Posts filed under ‘Save the Children’

When I Don’t Want to Write……

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I love blogging, I have been at this malarky for almost two years and have loved every minute. Well, perhaps not every minute. There are times when I struggle. Sometimes I lack inspiration. I know successful writers say you should put words down even when you aren’t in ‘that place’ but when I do I am always disappointed and trash the result. The other time I struggle is when I find the topic upsetting.

I read yesterday’s news about the latest Save the Children report on the risk that 500 million children could suffer from the long-term effects of malnutrition. Yes, this is a headline-grabbing figure meant to hit you between the eyes. Do people look at a figure like that and think no, that can’t be? I wonder. Would it be better that the figure was four hundred and ninety-nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine? Facetious perhaps but whatever figure is out there the story remains sadly the same.

We have a global recession, fact. We are seeing the impacts of this recession. Food and fuel prices rising and for most salaries not keeping pace with these increases. We see stories every day of families struggling in the developed world. It may be easy to dismiss stories of the previously affluent now struggling due to redundancy but isn’t it a sense of scale and expectation? You start to struggle when bills go up and you don’t have the income you had before. You must adjust and that adjustment is painful.

However, the sense of scale takes on a whole new level when you struggled before the recession hit. Poverty has levels of desperation. There can be enough food and shelter but nothing spare to give life joy. Hard but at least you survive? Then there is not quite enough, where to have enough food means some other necessity will be sacrificed; perhaps heat or shade. And then?  Then you get to the level where no matter what you do there isn’t enough to eat and what you have will not provide the nutrition to maintain good health. Beyond that lies starvation, not something any of us want to dwell on.

I have written before of my love of words. There are words that make me smile. Thrive is one of those words. Children should thrive. Those two words put together give me that mental image of toddlers taking their first steps with chubby baby cheeks and half a dozen white teeth showing as they smile. I know that sounds like a Hallmark card but that is the image in my head, baby curls and all.

There are words that I don’t like. Malnutrition is one. When you look up the definition of mal you get this – a combining form meaning “bad,” “wrongful,” “ill,” occurring originally in loanwords from French. Combine mal with nutrition and you get bad or ill-nourished. The effects of malnutrition are well-documented. Stunted growth and development leading to long-term poor health. An inability to fight disease thus shortening life expectancy, sometimes dramatically. Even when malnourished children reach adulthood they are more likely to live in poverty and so their children will suffer this same fate.

Lastly, we should not forget the ‘here and now’ effect of malnutrition. That is hunger. Not enough food and not enough nourishment from the food you have means that you never feel well. You exist with an ache that never goes away, it is there when you wake and is the last thing you feel before sleep. I have always believed that children need joy to thrive, that joy must be hard to come by when you exist with that ache……..

I close, as always, with this:-
  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

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February 17, 2012 at 12:28 am Leave a comment

Where Does the Money Go?

You know why I do this. If you don’t please read the About Lesley Page….

As the purpose of this blog is to (gently?) coerce any readers into donating to a childrens charity I thought I would do a little research on how your donations can be spent. I have focused on three of the big hitters, Unicef, Save the Children and Oxfam. I am, like everyone, conscious of the cost-cutting measures being introduced by global Governments. These make it harder for people to look beyond their own family. I understand this; those who rely on us still need our love and financial support. However, even if it is pennies and cents shouldn’t we be looking to help a few others?

I was also interested in the value-for-money element from the charities. They are all open about their accounts and how they try to use funding for best effect. We have all heard the stories of organisations (I will not call them charities) whose ‘overheads’ mean that only a small percentage of monies raised will go to a good cause. When we give away our hard-earned income we expect it to have the biggest impact possible. Therefore, a quick summary below how my big three for today will allocate your money. Please note that this is done as best I can from internet research on the charities and my apologies to them if any details aren’t completely accurate:-

Unicef – Does anyone assume Unicef get funds from the UN? They don’t you know. All their funds come from their own fundraising efforts, be they donations, working with corporations or the sales of their cards and gifts. They raised over £60 million in 2009, a significant amount. About 22% of this will go to raising more money, spending to accumulate for future years. In total about 76% of the income raised will go to their causes. This means 4% goes to keeping the organisation going, I think this shows tight financial management considering their size and the scope of the work they do.

