Tag Archives: On the Road

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 with Children Incorporated, 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 more affluent neighborhoods. This was something I didn’t often see in underdeveloped or developing countries.

Centro Primavera offers mothers courses 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 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 children of these mothers a place to get tutoring support and play inside and 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 received 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 had created 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

Easing the Burden on Families in Santiago

Spanning over 2,000 miles of South America’s western coastline, with deserts in the north, rainforests in the south, and the snowcapped peaks of the Andes Mountains ranging throughout, Chile is a stunning country.

Children with disabilities receive support thanks to the Handicapped Children’s Center.

Yet despite its natural beauty and reputation as politically progressive when it comes to human rights, Chile suffers from excessive inflation and an ever-increasing unemployment rate. Due to these economic realities, millions of Chileans are desperately poor.

A big telethon in Chile

The anguish typically associated with poverty becomes even starker when impoverished families are caring for a disabled child, such as the families with children at our affiliated project, the Handicapped Children’s Center in Santiago.

Thankfully, children with various disabilities receive treatment and support in an educational environment and help from their sponsors at the Center.  Without the much-needed aid the Center provides, disabled children and their families would have nowhere to turn to receive services and resources they so desperately need.

Beyond support from our sponsorship program, the Handicapped Children’s Center receives funding year-round thanks to Teleton, Chile. Teleton is a charity event held in various locations around the country in the first week of December. During the event, Chilean television networks hold a 27-hour telethon to raise money to help children with developmental disabilities. Since its inception in 1978, over $286 million has been raised, and 13 rehabilitation centers have been built all around Chile. It is the world’s most-watched telethon.

Because the Handicapped Children’s Center is a well-funded organization, it provides children and young adults up to age twenty years old medical care and therapy for free.

Free care for kids in need

Because the Handicapped Children’s Center is a well-funded organization, it provides children and young adults up to age twenty years old medical care and therapy for free. The Center is equipped to provide care and support to children suffering from the effects of polio, congenital disabilities, Downs Syndrome, and other mental and physical handicaps.

Located in a wing of a local hospital in Santiago called Teleton. Teleton is a large, modern building, comprised of examination rooms, physical therapy, a swimming pool, and a center for making prosthetic aids, which are provided to children free of charge. the Handicapped Children’s Center is the rehabilitation wing of the hospital. Transportation to and from the facility, when needed, is also offered at no cost to families.

New surgery techniques are helping disabled children in Chile to walk normally again.

The staff includes physical therapists, orthopedists, podiatrists, neurosurgeons, urologists, dentists, occupational therapists, teachers, psychologists, social workers, nurses, audiologists, and a full prosthetic staff. The Center emphasizes self-care and independence in its therapy, and families are encouraged to play an active role in the children’s rehabilitation. The goal is to prepare the Center’s participants to become entirely independent at school, at home, in the workforce, and society. Able children attend local public schools to do so, and those who are not able to due to their disabilities are educated at the Center.

Helping children to walk

The support children receive at the Handicapped Children’s Center is individualized involving physical and recuperative therapy as well as psychiatric. Children also enjoy arts programs as a part of their participatory therapy. Doctors, nurses, technicians and nurses are available with access to robotics technology, providing the best possible support for maximum recovery.

Additionally, special new surgery techniques have been performed on children with physical limitations so they may walk normally. Recently, three children that are enrolled in the Children Incorporated program have benefited from the surgery with staggering results.

Along with the care they receive at the Center, sponsored children receive school supplies, food, and clothing and transportation allowances so they can participate in regular therapy sessions. Over the years, children and their parents have expressed gratitude for the support they received from sponsors as it lowered the family burden on treatment expenses.

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How do I sponsor a child in Chile?

You can sponsor a child in Chile 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 Chile 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.

New Teachers with Fresh Ideas in Chile

Our affiliated project, the Maipu Center, is located on the outskirts of Chile’s capital city, Santiago. Santiago lies nestled between the towering Andes Mountains to the east and a smaller, coastal range to the west. Nearly five million people — more than a third of the country’s population — reside here, many of which are underprivileged Chilean families.

