Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Protection for All Children

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

“Some children in our community have to get married. We know that they are not ready to get married.”

These are the thoughts of children and youth in the developing world who live in environments that do not protect them from abuse, exploitation or neglect. The children and youth are often prevented from healthy development.

We tackle these issues head on with child protection workshops for our staff to recognize the problems.

Child protection risks include: an alcoholic parent; a community with traditions that do not value girls’ participation; parents encouraging their children to engage in prostitution or to migrate to urban areas for work; and a child with a disability who is hidden indoors by his mother.

Our programs will remove these obstacles by promoting protective environments, says child protection specialist Martin Hayes. Our child protection workshops are designed to have children speak up about the issues that affect them the most.

For more information on our workshops, including what we found in our U.S. programs, click here to check out our latest news release.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's All About the Children

Children in today’s world need help more than ever. The World Bank estimates that 53 million people around the world will fall into poverty this year – that’s the total population of California and Florida combined. And that’s on top of the 1.5 billion people already living in poverty.

To address the problems, this is a critical time for Christian Children’s Fund to meet the growing needs of children. To help meet these needs, we are making a few changes. To learn about these changes, visit our Web site at www.christianchildrensfund.org.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Benvenido a México!

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

With nearly 20 teams of five people each, our Walk Across the World initiative has gotten off to a quick start – we’ve already made it to Mexico! As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, collectively as a staff we are walking across the world to “visit” some of the 31 countries where we work. We started at our International Office in Richmond,Va., and ventured more than 1,800 miles to our first stop in Mexico.

Team Fabulous Five collected the most miles on the first portion of the trek, logging more than 220 miles in one week. Two other teams also passed the 200-mile mark. To put this mileage figure in perspective, 1,800 miles is also about the same driving distance from San Diego, Calif., to Memphis, Tenn., and from Key West, Fla., to Portland, Maine.

Team Fabulous Five received special recognition from Mexico’s National Director Virginia Vargas for collecting the most miles so far: “I am sure you all enjoyed the journey and had a lot of fun, but more than that, this team effort proves your love for CCF. During your ‘stay’ in Mexico you will find 45,000 children that recognize the hard work all of you do every day in order to have better opportunities in life. Also you will enjoy tacos and enchiladas with the company of Mariachis!”

Christian Children’s Fund has worked in Mexico since 1955. One program highlight there is our Early Childhood Development program to provide education to children age 5 and under. More than 7,000 children are enrolled in this program. More than 180 educators monitor the child's development, train mothers on how to help their child overcome learning delays, make home visits, discuss early child development strategies with parents and coordinate with local governmental ECD programs. Other community volunteers, known as Guide Mothers, also play an important role in helping children’s cognitive learning.

For the next stop in our Walk Across the World journey we continue to head south to Brazil, which is more than 3,500 miles away. How quick will we get there?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One Death Every 30 Seconds

By David Shanklin, Senior Program Health Specialist

About 1 million children under the age of 5 die each year from a disease that is entirely preventable. An African child dies every 30 seconds from this same disease; nearly a half billion people become ill because of this disease.

What is this disease? Malaria. The cause? The parasitic disease is transmitted to people through infected mosquitoes.

About 40 percent of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, with the most serious area of impact being sub-Saharan Africa. About 90 percent of deaths due to malaria occur in Africa, mostly among young children.

Education is the foundation for prevention, but many vulnerable families do not know how malaria is transmitted or how to prevent or treat it. With World Malaria Day approaching April 25, it’s staggering to know that less than 25 percent of people who need prevention and treatment services actually receive them.

In countries where CCF works and there is a problem with malaria, our staff works with public health services to mobilize families to use insecticide-treated mosquito nets to sleep under, seek prompt treatment of suspicious cases, encourage pregnant women to take anti-malarial medicines and encourage indoor spraying for mosquitoes.

CCF also works with public health officials to ensure that services are available and that there are trained community health workers nearby with medicines to address the problem. While the process can be slow at times, there are signs of great progress in recent years.

For example, in Zambia from 2002 to 2007, two-thirds of all households in that country have benefitted from indoor spraying, about 70 percent of children under the age of 5 sleep under bed nets and more than 66 percent of pregnant women receive one or more doses to prevent the disease.

As World Malaria Day approaches, what can you do to help? Through CCF, mosquito bed nets and other medicines can be purchased on our Web site through our Gifts of Love & Hope catalog at www.christianchildrensfund.org/gifts. One mosquito bed net can protect a family for up to four years.

Remember, this disease is preventable. A child does not have to die every 30 seconds from malaria.

For more on malaria, click here to view a video of David Shanklin discussing the disease.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

CCF Receives Coveted Four Star Rating

Charity Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator, recently awarded Christian Children’s Fund its coveted four-star rating for its ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances.

According to Charity Navigator only one-fourth of the charities it reviews receive its highest rating of four stars. In receiving this rating CCF has proven that it executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.

The unprecedented growth of the non-profit sector is a clear indicator that organizations like CCF must prove they operate under the highest of standards from both a management and fiscal standpoint.

Accountability and transparency are also core indicators to donors and sponsors in determining what non-profit organizations they want to support with their hard earned dollars.

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Give a Chick, Help Children and Families for Years

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

For the price of a few bags of Easter candy, you can change the life of a child in a developing country.

$9 buys a live baby chick for a family in The Gambia. That chick provides eggs to feed the family and the extra eggs are a source of income. For $10, you can purchase a duck for a family in Timor-Leste.

When children grow up in a family that is economically secure they are able to eat nutritious meals that help them grow. They can attend school and develop life skills.

You can buy chicks and ducks and many other animals through Christian Children’s Fund’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog. The gifts are delivered straight to families in need in the areas we work. Dozens of other items are available, including $6 cough medicine for a child in Honduras and a $5,357 motorcycle for medical emergencies in Bolivia.

When buying a gift, you can select the items in honor of your friends and family. When you do that, we’ll send them personalized gift cards to let them know of your thoughtfulness. It may be a perfect conversation starter for you and your family this weekend.

To purchase a gift from the Gifts of Love & Hope catalog, visit www.christianchildrensfund.org and click on “Gifts of Love & Hope.”

Friday, April 3, 2009

Walk Across the World With Us

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

In many countries around the world, children have to walk miles and miles each day to go to school or to find clean drinking water for their household or to receive adequate health care. They’re not walking for their health – they’re walking because they have no other choice.

At Christian Children’s Fund’s headquarters in Richmond, we often take walking for granted. We ride the elevator down a couple of floors for a meeting instead of taking the steps; we park at the closest spot possible at the office or at the mall; we go home, sit on the couch and watch TV throughout the evening. Well, enough is enough.

Beginning today, we are launching a program called Walk Across the World in which we are walking to several countries where we work. We aren’t literally going out the door and walking there, but we are using pedometers to track the numbers of steps we take each day.

The Walk Across the World initiative involves about a dozen teams with five people each. Walking across the world will be an overall CCF effort, with some friendly competition along the way. Every 2,000 steps will be counted as a mile.

While this is an effort of our newly formed Wellness Committee – Power Up – we also are doing this to stop and visit our program areas around the globe. The first stop is Mexico, which is 1,808 miles from Richmond (according to most crows). How fast will we get there? Check back with us often to find out and to learn more about our work there.

In addition to following our progress here, you can keep tabs on us on Twitter at twitter.com/C_C_F where we will tag our walking entries with #WorldWalk. Please join us!