills for their future lives, as so many parents do, all around the world.  As parents in “peaceful” countries, we are busy with day to day life and the tasks involved in raising our kids.  Many prefer not to think about the plights of “other people’s children” in “other countries”, one of the worst of which is that of children made to fight adults’ wars.  Some believe problems such as this are just “too big”, so why even bother thinking about them?

Here at “The Forever Years”, we see the world as a “global family” and believe that this is an important way to think if we are to advocate for the rights of all children everywhere and encourage those who love and care for them.  All people are connected and TV images are not so removed from us as we think.  If we imagine the fate of child soldiers as being that of our own children, we recoil in horror: the low life expectancy, lack of education or play opportunity, the effects of seeing siblings and friends killed, the fact that child soldiers have a high chance of being physically or sexually abused, as well as all the post traumatic shock effects we see in adult soldiers, are soul destroying, to say the least.  You wouldn’t let this happen to your kids– in fact, it’s the very opposite of the protection all our children everywhere deserve.

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Some facts about Child soldiers…

  • Child soldiers are any children under the age of 18 who are recruited by a state or non-state armed group and used as fighters, cooks, suicide bombers, human shields, messengers, spies, or for sexual purposes.
  • In the last 15 years, the use of child soldiers has spread to almost every region of the world and every armed conflict. Though an exact number is impossible to define, thousands of child soldiers are illegally serving in armed conflict around the world. 

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    Child soldiers of the resistance Mong Tai Army during training with their commander in Myanmar

  • Children who are poor, displaced from their families, have limited access to education, or live in a combat zone are more likely to be forcibly recruited.  
  • Children who are not forced to be soldiers volunteer themselves, because they feel societal pressure and are under the impression that volunteering will provide a form of income, food, or security, and willingly join the group.  

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    lsis child soldiers

  • Girls make up an estimated 10 to 30 percent of child soldiers used for fighting and other purposes. They are especially vulnerable when it comes to sexual violence.    56bea3630a58a994ccfa78dec2dfb284
  • A few of the countries who have reported use of child soldiers in recent years are  Afghanistan, Burma/ Myanmar, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, The Philippines,  Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Uganda and Yemen.  

    Source: www.cnn.com

    Source: www.cnn.com

  • The recruitment of child soldiers breaks several human rights laws.

Source: https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-child-soldiers

For more facts about the reasons for the use of child soldiers in the countries mentioned above, follow the link below…

https://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/12/child-soldiers-worldwide

The “Kony Video” in 2012, although unsuccessful in leading to the capture of Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA),  in Uganda, was still a victory for child advocacy in that it drew attention to the dire state of affairs with regards to child soldiers around the planet and also drove Kony and his followers into hiding, thus ending his recruitment of child soldiers.

To see another article on “The Forever Years” about Child soldiers, including the famous “Kony Video”, follow the link below:

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/we-neednt-wait-for-conflicts-to-end-for-children-to-be-removed-from-armed-organizations-by-siddharth-chatterjee/

The “Kony Video” is powerful, because  it shows that individuals can focus on a particular area of concern and affect change.  There are a number of online movements and petitions where ordinary people can express their concern at the plight of child soldiers… see the above link above  https://www.dosomething.org/.

UNlCEF’s #childrennotsoldiers campaign provided another such way of expressing support (see pictures below).

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Model UN team @ Liberty North High Sc. MI says they are #ChildrenNotSoldiers after listening to our chief of office Source: https://twitter.com/libertynorthmun

Model UN team @ Liberty North High Sc. MI says they are #ChildrenNotSoldiers after listening to our chief of office Source: https://twitter.com/libertynorthmun

Secretary-General Photo op for #ChildrenNotSoldiers social media campaign by and armed conflict.

Secretary-General Photo op for #ChildrenNotSoldiers social media campaign by and armed conflict. Source: https://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org/ar/secretary-general-photo-op-for-childrennotsoldiers-social-media-campaign-by-and-armed-conflict-5/

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United Nations News Centre

The resource below could be useful when discussing the issue of child soldiers with kids.

Other good sites with ideas and resources for helping raise awareness and ending the plight of child soldiers:

http://culturesofresistance.org/end-child-soldiers

https://www.warchild.org.uk/issues/child-soldiers

http://www.peacedirect.org/child-soldiers

Of course “Red Hand Day” provides another opportunity to promote awareness around the globe.  These kids deserve better… they are “our” children too.

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The Ripple Effects of Kindness to Kids, A Wonderful Story!

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The incredible story of Hilde Back and Chris Mburu shows how even small acts of kindness can touch many lives in ways entirely unforeseen. When she was a girl, a stranger’s kindness saved Hilde Back’s life by helping her to escape to Sweden from Nazi Germany where both her parents died in concentration camps. Back eventually became a teacher and, remembering her days as a Jewish girl in Germany when she was denied the opportunity to attend school under the Nazi Nuremburg Laws, she decided to pay for the education of a child who would otherwise not have a chance to go to school. The child she sponsored was Chris Mburu.

Mburu grew up in a poor family in rural Kenya whose family could not afford to pay the small tuition fee required for children to continue their studies beyond elementary school. Due to his excellent grades, he was selected for participation in a Swedish sponsorship program and Hilde Back paid his way through secondary school. Mburu excelled in school and went on to earn degrees from the University of Nairobi and Harvard Law School.

In order to help other talented children from poor families continue their studies at secondary school, Mburu created a foundation in 2001. With the support of the Swedish Ambassador in Kenya, Mburu was able to track down the benefactor who had transformed his life and named the foundation in her honor: The Hilde Back Education Fund.

(To read more, including great links to documentaries etc related to this story, follow the link below…)

https://www.facebook.com/amightygirl/posts/932391220130525:0

Operation Christmas Child: interview with Dunedin Representative Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

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Today Kirsteen McLay-Knopp, one of our editors here at “The Forever Years” was interviewed by our local TV channel about “Operation Christmas Child”, the project organised by Samaratin’s Purse, which provides shoe boxes containing gifts to children in some of our world’s poorest areas.  See the interview below and follow the links at the bottom to read more articles about “Operation Christmas Child” on “The Forever Years”.

More about “Operation Christmas Child”:

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/a-high-tea-party-n-support-of-operation-christmas-child-by-errin-hamlyn/

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/our-operation-christmas-child-packing-night-by-kirsteen-mclay-knopp/

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/an-interview-about-operation-christmas-child/

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/242/

The “Operation Christmas Child” Website:

www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child

Tedz4theKids… link to interview with Dunedin Co-ordinator Tracey Leishman

 

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As a follow up to an earlier post about Tedz4theKids

 https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/4thekidz-and-tedz-for-kids-amazing-support-for-traumitsed-kiwi-kids-by-caro-cragg-and-tracey-leishman/

“The Forever Years” would like to direct our readers’ attention to an awesome TV interview with Dunedin Co-ordinator Tracey Leishman, who explains more about this amazing project which helps some of our most traumatised kids here in Aotearoa/ New Zealand.

 

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https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=5weeks%20to%20save%20a%20life

https://www.facebook.com/Dunedin-Tedz4thekidz-425472774309689/?fref=ts