Oxfam – From my research the total raised by Oxfam in the last year was over £300 million. A huge amount of money but there is a huge amount of good that needs to be done. This money comes from individual and organisational donations plus some Government funding. They will use 7% of the funds to generate more income, 10% on running costs and governance with 83% spent directly on emergency, development and campaigning efforts. A lot of money but a lot of projects, I do like their option to donate to specific projects with a targeted amount to be raised.

Save the Children – In 2010 Save the Children UK had fundraising totals of just over £290 million. This came from a variety of sources, individual and corporate donations, business partnerships, Government funding for example. Future fundraising and investments uses 7% of the monies raised, retail and governance/property uses 4 % and 89% is spent on charitable activities, including 41% on one area, hunger.

Looking at the figures above I see 3 major organisations trying to do good and trying to do that good in a financially responsible manner. They use revenue to generate more revenue and keep overheads to a percentage minimum. They are open with their financial reporting but use their websites to focus on their main aims. I add some extracts from their mission statements below. I think they are worth stating, worth the little time it will take you to read them:-

Unicef – UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children’s rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. UNICEF insists that the survival, protection and development of children are universal development imperatives that are integral to human progress.

Oxfam– Oxfam International is an international group of independent non-governmental organizations dedicated to fighting poverty and related injustice around the world. The Oxfams work together internationally to achieve greater impact by their collective efforts. Oxfam believes that Poverty and powerlessness are avoidable and can be eliminated by human action and political will. Basic human needs and rights can be met. These include the rights to a sustainable livelihood, and the rights and capacities to participate in societies and make positive changes to people’s lives. Inequalities can be significantly reduced both between rich and poor nations and within nations.Peace and substantial arms reduction are essential conditions for development.

Save the Children – Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.

You may read the words above and think they are high-fallutin? Perhaps you think them over-worthy or too optimistic? Then please read some of the other facts I was able to pick up from the websites, here are facts to be aware of:-

  • 22,000 children under 5 die every day. Every day.
  • One child dies every 3 seconds largely from preventable diseases that could be combated by the availability of basic health care.
  • A billion people go to bed hungry every day
  • Worldwide in 2009, there were an estimated 16.6 million children who had lost one or both parents to AIDS
  • Thousands of the world’s poorest people are losing their homes and livelihoods as a result of a new wave of land deals, including 22,500 people in Uganda who lost their homes because of a timber company.

I could add many more words, many more horrible facts to this blog but I hope these will be enough to make you think and even act?

I close with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm 2 comments

News Confusion.

The news today has been shocking for me. Two stories in particular stand out.

The first story is the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa. Crops are failing, livestock dying and, for those living  this nightmare hope is heartbreakingly absent. I did blog on Somalia last week but the problem is more widespread with Ethiopia in crisis too. We all remember the stories that prompted Live Aid. It is hard to believe that this was 1985 and we are heading back into the same kind of crisis 26 years later.

Watching the news this morning one section of the report brought it home, causing me to stop in my tracks. One mother realised her six children were in severe danger and knew her only chance was to walk her family many miles to reach a refugee camp. However, as they walked her children became weaker and could not go on. This amazing woman who was herself starving did one of the bravest things I have ever heard. She left four children to wait and carried two at a time to make progress. She then returned back to carry two more, repeating this again and again until she made it to the refugee camp with all of her children. I cannot think of any better example of the power and sheer will spurred by love.

The other news story is one that broke this evening. It is alleged that an investigator who did a lot of work for a Sunday tabloid hacked into the mobile phone of Milly Dowler after her disappearance. If this is true then I am lost for words. Legalities aside, this is a truly abhorrent act. We do not know all the facts as yet but one thing is very clear to me. The family of this poor young girl may have been given false hope as a result of messages being deleted to create space for more voicemails. Imagine the torment, fearing for the worst and seizing on anything that brings the slightest light to the darkest of times. This to me is the worst thing of all.

I can say no more today but this. Tomorrow I will donate to Save the Children. I don’t talk much about my own donations as I don’t think that is what should prompt anyone else to donate. However, this is one time that I think we all need to help.

I close with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

July 4, 2011 at 11:11 pm 7 comments


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