Concentrated in the city’s southern and northwestern regions, the slums of Santiago are home to impoverished children who are forced to live in makeshift dwellings or deficient public housing. Many of their parents work in the service industry or for small businesses, making low-wages with very little chance for upward mobility.

Helping families in need

The Maipu Center was founded over 80 years ago by a Roman Catholic congregation of women, the Daughters of St. Joseph. Today, 70% of students at the center are from families living below the Chilean poverty line. Without the support of the Maipu Center, or their Children Incorporated sponsors, these children would not have the chance to receive a quality education, which is the key to helping them break the cycle of poverty in which they live.

Functioning as a private school and community center, the center is a spacious, well-kept complex of buildings comprised of classrooms, a kitchen, a dining hall, a church and a community room for activities. Students receive two nutritious meals a day. In addition to standard academic courses, children also take dance and aerobics classes.

Improved academics and new energy 

During a visit to the Maipu Center, Children Incorporated Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, and International Projects Specialist, Kristen Walthall, were excited to find that the school academics have improved over the years — thanks to the support of a recently hired energetic principal and new, young teachers who are bringing more knowledge of technology and modern methods of education to the school.

“The school’s new principal has renovated all practices and academics in the school, implementing a new information technology department, as well as music and arts departments,” explained Luis.

Thanks to their sponsors, children are not only receiving help while in school but outside of school as well. With the children’s basic needs met, their parents don’t have to worry as much about affording these necessary items.

“Sponsored children are benefiting greatly from these changes, and according to the principal, they are doing better academically because of the new school’s new programs and the enthusiasm of the staff.”

On top of receiving a great deal of support from the Maipu Center administration, children enrolled in our program also benefit from their sponsors. Sponsorship funds are used to help cover school fees; to provide school supplies, book bags and daily snacks; as well as to purchase clothing.

Thanks to their sponsors, children are not only receiving help while in school but outside of school as well. With the children’s basic needs met, their parents don’t have to worry as much about affording these necessary items.

Still more do accomplish in the future

Although an academically progressive school, the principal expressed to Luis that he still struggled to find local funding for operating costs. Still, he wasn’t going to let it get in the way of him giving children every opportunity they deserved to succeed.

Before Luis left, the principal talked about his desire to remodel some of the classrooms, as well as cover the playground area with a roof so it can be used during the summer and winter months for outdoor activities.

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How do I sponsor a child in Chile?

You can sponsor a child in Chile 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 Chile that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Escaping a Poor Education

In the town of Santa Tecla, located six miles west of El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador, our affiliated project, the Marillac School is providing children with the opportunity to receive an education — and a quality one at that.

Communities and schools around the world face barriers in providing children with a quality education.

Founded in 1940 by the Sisters of the Order of St. Vincent de Paul, the school serves as not only an escape from the harsh realities local students face growing up in poverty but an escape from poor public education or no education at all.

Considered a semi-private institution, the administrators of the Marillac School — with sponsorship support from the Children Incorporated program — work hard to ensure that kids are receiving basic needs and the best education that they can provide. This gives our sponsored and unsponsored children the opportunity to succeed.

What constitutes poor education?

Children at the Marillac School during recreation time

Communities and schools around the world face barriers to providing children with a quality education. Lack of adequate funding to educational institutions can lead to overcrowded classrooms with little or no resources for students. Untrained teachers, lack of proper food and improper classroom facilities can also significantly affect children’s ability to learn.

The consequences of an inadequate education

What are the consequences of an inadequate education? Poor education can lead to illiteracy. It also inhibits children from qualifying for higher education or being prepared to join the workforce later in life. Children who aren’t properly education tend to be less healthy than those who do and are susceptible to turning towards crime and remaining in poverty in adulthood.

A better chance at a future

For impoverished children around the world, like those at the Marallic School, the benefits of quality education are tremendous.

Higher quality of education are associated with positive outcomes such as better health and well-being and a greater interest in politics and social issues. Students who attend quality schools gain a competitive advantage at getting jobs upon graduation, which can lead to a higher income and the chance for a family to break the cycle of poverty. Quality education also can discourage crime because when educated, children feel a sense of hope and opportunity for a brighter future for themselves and their loved ones.

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How do I sponsor a child in El Salvador?

You can sponsor a child in El Salvador 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 El Salvador that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD