Save the Children, June 4th 2019
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LONDON - Save the Children is marking its centenary with a global campaign to Stop the War on Children after a difficult year that saw its income in the UK fall by a quarter.
The campaign, aimed at increasing protection for children in conflicts from Afghanistan to Yemen, represents a return to Save the Children’s roots 100 years after it was founded by two sisters, Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton, to help children left starving in Europe after the First World War.
It follows a year in which Save the Children UK’s income declined from £407m to £303m as it received less in grants from government donors. This was partly because fewer emergency responses required large-scale funding in 2018 and partly because several long-running programmes came to an end.
Save the Children UK also temporarily withdrew from bidding for new government funding during a Charity Commission inquiry that was launched in April 2018 into its response to misconduct allegations against two former executives in 2012 and 2015. The impact of this withdrawal on income in 2018 is estimated in the charity’s annual report, published today, at £16m.
However, the report, 100 Years of Fighting for Children, shows public support held up strongly, with £92m in voluntary donations which enabled the charity to help millions of children. They included orphans forced to flee violence in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo for sanctuary in Uganda, and the victims of the Sulawesi tsunami in Indonesia.
Kevin Watkins, the chief executive of Save the Children UK, paid tribute to the loyalty of supporters and volunteers, and promised to implement the findings of an independent review of the charity’s workplace culture.
‘I am wholeheartedly committed to learning from our problems, rebuilding trust with our supporters and creating the organisational culture our staff deserve,’ he said.
The annual report highlights help given by Save the Children to 378,000 Rohingya children in Bangladesh, where 6,000 unaccompanied minors were identified, half of them orphans; 219,000 children who received educational support in emergencies in 19 countries; and 83,000 children who were protected from harm in Yemen.
A 14-year-old Yemeni girl named Salma writes in the report: ‘I’m asking world leaders to listen to the stories of children living in Yemen. The war has affected our lives and things are not getting better. An airstrike hit the building next to my school.’
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