POSTED September 10, 2018
How we’re setting children up for success
We join with partners, parents, teachers and healthcare professionals to ensure babies and young children from vulnerable communities around the world thrive
By Patrick Canagasingham, CEO
My sponsored child in Ethiopia believes — with all her heart — that she’ll be a doctor when she grows up. It makes me smile to remember how Addis gave me the gift of experiencing the hope sponsorship provides on a recent visit to meet her.
Addis is from a town where many children don’t have a local school, leaving them prone to abuse, harassment and worse. But, she attended preschool and was given the foundation to spur her development.
At Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, we believe more children can realize that hope, especially when we reach them as babies and toddlers. A child’s formative years are critical in their life journey. If we don’t spark their development before they reach six, research shows they’ll be prone to social and economic challenges as adults.
We take that research to heart, and I saw its impact and progress being made on my recent trip to our program and project areas in Ethiopia. I was thrilled to meet families benefiting from our award-winning work in early-child development.
But there’s more to the program than one might initially think. Making lasting change means creating more than an education program — it’s about breaking barriers stalling change. We nurture a child’s growth (up to the age of six) in many ways. We:
- stimulate development by enhancing brain development through social interaction, strengthening parent/child relationships
- meet basic needs for nutrition, healthcare and disease-prevention
- build and equip early-childhood care centres and train teachers
- train parents and caregivers about harmful traditional practices, such as early and forced child marriage, abuse and more
We’ve seen our early-child development strategy impact more than 45,000 children in the past five years. It’s all thanks to partners, committed parents, academics, other civil-society organizations and the Ethiopian government.
Feleke Tadele, our director, program effectiveness and resource management, joined me as I met with Yalem Tsegay, minister for women and children affairs in Ethiopia
In fact, Yalem Tsegay (above), the minister for women and children affairs, met with me to discuss children, gender equality and inclusion. She was encouraged by our common goals for the future of children in Ethiopia.
We’ve taken this approach to other countries where we work in Africa, Asia, Central and South America. It’s a big part of our sponsorship programs, strengthening children, communities and possibilities for positive change.
Dreaming big for children is a worthwhile goal. They deserve the best — just like my own son, just like Addis.
Look out for my October blog. I’ll share more about how we’re working with governments and partners around the world to make lasting change.