Tag Archives: children

Head of the Class in Peru

Located along South America’s central-western coast, Peru comprises arid Pacific coastlands, spectacular mountain ranges and the vast Amazon rainforest. This land has been home to indigenous peoples for thousands of years, including the Inca Empire, the culture that constructed Peru’s most iconic landmark, Machu Picchu.

Peru’s rich culture, breathtaking beauty, and wealth of natural resources, however, belie the abject poverty in which many of its residents live. Many rural areas are still recovering from the Sendero Luminoso terrorist attacks of the 1990s, which claimed countless lives and caused thousands of families who had relied on agriculture for generations to seek shelter in large cities where they encountered even deeper poverty.

A safe place for girls

While Peru as a whole suffers from high unemployment, hyperinflation and all the difficulties that poverty entails, problems like disease, malnutrition and crime are most pronounced in its overcrowded urban areas. These problems are the worst in the nation’s capital, Lima, where our affiliated project, the Puente Piedra Girls’ Home, is located.

Established by an order of nuns, the home offers girls ages five to twenty-two shelter and a safe place to receive a quality education all within the same vicinity. Today, the Puente Piedra Girls’ Home serves over a thousand children in kindergarten through twelfth grade and is run by a dedicated staff of educators — many of whom grew up in our sponsorship program.

Seeing Lima for the first time

When International Director of Programs, Luis Bourdet, and I arrived in Peru, we made our way to the Puente Piedra neighborhood to meet with our volunteer coordinator, Sister Ana Maria.

Located about an hour’s drive outside of the center of Lima, the extreme poverty in the sprawling urban areas was apparent just from looking out the window of the moving taxi.  Small shacks made of wood and corrugated tin towered above the highway perched dusty hills. For these low-income families, their only option was to build homes without permission in places where no one else wanted to live. As these communities became more established, locals would then ban together to collect money to build roads or towering staircases leading up to houses — things that the government might otherwise do if these shantytowns were legally recognized.

When we arrived at Puente Piedra, Ana Maria took us on a tour of the beautiful facility. Well-kept dormitories were divided by age groups, and a house mother was assigned to each dorm to look after the children. An adjacent school offered classrooms, a library and a computer lab. The spacious grounds also had plenty of places for girls to play, with trees and gardens surrounding all the school buildings.

No other place to go

Ana Maria explained to Luis and me that many of these girls come from homes where they are neglected because either they have no immediate family to take care of them or their families are so poor they cannot feed and clothe their children properly.

For these girls, living full time at Puente Piedra allows them to thrive under circumstances under which they otherwise would have ]  not been able to attend school and prevents them from experiencing the poverty their parents’ experience. Even on school holidays, most of the girls stay at the home, having no reason to return to their families where they would have nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep.

Former sponsored children the next generation

We made our way to the school administration offices, which are centered among basketball and volleyball courts, where hundreds of students were enjoying recess.

As we approached the principal’s office, a teacher arrived and introduced herself as a former sponsored child. Luis and I were pleased to meet her, listening to her talk about her fond memories of her sponsors, even remembering their name after more than 30 years.

A moment later, another teacher appeared and greeted us as a former sponsored child as well. Before I knew it, we were surrounded by ten administrators — including the principal — who had all been in the Children Incorporated program.

For these women, the motivation and encouragement, as well as the financial support they received from the sponsors, gave them a reason to stay in school, graduate, continue onto higher education, and return to Puente Piedra to lead other girls to success.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN PERU?

You can sponsor a child in Peru in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Peru that is available for sponsorship.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility, commonly referred to as CSR, is a business model that helps companies, both big and small, be socially accountable to themselves, its stakeholders, and the public. It is a practical and socially conscious way for companies to give back to society.

Corporate social responsibility initiatives that support children in need are an important part of giving back to your community and the world.

There are typically four types of CSR:

–    environmental sustainability initiatives

–    direct philanthropic giving

–    ethical business practices

–    economic responsibility

Pyramid of corporate social responsibility

The modern definition of CSR is derived from the book, “Pyramid of Corporate Responsibility,” by Archie Carroll, a well-known business professor at the University of Georgia.

