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Year in review: catch up on our innovations in education

POSTED December 10, 2018

Year in review: catch up on our innovations in education

Thanks to our supporters for a year of helping children and youth reach their goals

By Patrick Canagasingham, CEO

Patrick Christmas Message

Whether I’m in Toronto or a rural Dalit (lower class or caste) community in India, I’ve noticed children are all the same — they’re dreamers. It’s only when they grow older that they’re taught their limitations.

So, this past year I was thrilled to meet youth from vulnerable communities who were hopeful about their future. Take Addis, my 13-year-old sponsored child in Ethiopia, who confidently told me she’s going to be a doctor one day. She’s been given access to education and support that will make that possible.

It’s a similar story for 17-year-old Ángeles, a former sponsored child from Paraguay, who told her peers at a global conference: “Do not ever think you cannot do things. Everyone has potential.”

Every child should have opportunities to succeed. That’s our goal at Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), and I wanted to share just three initiatives from the past year that are moving us forward in that journey.

  • In Paraguay, an international seminar we co-hosted with other civil-society organizations united government leaders and local youth to highlight the rights of children around the world. This proceeded the ratification of 20 commitments to improve children’s lives signed by the country’s new President.
  • In a CCFC-led Stop Child Marriage Now campaign in India, our partnership with 72 civil-society organizations, and collaboration with government departments, made it possible to anecdotally help prevent 252 child marriages through education campaigns. And, adults, children and youth in 5,753 schools took oaths to create child marriage-free environments.
  • A regional workshop in Honduras brought 51 youth leaders together to learn about civic participation, leadership, gender equality and entrepreneurship as part of our Preventing Irregular Child Migration in Central America project, funded by the Government of Canada. Since then, youth have helped replicate those workshops in their home countries.

These three examples of our work have something in common — they highlight education, a key component of our work and focus moving forward. Without education, communities, families, youth and children might not access opportunities to change their lives for the better.

Our biggest victories have been using innovation to boost education, as noted in our award-winning Saving Brains project, which leverages a Learning Through Play methodology to nurture a child’s development. Moving forward, we have many new ideas to ensure children and youth get the quality education they deserve and that they’re heard, included and empowered so they can thrive.

For now, I want to thank our supporters. Their commitment makes it possible for children to recognize they have a bright future ahead.

Best wishes for a holiday season filled with the promise we see in the eyes of the children we support. Merry Christmas.

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Preventing Irregular Child Migration in Central America (PICMCA):

Children Believe is leading a $15.2-million regional project in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua, designed to improve the well-being of children and youth who are at risk of irregular migration. The Government of Canada is contributing $12.6 million to the four-year project. The initiative addresses a number of the root causes that fuel irregular migration — from high levels of crime and violence, limited employment and educational opportunities, to social exclusion and a lack of information on the inherent dangers of migrating without following the normal immigration procedures. For this project, Children Believe is partnering with two non-governmental organizations: ChildFund International-USA and Educo.

ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):

Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

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