Save the Children Federation

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children. Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.
May 28, 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo Gears Up to Fight Child Hunger in Guatemala with the Help of Some Goats

Goats improve the future for a family in need.
Goats improve the future for a family in need.
Real Madrid football star Cristiano Ronaldo is kicking off 2013 as Save the Children's new Global Artist Ambassador. In his new role, Cristiano will fight child hunger and obesity, and promote physical activity and healthy eating. "When I learned that 1 in 7 kids around the world go to bed hungry each night, I jumped at the chance to get involved," said Ronaldo. 
Chronic hunger impair children's development and leaves them vulnerable to deadly disease. Children are more likely to be healthy and educated when their families are not worried about where the next meal will come from. To help parents fight hunger and malnutrition, Save the Children's programs focus on improving the food supply, farming practices and finances of families in need.  In rural mountainous Guatemala, Save the Children is helping undernourished preschoolers grow and gain weight, and Ronaldo is gearing up to take on child hunger in Guatemala.
"See how @SavetheChildren is showing parents how to use goat milk to tackle child #hunger in Guatemala," he tweeted. Cristiano is referring to a goat milk program which is helping chronically malnourished Guatemalan children like four-year-old Isabella. "Parents want to do everything they can for their child. As a father, I can only imagine how Isabella's mother must have felt, knowing her child was not getting the nourishment she needed," said Cristiano Ronaldo. "Fortunately, Isabella's mother got good advice from Save the Children on how healthy foods like goat milk can help Isabella gain weight and grow. But not all parents get this guidance, and that is heartbreaking."

Save the Children's goat-raising center in Guatemala offers milk as a source of protein for undernourished children living in rural communities. Nearly half of all children under age 5 in Guatemala are chronically malnourished. In Quiche, a rural mountainous area about 165 kilometers outside of Guatemala City where Isabella lives, the number of chronically malnourished children climbs to more than 72 percent of under 5 children. One-year-olds are especially vulnerable once they stop breastfeeding and no longer get enough of the right proteins and nutrients in their daily diet.

"Healthy foods fuel the growth of a child's brain and body in their early years. Without them, children suffer life-long consequences — their growth is stunted, they are more susceptible to illness, they struggle to keep up and pay attention in school," said Carlos Carrazana, chief operating officer of Save the Children. "But when we reach children early on, we can change their future, and make sure they have a chance to reach their full potential."

Empowering Families to Tackle Child Hunger in Guatemala

Save the Children provides child hunger programs to families in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, an under-resourced area that is home to the country's ethnic minority community and where a high percentage of children are malnourished. In addition to the goat milk program, Save the Children counsels pregnant women, mothers and caretakers on how to breastfeed, and on how to help their kids be healthier and eat a better diet. Working with community volunteers and health workers, Save the Children reaches mothers through classes, home and health clinic visits, community fairs, community theater events and soccer tournaments.

Save the Children also advises families on how to grow more nutritious food, such as beans, corn, potatoes and vegetables, and how to raise animals for eggs, goat milk and meat. Families also learn how to increase their income through better marketing approaches and new business opportunities like horticulture and animal husbandry, which helps pay for food and other needs for their children.

"Look at beautiful Isabella today. She is a happy, healthier child," added Ronaldo. "I want her story of a life free from hunger to be the story of every Guatemalan child. That's a goal worth pursuing." 

May 28, 2013

Children in Somalia

Refugee boy from Somalia receives a meal
Refugee boy from Somalia receives a meal

As new figures reveal that 130,000 children under the age of five died in 2011's Somali famine and its aftermath, Save the Children has warned that the humanitarian situation for children in the country remains extremely serious.

Despite an improvement in food security since the peak of the famine, children continue to die because they don't have enough to eat. Save the Children is calling on the international community to maintain focus on combatting hunger in the war-torn country.

"These figures clearly show how children bear brunt of hunger crises. 130,000 children under the age of five lost their lives in a crisis that was predicted months in advance. We must never let that happen again, and we must recommit to helping the 2.7 million Somalis who remain in crisis," said Carolyn Miles, president & CEO of Save the Children. "While conditions in Somalia have improved in recent months, the country still has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition and infant mortality in the world."

"With next week's London Conference on Somalia, this is a timely reminder to the international community of the urgent need to refocus on the humanitarian situation in Somalia."

Last year, Save the Children and Oxfam launched A Dangerous Delay, a report that showed how the international community's slow response to the famine cost tens of thousands of lives. Save the Children continues to work across Somalia, providing life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable and helping families to strengthen their resistance to future shocks.

Your generous donations have helped  us provide food, water, education, child care and so much more for children and families affected by the food crisis in East Africa.

May 6, 2013

Update on children affected by disaster in China

Two sisters from a remote village in Baosheng town
Two sisters from a remote village in Baosheng town

It was not a typical Saturday for the children in Sichuan, China. Instead of enjoying a weekend morning, a 7.0 magnitude temblor rocked the province, causing buildings to collapse and roads to be blocked due to debris and landslides.

At least 180 people have been killed in the most affected areas of Ya’an and Lushan, children among them. Over 160,000 children are seriously affected. According to the UN, 99% of homes in Longmen Township have collapsed, and it is estimated that 245,000 people have evacuated their homes.  

Rescue workers dove straight into action, trying to pull as many people out of the rubble within the first 72 hours, also known as the golden hours for rescuing quake affected people. In Chengdu, where Save the Children’s closest field office is located, tremors were felt but little damage was sustained. Despite having families to care for as well, staff immediately arranged to go into the field to assess the damage and impact on the most vulnerable children and their families in the worst-affected areas of Ya’an and Lushan.

Roads have been blocked due to debris and landslides. Electrical lines are down and mobile communications signal poor in some areas. Wet weather has also been predicted by weather forecasters in the coming days. Mudslides and flash floods are also possible with heavy rain in the mountainous areas. Temperatures are expected to fall to as low as 13 degrees Celsius at night. 

It is going to be a very distressing period for young children, especially those who have been separated from their parents in the chaos, or who have lost their homes and playgrounds and had school interrupted. They will almost certainly require a safe place to play, learn and talk through their experience in order to regain a sense of normalcy again.

Save the Children is working around the clock to reach vulnerable children and their families. Staff, alongside government relief personnel, is on the ground providing immediate relief assistance. To date, we have reached nearly 900 people. We are working in remote and hard to reach villages in Longmen and Baosheng Townships, sometimes arriving on foot, providing household and hygienic items to displaced families in desperate need of basic supplies.

Beyond this immediate relief, we will be continuing to assess the needs to rehabilitate schools and families’ abilities to regain their livelihoods. Ensuring that children receive psychosocial support is also critical. Your support can help Save the Children set up a signature Child Friendly Space,  where more than 500 young girls and boys can play, socialize with each other, and participate in other supervised activities to help them recover and regain a sense of normalcy. 

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