In his book, Carroll states that, within this pyramid, a corporation has four types of responsibilities. The first is the economic responsibility to be profitable. The second is the legal responsibility to obey the law. The third is the ethical responsibility to do what is right, even when not legally required, and the fourth is the philanthropic responsibility to give back to society for social, educational, recreational and/or cultural purposes.

Common examples of CSR

  • Reducing carbon footprints
  • Improving labor policies
  • Participating in Fairtrade
  • Charitable giving
  • Volunteering in the community
  • Implementing corporate policies that benefit the environment
  • Engaging in socially and environmentally conscious investments

Benefits of corporate social responsibility

CSR is not only beneficial for society; it’s also beneficial for corporations and their employees as well.

A few benefits of CSR include:

  • better brand recognition
  • positive business reputation
  • increased sales and customer loyalty
  • greater ability to attract talent and retain staff
  • increased creativity within the workplace

CSR supporting children in need

Corporate social responsibility initiatives that support children in need are an important part of giving back to your community and the world.

By partnering with us as a corporate sponsor, you help meet the needs of the children we serve so that they may grow, learn and have the opportunities in life that they deserve. Additionally, our organization can promote the partnership to increase your company’s brand recognition.

Most often, companies choose to sponsor a whole project rather than individual children. This approach allows a company to have a significant impact on the lives of many children and even on whole communities. We aim to work with you as a team to bring basic needs assistance and programs that teach self-sustainability to children and communities in need.

Corporate social responsibility examples that support children

Our work supports children around the world. Over the past years, corporate partners have allowed us to:

Internationally:

–    Support five feeding programs serving over 300 children in the Philippines, Kenya and Ethiopia

–    Fund the construction of housing in Honduras

–    Purchase 600 pairs of shoes for children in Latin America

–    Provide 1800 mosquito nets for children in Kenya

–    Build a roof over a school playground to protect children from harsh weather in El Salvador

–    Implement a food preparation skills training program in Bolivia and a dressmaking program in Guatemala

–    Construct a classroom equipped with audio-video equipment in Argentina

–    Improve the infrastructure of a girls’ home in India including upgrades to the kitchen, halls, dorms, bathrooms and the roof

United States:

–     Provide backpacks full of food for children to take home on the weekends in New Mexico, Arizona and Kentucky

–    Assist with beds for children in need in our Appalachian and Urban Division

–    Purchase equipment for a STEAM Lab in Eastern Kentucky

–    Send children to a district-wide summer arts camp in Kentucky

–    Purchase iPads for children in Kentucky

–    Provide audiobooks and matching paperbacks for students in Arizona

If your company is interested in partnering with Children Incorporated to begin or expand your engagement in CSR, contact us today. Together, we can change the lives of children living in poverty and give them education, hope and opportunity.

Call our office at 1-800-538-5381 to speak with one of our staff members or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

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Changing Lives through Garment Making in Colombia

Its modern history begins at the end of the fifteenth century, when Christopher Columbus and the first Spanish explorers arrived in the region, subsequently establishing the area’s first successful Spanish settlement in 1508. Spanish colonization continued for over 400 years. In the mid-nineteenth century, Colombia gained its independence and established itself as South America’s first constitutional government.

However, political instability in the mid-to-late twentieth century led to the uprising of guerilla groups, sparking violence throughout the country. Tragically, children were often the victims of terrible inhumanities and social injustices. Kidnappings, human trafficking, recruitment as soldiers into paramilitary groups and forcible participation in drug-trafficking rings became common realities for vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

Situated in the northwestern corner of South America, Colombia is rich in natural beauty, comprising rugged Andean mountains, lowland plains, sprawling Amazon rainforest and coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

With civil unrest a part of Colombia’s past since 2016, the country is safer than it once was, yet many families still live in poverty. Thankfully, our affiliated project, the Rondon Center in Bogotá, offers mothers of our sponsored children an opportunity to earn money at the Center’s garment factory, Creaciones Miquelina, while also providing basic needs, thanks to our sponsorship program.

Seeing Bogotá for the first time

Sponsored children receive bags of food to take home regularly.

Our trip to visit the Rondon Center was my first to the city of Bogotá, Colombia’s capital. Traveling with Children Incorporated’s Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, our plan was to meet our volunteer coordinator, Sister Diana, at the Rondon Center, and then visit a few homes before taking a tour of Creaciones Miquelina.

