Our favourite stories from around the world to brighten your 2021
Meet the Peabody Estate Sewing Club
The members of a sewing club at a Peabody estate in London had barely seen each other this year as community activities took a hit as well as school and social lives.
But between lockdowns, they got together to customise Christmas jumpers and pose for portraits by world-renowned photographer and activist, Misan Harriman. They showed up to celebrate community, reflect on a crazy year, and speak their minds.
“We’re sharing our world, so we just have to get along with each other and put the differences behind us. We’re all the same and we’re special in one way. You’re special because you can either run fast or whatever. I’m special because I’m Black and I can achieve anything – so can you.”
Portraits by Misan Harriman
Meet the camel helping children keep learning
Like 26 million other children in Ethiopia, Mahadiya, 13, is out of school because of the coronavirus, but thanks to Save the Children’s camel library, she is able to continue reading and learning at home.
In the Somali region of Ethiopia, camels are traditionally used to transport goods across the hot deserts. Through this programme, 21 camels, which can each carry up to 200 books at a time in wooden boxes, reach over 22,000 children in 33 villages.
Hassen is the man who brings the library to Mahadiya. He is one of 33 community volunteers who were trained by Save the Children since 2010 as reading camp facilitators, to help children to learn to read by providing 39,000 supplementary reading books to the 33 villages.
Mahadiya is sad that she is missing out on school, and talks about the loss of the meal she normally receives there, but loves that she can continue to read because of the camel library and dreams of becoming an engineer.
South Africa has one of the world´s most progressive legislations protecting LGBTQ rights, but for young gay people like Kim the reality is very different. Homophobia and homophobic violence (like corrective rape) is rampant.
At the Save the Children youth club Kim attends in Alexandra Township, she learns about gender roles, harmful gender norms, and how to participate and access her rights in society. As an active member, Kim has grown her confidence and she is leading workshops in schools on gender issues.
Together with one of the Save the Children staff, Kim went to her first Pride Parade in Johannesburg in November 2018. At that time, Kim had just told a few people about her sexual orientation, but during the year that followed Kim came out to her friends and family. In 2019 she marched at Pride again. This time she brought 30 friends from school and from the Save the Children youth club to the parade in Johannesburg.
“I went to Pride just to be able to express myself without anyone judging me. It was awesome.” - Kim
Ildephonse, a Reading Club leader, spends his evenings making his own toys and learning tools... from scratch. He even makes the glue and the markers. And most heroic of all, when he saw how children struggled outside in the harsh sun or the pouring rain, he built an annex on to the side of his house so that the children in the village would always have somewhere to read.
Since he participated in our literacy champion training in Rwanda, Ildephonse has transformed the lives of the children in his remote village, by encouraging children and their families to read.
He wants to give the children in the village the chances he wish he had, and he has found his real passion and creativity in the arts and crafts he creates to inspire them - he uses rice bags and cardboard to create homemade tvs, mobile phones, trucks and musical instruments, and the result is large groups of happy children, enthusiastic about learning and looking forward to a bright future.
Find out more about Ildephones
Salah, 17, from South Sudan, joined an armed group in 2015. Thrust into frontline combat he was shot, but recovered and after two years managed to escape and return to his family.
After discovering barbers could earn good money at his local market, he was determined to learn how to cut hair.
He heard about our activity centre and the opportunity to learn hairdressing there – he signed up immediately.
He’s trained hard at the centre and learned fast. Once he graduates, Save the Children will give him a loan to start his own business. He’s hoping to use his earnings to go back to school for a time and to help support his family.
"When I compare my life before with now, I can see the differences. I’m so happy to come here.” - Salah
Girls in charge
Meet Tina* and Maisie*
Tina and Maisie are learning welding at our training centre in South Sudan, and hope to start a welding business Maisie’s family are very proud of her. She is making furniture like beds and tables, which she can sell or give to her family, improving their lives.
As a female welder, she has become a role model in the community and she hopes more young people will follow in her footsteps.
They are the only two female welders in the community.
“I have become a role model in the community. 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
Saada lives with her family in a traditional Harari house in the walled city of Harar, eastern Ethiopia. She attends a girls’ club at her school, 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.
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 spoke with her and her family – 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.
“I am not alone. We fight this together – girls and boys. Together we’re more powerful.” - Saada
"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.”
Apollo wants to tell people about what’s happening in Yemen. He’s worried that children and families are in danger because of the war, missing out on school and don’t have food to eat.
Last year he sent a letter to a young girl in Yemen - Razan* - who was injured by the conflict, via Save the Children, after seeing her story in one of the charity's campaigns. They have since struck up an extraordinary pen-pal friendship, sharing letter with their thoughts and hobbies, favourite animals and family trips.
He's also raised money for Save the Children's Yemen appeal, by asking for donations instead of birthday presents and putting on concerts.
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!
16-year-old Meskele is in the sixth grade at the school that was built by her community with the help of Save the Children.
In the past parents were reluctant to send their young children, especially girls and children with disabilities, long distances to school for fear of rape and other assaults, abductions, and harassment as the nearest school could be up to 10km away.
The lack of nearby schools was seriously affecting equitable access to education. Boys would often not start school until they were about 10 years old, and girls, 13.
A decade later Save the Children went back to Woliso, Ethiopia to see the positive impact for children we can have when we partner with communities. Thanks to supporters, new schools were built and equipped, allowing children to receive an average of 4.5 MORE years of education - putting them on the path to a brighter future!
Meskele says, "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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