Our favourite stories from around the world to brighten your 2022
Girls in charge
Meet the girls sparking change
Tina and Maisie are learning welding at our training centre in South Sudan, and hope to start a business. Maisie’s family are very proud.
She makes furniture like beds and tables, which she can sell or give to her family, improving their lives.
As one of only two female welders in her community, shes become a role model. She hopes more young people will follow in her footsteps.
“It’s a source of pride for my whole family that I am one of only two welding girls in the community. Hopefully more will join next year.” - Maisie
More powerful together
Saada* was just seven when she stopped a friend from undergoing FGM by warning her about the risks of infection, blood loss and childbirth. Her friend’s parents listened – and decided not to go ahead. She speaks out, even to adults, if it will help her friends and has never felt afraid in her life.
She attends a girls’ club in her hometown of Harar, which empowers girls and boys to talk openly about female issues, from child marriage and FGM to sanitation and menstruation. They put on plays about the FGM process.
“I am not alone. We fight this together – girls and boys. Together we’re more powerful.” - Saada
Brave new world
Omar’s Turning Pain into Painting
Omar’s admired throughout the displacement camp he’s called home for the last three years. He's known for his vibrant paintings, which decorate the camp.
Some depict images of the Syrian War, which he fled with his parents and nine siblings.
When the pandemic hit, Omar turned his art into activism. He customised face masks to encourage children to wear them. And his colourful signs reminding people to socially distance helped keep the community safe.
With our assistance, Omar’s been set up with his own artist studio. He’s now creating more works than ever.
"I dream of becoming an artist, attending an art school, and returning to my village." - Omar
Saying no to I do
Standing up to child marriage
Since taking our peer leader training, Jasmin has gone on to empower girls in her village to stand up to child marriage. She’s made it her mission to teach the villagers how dangerous it can be.
Shumi is just one of countless children Jasmin has helped. Shumi discovered her parents planned to marry her to a man she’d never met. Shumi’s parents saw the marriage as a route to a secure future.
Jasmin convinced Shumi’s parents to let her complete her studies instead.
Now there’s nothing in the way of her ambitions.
It’s time to take pride off the shelf
A lot can change in twelve months. When Kim attended her first Pride parade in 2018, only her mum knew about her sexuality. Now she's fighting back against South Africa's culture of homophobia and fear.
South Africa’s LGBTQ agenda might look progressive, but the reality is much starker. Homophobic attacks – including corrective rape - are common.
Kim learned about harmful gender norms at one of our youth clubs. She now runs her own workshops on beating outdated views on sex and gender.
In 2019, Kim attended her second Pride parade. This time she brought 30 of her friends with her.
Ildephonse, a Reading Club leader, spends his evenings making his own toys and learning tools... from scratch. He even built an annex on to the side of his house so that the children in the village would always have somewhere to read.
Since undergoing our literacy champion training in Rwanda, Ildephonse has transformed lives, inspiring children and families to learn to read.
He encourages creativity in children any way he can. He uses rice bags and cardboard to create homemade TVs, phones, trucks and instruments to keep the village's children excited about learning.
Salah escaped from combat after two years on the frontline. He returned to his family determined to start a new life for himself.
He heard about our activity centre and the opportunity to learn hairdressing there. He signed up immediately.
Salah's trained hard and learned fast. Once he graduates, we've committed to give him a loan to start his own business.
"When I compare my life before with now, I can see the differences. I’m so happy to come here.” - Salah
"My name is Apollo and I’m six years old and I live in London and I’m very worried that it’s not fair that we have everything we need and that children in Yemen don’t have anything.”
Despite his young age, Apollo has been proudly raising money and awareness for those affected by the conflict in Yemen.
Inspired by one of our campaigns, last year he sent a letter to Razan* - a girl injured in the conflict. They have since struck up an extraordinary pen-pal friendship, sharing letters with their thoughts and hobbies, favourite animals and family trips.
He's told her all about the concerts he organises in aid of our work in Yemen.
Apollo is now determined to tell the world what’s happening there. He's busy convincing others to join him in helping the children and families in danger, missing out on school and without food to eat.
A decade of impact
A recent study explored the long-term impacts of our partnership with kids and families in Woliso, Ethiopia to help realize their goals – and the results were AMAZING!
A decade after building new schools in Ethiopia, we returned to see the positive impact they've had on the local community. Working with local groups, our projects have meant children can receive an average of 4.5 years more education than before.
In the past, children would have to walk up to 10km to reach school. Fears of rape, abductions and harassment on the journey meant many received no education at all.
Boys would often not start school until they were about 10 years old, and girls, 13.
16-year-old Meskele is in the sixth grade at one of the schools we built in Woliso.
"For females it is necessary to continue their education because it helps them to learn good, it makes them literate, it assists them to get a job opportunity and then they can become professionals like doctors."
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