We arrived in Colombia on a Sunday, and traffic was light as we drove through the city making our way to the Center. I found the outskirts of Bogotá to be surprisingly modern, with shopping malls, high-rise apartment buildings and large green spaces for locals to exercise and walk their dogs.

Once we got further into the city, Bogotá began to feel familiar to other South American cities I have visited — with one big exception. Colonial-era architecture and spacious plazas were abundant, yet they had been covered with either graffiti or large, colorful murals. The lines between vandalism and artistic expression were blurred, as it seemed as though every building was painted in some manner. I couldn’t determine in many instances which paintings were planned and which were done illegally, but I felt that they added to Bogotá’s charm as a visually striking city.

Getting to know the Rondon Center

Named after the Rondon neighborhood in which it resides, the Rondon Center is home to a group of Sisters who run Creaciones Miquelina.

When we pulled through the Center’s front gates, I first noticed how nice the grounds were kept. Flower gardens with benches and fountains were found both outside and inside the Center, connected by paths that made for a serene setting.

As we got out of the car, Sister Diana greeted us warmly and quickly motioned for us to come upstairs with her. Our sponsored children and their mothers were waiting for us — they had planned a presentation to welcome us to Colombia.

When we entered a large recreation room on the second floor, the children were sitting quietly in plastic chairs next to their mothers, patiently awaiting our arrival.

Luis and I sat down, and then the children took turns performing skits. The stories the children told through their acting were ones of danger — drugs, kidnapping and prostitution. The subject matter seemed rather mature considering how young some of the children were, but I quickly realized that in Colombia, they were lessons that needed to be taught at the youngest of ages. The realities that children face living in impoverished neighborhoods are harsh, and the Sisters at the Rondon Center want to make sure children understand their self-worth so they don’t end up down a dark path later in life — a dark path that many of their mothers had to work hard to get away from.

After the presentations, the Sisters handed out bags of food for the children to take home thanks to donations from their sponsors. They excitedly looked through the bags, holding up boxes of cereal and dry spaghetti, olive oil and flour. Luis and I chatted with some of the mothers for a few brief moments before the group eagerly departed so they could return to their Sunday afternoon family activities.

Working from home

After the children and their mothers left, Sister Diana took Luis and me to visit a few homes of our sponsored children. Like in many places in Latin America, poor families tend to live up in the hills, away from the city and the services that are offered to wealthier residents. Often times, it is the only place they can afford to have a little piece of land for themselves, even if it means their children are miles away from schools or community centers.

One of the homes we visited was of a little boy in our program who lives with his single mother and two sisters. Their small living room was occupied by a sofa, chair, two sewing machines and a tall shelf full of spools of thread and folded fabric.

As we stood talking, the boy’s mother explained that she started working in the garment factory at the Rondon Center and saved enough money to buy her own machines. Now, the company she works for delivers the fabric to her and comes and picks up the finished pieces each week when she has completed them.

The realities that children face living in impoverished neighborhoods are harsh, and the Sisters at the Rondon Center want to make sure children understand their self-worth so they don’t end up down a dark path later in life — a dark path that many of their mothers had to work hard to get away from.

She told us that over the years she has earned enough money to add an extension to her home while also getting to be home with her children in the afternoon and evenings. She proudly showed us some of the shirts she created and beamed when she told us that her son was one of the top students in his class.

Creaciones Miquelina

The next morning, Luis and I returned to the Rondon Center where Sister Diana offered Luis and me a tour of the Creaciones Miquelina. Established in 1977 by a Colombian nun named Esther Castaño Mejia, Creaciones Miquelina started with just a few sewing machines to offer help to women rescued from the streets. The workshop began by providing training so women could apply for jobs in other factories. Today, Creaciones Miquelina has grown to employ and train hundreds of women each year to work in their factory while providing daily meals to their children.

As we toured the factory, Sister Diana showed us where the garments were cut, where the designs for clothes were created and where the administration offices were located. Windows from the second floor overlooked the factory where roughly a hundred women were busy at work.

The entire operation was impressive, and knowing these women otherwise would have had no chance at learning skills they needed to take care of their families made our visit to the Miquelina that much more special.

HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN COLOMBIA?

