At the core of our mission is creating innovative programs to create lasting change in the lives of children. One of these is HEART, Save the Children’s visionary education program, which brings the proven power of artistic expression to children in need around the world, helping them cope with traumatic events and learn the critical skills they need to reach their true potential. HEART changes children’s lives.
Save the Children has earned a global reputation for implementing state-of-the-art programs promoting the healthy development of some of the world’s most marginalized children. HEART is one of those programs. Based on extensive child development research proving that artistic expression has powerful therapeutic and educational value, especially for children in need, we aim to fully integrate HEART into all of our early childhood, education and emergency response programming.
We are creating something visionary — and through the power of the arts, achieving real and lasting change in children’s lives. HEART is designed especially for young children in need, ages 3-14. Children struggling to grow up, trapped in the cycle of extreme poverty and limited opportunity, often compounded by trauma, like an emergency, conflict, violence, or the loss of a parent or other loved ones to HIV/AIDS. Children – some so young they can’t articulate their pain – at risk of losing hope, without ever experiencing joy.Save the Children develops a culturally relevant, sustainable HEART curriculum to meet children’s unique needs within each community we serve. Then we train local teachers and other caregivers in the proven HEART approach, including:• guiding children in expressive arts activities• engaging the arts as a means for self-expression and critical skill development• recognizing and supporting children who need special help• involving children’s parents and communities in the process.
HEART embraces a variety of expressive arts forms. Our children draw, paint, sing, sculpt, act, dance, tell stories, write poetry, play music and more. We incorporate local arts traditions and use local arts resources. We also work with local partners and advocate with local governments for improved arts education.
HEART has been piloted in six places – El Salvador, Haiti, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal and the West Bank – changing the lives of more than 10,000 children, with remarkable results:• healing – Children develop the ability to express and regulate their emotions, improve self-control and self-esteem, recover and build resilience – so they’re ready to learn. • learning – Children develop the cognitive skills they need to learn – perception, attention, memory, logic and reasoning – in addition to language, social and physical skills.
Children who participate in HEART are consistently more expressive and engaged in learning. They like going to school and transition more successfully to higher levels of education. Some children experience hope, and even joy, for the first time in their lives.
Four-year-old Jazmine, of Queets, Washington’s Quinault Indian Reservation, is a lively little chatterbox and without a doubt the most charismatic kid in her preschool class. She takes the lead in games and activities, raises her hand first when her teacher asks a question and sits front and center during read-aloud sessions with Save the Children’s program coordinator, Tracie Kenney.
Jazmine’s enthusiasm has been part of her steady transformation— from a tentative to a tenacious learner—made possible by Save the Children’s early education programs in the United States. All told, we served 5,000 infants, toddlers and preschoolers and 15,000 parents, and will bring this much-needed program to another 1,000 children in the next year.
Of course, success begins in the home where families are at the frontline of education. Jazmine’s mother, Yvonne, actively sought out Save the Children’s program for her daughter, and family involvement is integral to children’s progress. Thanks to your generous support, Jazmine and thousands of other children in the United States have developed the necessary skills to succeed in school. “Jazmine is so chatty and social; as I’m sure you’ve noticed,” said her mother, Yvonne. “Whatever she does, it will be big.”
“One day I came across a list of books your child should read by a certain age,” said Jazmine’s mother, Yvonne (pictured with Jazmine). “I recognized most of the books because I read them to Jazmine. It made me so happy that my child was where she needed to be in her development.”
Parents Josh and Yvonne lack the means to drive 30 miles to the library. They depend on our program for their children’s books.
The Olympic rainforest surrounding Jazmine’s hometown of Queets, Washington, is in stark contrast with local families’ struggles to make ends meet.
Jazmine’s brothers, Adam, 2 (at left), and 5-month-old Hunter, are also enrolled in the early education program and showing progress. Tracie gives most of the credit to Jazmine’s mother. “I can tell that she takes everything I share with her to heart and puts it into practice,” said Tracie.
Save the Children’s Tracie Kenny is a central figure in Jazmine’s life, paying visits to her home since she was 2 years old and now working with Jazmine and other Quinault Indian Nation children through home visits and a Save the Children partnership at the local Head Start program.
Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth features the first-ever estimates of preterm birth rates by country and is authored by a broad group of 45 international multi-disciplinary experts from 11 countries, with almost 50 organizations in support. This report is written in support of all families who have been touched by preterm birth. This report is written in support of the Global Strategy for Women’s and children’s health and the efforts of every Woman every child, led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Premature babies can be saved now with feasible, cost-effective care• Historical data and new analyses show that deaths from preterm birth complications can be reduced by over three-quarters even without the availability of neonatal intensive care.• Inequalities in survival rates around the world are stark: half of the babies born at 24 weeks (4 months early) survive in high-income countries, but in low-income settings, half the babies born at 32 weeks (two months early) continue to die due to a lack of feasible, cost-effective care, such as warmth, breastfeeding support, and basic care for infections and breathing difficulties.• Over the last decade, some countries have halved deaths due to preterm birth by ensuring frontline workers are skilled in the care of premature babies and improving supplies of life-saving commodities and equipment.
