They Are Our Future
Children are among the most vulnerable to the hardships of living in poverty. Often their life circumstances deny them proper nutrition, a safe and sanitary environment, and basic education.
We support vulnerable children at all levels of their growth by improving access to education, training teachers and care givers, and helping families afford school fees and supplies. In urban areas, we help children and youth reach their potential through school and after-school programs. Globally, we have established centers for children without a family where their emotional and physical needs are met and their futures nurtured.
The Inspired Girl
More than a year ago, a bright-eyed and slender nine-year-old girl named Malee* was offered refuge at Keep Girls Safe (KGS), a shelter in the rural district of Chiang Rai, run by ADRA in Thailand.
“Her mom didn’t want her and local villagers couldn’t keep her,” said Sunita, KGS project coordinator who recalled Malee’s first day.
Prior to KGS, Malee’s life was hard and unsettling. Her mother had no money and a home in which to live. To ensure her survival, Maleeʼs mother resorted to prostitution. Malee was born and grew up with her mother living back and forth between the slums of Phuket and Chiang Rai.
“When Malee and her mother moved in with a guy, he was disgusted by Malee and demanded she be kicked out. Maleeʼs mother would leave her daughter outside, even in the rain. She developed a habit of wetting the bed and was beaten and scolded for something she had no control over,” said Titi, the social worker.
When Maleeʼs mother was pregnant again, she asked an older couple in a local village to take care of Malee. She promised to send them money to care for Malee but was not heard from again. The older couple had seven children and did not have enough food to feed everyone. At times, Malee was left to fend for food in trash cans, steal food from the temple sacrifices, or beg.
Realizing Malee’s misfortune, the village leaders tried to find foster families for her. Meanwhile, she became friends with a boy whose father was an alcoholic and drug addict.
“The more times she spent with the boy the more bad habits she picked up,” said the social worker. “She often looked dirty and smelled and after living with four families in a few short months, no one wanted to keep her.”
“The village leaders got in touch with KGS and pleaded for Malee to be taken,” Sunita recalled.
When she first arrived, Malee acted out, would hit staff and other girls at the shelter. She wouldn’t take baths and refused to clean her room. She also kept dead bugs in her drawers and allowed them to rot and smell. When it rained heavily, Malee would scream and cry because of what her mother did to her.
While Malee may have found shelter with the Keep Girls Safe staff, her journey to healing is far from over.
No girl deserves to go through what Malee has. Malee deserves to know that her future will be better than her past. You can give Malee a safe and successful future.
Malee’s life is still uncertain and far from easy. While many of the other girls in the shelter receive visits from their family, Malee remains alone. Her mother never visits or even calls
Will you give a Christmas gift to someone like Malee? Click here to donate.
*Malee’s name has been changed for her protection
Three months ago, Esa was wasting away from a lack of food. Due to nationwide instability, there was little in the small Yemeni village of Al-Noba for the one-year-old to eat. Though the rest of his family also suffered from hunger, little Esa suffered most of all. His arms were thin, his baby fat was gone, and his former playfulness was replaced by lethargy and fatigue.
“It was indescribable,” his mother, Aswan, said. “I felt pain from the bottom of my heart because I could do nothing to help him.”
When ADRA came to his village to assess the need, they found starving families and malnourished children. Esa was among those sent to a clinic for hungry little ones just like him. There, he was given medication and a special dietary program designed to combat malnourishment. In addition, his family was selected as beneficiaries of the food basket program, which provides those in need with rice, milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, and sugar.
Now, little Esa isn’t so little anymore. Thanks to this lifesaving intervention, the toddler is growing day by day, playing like other children, and can get back to being a kid again.
We met Jennifer and her family just a few months ago. They are in the middle of a food crisis in Kenya. When we heard her story our hearts went out to her.
Jennifer lives in West Pokot, right in the middle of a severe famine. There is hunger everywhere in the area and when we visited it was very apparent. As we drove the few kilometers to Jennifer’s village, we saw three dead cows by the road.
Jennifer takes care of her children and four grandchildren. The youngest, little Joshua, is just 4 years old.
Here is what she said about their situation: “I had eight children; six of them died. All of them died under the age of 5. I was troubled by the fact that my children died, one after another. I couldn’t understand why.”
Jennifer then explained how her daughter Paulina never got married but had four children of her own and left them with Jennifer to take care of: “One day she left us and never came back. She died in December of 2015, and the children are with me.”
“I survive by collecting stones and selling them to trucks that will use them to build things when needed. When there is no one who buys stones and I can’t sell anything, we go hungry. I have gone one month without selling anything so I have been forced to beg to survive.”
“We had a little porridge yesterday, today we have eaten nothing. I will ask our neighbors and hope they will be able to give us something to eat. My children and grandchildren have lost weight and are getting really skinny. One of them was malnourished when she was born and she still is. When there is nothing to eat at home I try to give them some hot water with a little sugar to fill their stomachs. They cry when there is no food.”
Jennifer looked into the eyes of my ADRA colleague and poured out her heart. “Not having the ability to feed your own children is awful; it paralyzes you mentally,” she shared. “I keep on asking myself, How will life treat my children? There is no food and I can’t stop thinking about how my children will survive. Last night I slept for three hours, from 9 to midnight; then I woke up and couldn’t stop thinking, How am I going to get food for my children? I still don’t have any answer.”
Families like Jennifer’s need your help. Children are their most vulnerable between the ages of 0 to 5 years old. Jennifer knows the pain of losing not one, not two, not three, but six children before the age of 5. Please give to save the lives of other children like Jennifer’s around the world.
The Inspired Girl
The Inspired Girl
10 year-old Genet is a third grade student who lives with her poor peasant parents in Gubeta Arjo Kebele of Ethiopia and attends the Gubeta Arjo Primary School. She has a strong interest in learning and wishes to become a teacher in the future. However, due to a lack of awareness from her parents, the surrounding community and the school community, she did not feel supported or empowered to realize her dreams of becoming a teaching.
ADRA Ethiopia’s Strengthening Equity and Access to Quality Education (SEAQE) project trains teachers and school management committees on the significance of empowering girls through education. In addition to this, an advocacy campaign was carried out in this region to increase the awareness of the local community about this issue.
For Genet the school supplies her with educational materials and her teacher provides tutorial classes for both Genet and her peers with particular attention given to reading. This has motivated Genet to be a more active student during group activities. These special aids have enabled Genet to become alert and diligent in her learning.
As a result of this her academic performance has shown a remarkable improvement with her coming first in the whole class with a score of 99.5% in the first semester of this year.
Genet says thank you to ADRA Ethiopia and the NORAD SEAQE project which played a big role in increasing her academic performance. It is her wish that this support continues to extend to all girls in her community.
The Strengthening Equity and Access to Quality Education (SEAQE) project is funded by NORAD and ADRA Norway.