You can sponsor a child in Colombia in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Colombia that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Transforming Mothers in Medellín

When our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, and I first arrived in Medellín, Colombia, I noticed a striking difference from our visit to the capital city of Bogotá. Unlike many other cities that I have visited in South America, Medellín’s level of poverty and destitution was present even in the most well-off areas of town. As we drove from the airport to downtown Medellín, I was surprised to see homeless people living on the streets — even in the moreso affluent neighborhoods. This was something I didn’t often see in underdeveloped or developing countries.

Centro Primavera offers courses to mothers so they can graduate from high school and training so they can gain the skills they need to obtain employment.

We arrived in the early evening and planned to meet with our volunteer coordinator, Piedad, and her assistant, Manuela, outside of the San Pedro neighborhood, where our affiliated project, Centro Primavera, is located.

We arrived at a small, downtown Medellín restaurant where we joined Piedad and Manuela, who were already waiting for us. Piedad explained that she has been with Centro Primavera for 25 years. The organization operates in one of the tougher neighborhoods in the city — where drug use and crime are prevalent, and many impoverished women are forced to work in prostitution to make money to support their children.

Piedad is pictured outside of Centro Primavera with a few of our sponsored children.

Piedad’s primary goal is to help get these young women and mothers off the street. Centro Primavera offers them courses so they can graduate from high school and training so they can gain the skills they need to obtain employment. Other programs at the Center are geared towards providing the children of these mothers a place to receive tutoring support and play inside, away from the violence and drug abuse that is rampant in their neighborhood.

A place for mothers and children

The next day, we met Piedad at Centro Primavera in the early morning. She took us on a tour of the facility, which serves children both as a daycare center and an afterschool enrichment center. Children ranging from infancy to eighteen receive nutritious food and medical care.

The older children enjoy arts and crafts, dance classes and games in one of the many recreation rooms available for their use. The Center also has a full library on the first floor, a kitchen on the second floor and private offices where women and children receive psychological support.

Stories of My Neighborhood

“Relatos de mi Barrio” was created by Centro Primavera staff members to help the community understand the Center’s mission.

After taking the tour of the buildings, Luis and I had the chance to sit down with some of the mothers and hear more about the programs that Centro Primavera offers. The Center focuses on four programs: skills training in such areas as cosmetology, computers, baking and leatherwork; prevention of abuse; women’s rights education; and sustainability and resources for the institution to continue with its work.

The fourth program is called “Memory and Identity,” which focuses on providing information about the San Pedro neighborhood to the local community and authorities so that there can be a plan of action as to how to handle issues that arise. Piedad shared with us a book that she wrote called “Relatos de mi Barrio,” which tells the history of San Pedro and how Centro Primavera has had a positive impact on the community over the years.

It was apparent to both Luis and me that Piedad works hard for the mothers and the children at the Center. She is incredibly grateful for the Children Incorporated sponsorship program which offers basic needs to kids and gives them a sense of encouragement and pride from their sponsors. She would love to get more children enrolled in our program – at the time of our visit, more than twenty children were available for sponsorship.

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How do I sponsor a child in Colombia?

You can sponsor a child in Colombia in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Colombia that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Welfare in the Wake of Disaster

Built in response to the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras more than twenty years ago, our affiliated project El Refugio Welfare Center continues to support children in the rural town of El Progreso to this day.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch claimed thousands of lives, causing catastrophic flooding and landslides. It remains the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, causing over 11,000 fatalities in Central America — 7,000 of those being in Honduras alone. The damage was so extensive that the Honduran president estimated that the storm set the nation’s economic development back 50 years.

Recovering after devastation

Over the last two decades, the progress of rebuilding homes and schools in El Progreso has been very slow. Residents still grapple with the aftershocks of homelessness, disease and heightened poverty.

Yet despite the difficulties, local children who attend the El Refugio Welfare Center can rely on support from administrators — as well as their Children Incorporated sponsors — for a consistent supply of food, clothing and educational materials.

Yet despite the difficulties, local children who attend the El Refugio Welfare Center can rely on support from administrators — as well as their Children Incorporated sponsors — for a consistent supply of food, clothing and educational materials.

A special thank-you

At our office in Richmond, Virginia, we often receive pictures and video updates from our volunteer coordinators about the impact that sponsorship has on children in our program. Sometimes, these personal communications from our affiliated projects are simply just a way to say “thank-you” to our sponsors for all that they do to help children in need.