Download the PDF to read this comprehensive report.
Authors: March of Dimes, PMNCH, Save the Children, WHO. Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth. Eds CP Howson, MV Kinney, JE Lawn. World Health Organization. Geneva, 2012.
Since 2001, Malawi has achieved a 29 percent decline in newborn deaths—from 19,000 per year to 17,000 per year in 2010. In those 10 years, Save the Children, with the support of its many donors, has made significant contributions toward this achievement.Teaching Others How to Save a LifeSave the Children and partners have trained and supported over 1,700 frontline health workers—often people with little formal education but who are respected in their communities. These health workers counsel mothers, detect life-threatening conditions in newborns and refer them to health facilities when necessary. Today, frontline health workers deliver community-based maternal and newborn care in nearly two-thirds of Malawi’s districts.Caring for a New BabyLocal customs can sometimes be at odds with what is best for baby and mother, which is why Save the Children promotes and teaches essential newborn care. It starts with prenatal care and includes checkups for newborns in the first two days after birth, when most newborns are at greatest risk. Frontline health workers also educate mothers and caregivers in how to care for their newborns. Today, essential newborn care provides the foundation for Save the Children’s newborn health programs in 18 countries.Saving Babies Born Too Early or Too Small“Kangaroo Mother Care” is the whimsical name for an effective way to care for low birth weight and preterm babies. Wrapping a baby skin-to-skin against its mother’s chest (like a kangaroo’s pouch), keeps it warm, encourages breastfeeding and bonding, and prevents infections. Save the Children has promoted Kangaroo Mother Care in Malawi since 2002, and today more than 100 health facilities use this approach. We are working with the government of Malawi to take this practice nationwide.Additional funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is allowingSave the Children to analyze results and lessons learned from Malawi’s decade-long program and continue to promote newborn health around the world.
Melinda Gates in MalawiIn 2010, Melinda Gates visited a district hospital supported by Save the Children in Dowa, Malawi, where Save the Children has trained frontline health workers. Here is a brief excerpt of her assessment of that visit.
“I also visited one of the cities there, Dowa, where the women are going into the facilities just as the government has told them. In fact, the women are going up to four weeks ahead of the birth of their baby. That’s really important because they are then avoiding birth complications that might happen to them out in the village or on the road. I met about 40 women who were waiting at the Dowa district hospital, and it was so interesting to talk to these women. They are such palpable evidence of the real impact these changes are having. And I literally saw mothers and babies that would not be alive today if it weren’t for the improvements that Malawi has been making in these areas.”
Listen to Melinda Gates’ complete impressions of her visit to Malawi atwww.gatesfoundation.org/videos.
Thanks to your support, Save the Children is inspiring breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and achieving immediate and lasting change in children’s lives by ensuring that they are safe, educated and healthy.
Raya, a 14-year-old Egyptian girl, had always dreamed of attending school, but her father did not believe that women should have a role outside of the home. While reaching manhood is an empowering transition for boys, in many parts of the world, womanhood is quite the opposite.
One hundred million girls in developing countries are taken out of school early to become wives and mothers, with the result that, globally, more than 529 million women are illiterate. This is a great waste of human potential, and the evidence strongly supports the fact that empowering adolescent girls is the key to lifting families out of poverty, empowering communities and perhaps changing the course of an entire nation.
Save the Children is opening doors for girls in more than 15 countries by increasing their access to education, sexual and reproductive health, and training in financial literacy and life skills. One successful program for girls is Ishraq in Egypt.
Ishraq (meaning ‘enlightenment’ in Arabic) is a “second chance” program for out-of-school adolescent girls, most of whom have never attended school or are illiterate. More than 1,000 girls who participate in Ishraq literacy classes are eager to learn: In 2010, 83 percent of the graduates passed the government literacy test and 67 percent entered formal education programs. Save the Children is now working to bring Ishraq to more than 300 youth centers across the country.
When the Save the Children program promoter came to Raya’s house to tell the family about Ishraq, Raya was thrilled. At first, her father said no, but he eventually relented when Raya’s uncle joined the chorus. Raya has become the first literate female in her family and her father is proud. “Now I am a better person because I know how to read and write, thanks to Ishraq,” she said.
Save the Children’s goal is to bring girls out of the shadows. Through Ishraq and similar Save the Children programs worldwide, girls have the opportunity to achieve their full social and economic potential.
Charitable contributions from people like you make it possible for us to support programs for girls like Selena, and so much more. Please support our mission and work around the world with a gift to our Global Action Fund. You can count on us to be good stewards of your generous donation, helping vulnerable children where the need is greatest with whatever they need the most.
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