Recently, our volunteer coordinator at El Refugio sent a short video of our sponsored children to thank us — as well as all of our supporters — for twenty-years of changing the lives of kids in Honduras. We at Children Incorporated are equally grateful that, thanks to our donors and supporters, we can hopefully continue to support children at El Refugio for the next twenty years.

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How do I sponsor a child in Honduras?

You can sponsor a child in Honduras in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child who is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

 

Understanding Child Poverty: Facts and Statistics

Updated: January 2020

Poverty means more than a lack of income. It also means a lack of resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods, such as food, clothing, clean water and proper shelter.

Poverty has many detrimental outcomes for children — hunger and malnutrition, ill-health, limited or a lack of access to education and other basic services. When children are raised in impoverished households, they often have to drop out of school to help their families or don’t attend school at all. Without an education, they have very little chance of breaking the cycle of poverty in which they live.

385 million children around the world live in poverty.

Poverty can cause children permanent damage, both physically and mentally, and in both the short and long term. A lack of essentials can stunt their growth, cause them to fall behind in school, and lead to health problems for them. It also affects their roles within their families, communities, and society as a whole. Poverty denies children their human rights, and it leads to a vicious cycle of deprivation, which is difficult to break without proper support or assistance.

Global poverty facts

– According to the World Bank, 385 million children around the world live in poverty

– Every year, 3.1 million children die (8,500 children per day) due to poor nutrition

– 1 in 4 children is living in poverty in the world’s richest countries

– 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat

– 80% of the world’s population lives on the equivalent of less than $10 a day

– Almost half the world — over three billion people — lives on less than $2.50 a day

– According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty

National poverty facts

 – About 15 million children in the United States, or 21%, live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold

– There are 72.4 million children in the United States; 41% of them live in low-income families

– Almost 40% of American kids spend at least 1 year in poverty before they turn 18

There are 72.4 million children in the United States; 41% of them live in low-income families

– The estimated percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure in 2015 is 12.7% (15.8 million households, or approximately 1 in 8 households)

– Children living in poverty have a higher rate of absenteeism or leave school altogether because they are more likely to have to work or care for family members

– Students who come from low-income families are 7 times more likely to drop out of school than those from families with higher incomes 

What Children Incorporated does to help alleviate childhood poverty

Children Incorporated provides basic necessities such as food, clothing, healthcare, and educational support to children living in poverty in the U.S. and abroad. These essentials, so often taken for granted, are vital to a child’s growth and success in school. Each year, we give thousands of impoverished children all over the world a chance at a better life.

How you can help

You can help a child living in poverty in a few different ways. One is through our child sponsorship program. Our sponsorship program does more than just feed or clothe a child; for $30 a month, you not only help meet the basic and critical needs of a child, but you also make an investment in their future.

Our policy has always been to consider the needs of each sponsored child on an individual basis. We work closely with our volunteer coordinators at our project sites, who are familiar with each individual circumstance, and the needs of every child in their care. Sponsorship donations are sent to our projects – orphanages, homes, community centers, and schools – at the beginning of each month in the form of subsidy stipends. Our on-site volunteer coordinators use these funds to purchase basic and education-related items for children in our program, to ensure that they have what they need to do their very best and succeed in school.

For $30 a month, you not only help meet the basic and critical needs of a child, but you also make an investment in their future.

You can also help children in need by donating to one of our special funds. Our special funds offer a variety of giving options for sponsors who wish to further their support, as well as for donors who wish to make a difference without making a commitment.

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References:

http://nccp.org/topics/childpoverty.html

http://nccp.org/publications/pub_1194.html

United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME). “UNICEF: Committing to Child Survival: A promise renewed.” UNICEF, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2015.

https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/65766/2000369-Child-Poverty-and-Adult-Success.pdf

http://www.feedingamerica.org/assets/pdfs/fact-sheets/child-hunger-fact-sheet.pdf

https://ourworldindata.org/children-and-poverty-results-from-new-data

https://borgenproject.org/10-facts-children-living-poverty/

https://www.unicef.org/sowc05/english/povertypossible.html

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated in one of three ways – call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.