ChildsLife started its operation in 1996 and has developed into a mature and experienced organization. ChildsLife now runs an extensive program in sustainable development aid in Africa and Eastern Europe. The goal of the program is to strengthen children and their communities by providing them with Shelter & Infrastructure, Food, Education and Care. The projects range from small to large scale community support programs. Even though the scale of the projects has grown over the years and the focus has changed, ChildsLife still works with the principle that programs need to be tailor-made and fully suited to local needs. They do not need a lot of frills to be effective as often a practical and relatively simple solution can have the most impact.
The ChildsLife is a catalyst for change and strengthens children and communities with sustainable solutions for a better future; a future without the support of ChildsLife.
To achieve its goals, ChildsLife has developed the following program:
→ Creating self-sustainability
When ChildsLife begins working with a local partner or beneficiary the focus is on strengthening, guiding and equipping towards self-sustainability. With very few exceptions, the goal is for beneficiaries and local organizations supported to no longer need ChildsLife. Only by becoming self-sustainable the way out of life in poverty can be reached. ChildsLife helps communities, schools, local organizations and individuals to plan further and develop creative solutions for becoming self-sustainable. Depending on local possibilities in each project case, ChildsLife will examine various options of sustainable development and implement a tailor made solution for each project.
→ Investing in Women and Girls
Gender equality is a human right. Women are entitled to live with dignity and with freedom. Gender equality is also crucial for reducing poverty. Empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of whole families and communities, and are therefore key to reducing poverty.
Women produce half the world’s food, put in two-thirds of the world’s working hours, and yet make only 10 percent of the world’s income! That’s why women and girls are at the heart of ChildsLife community-based efforts. Recognizing that women and girls suffer disproportionately from poverty, ChildsLife focuses on improving education, increasing access to clean water and expanding economic opportunity through business grants and micro-loans.
→ W.A.S.H. (water, sanitation and hygiene)
Inadequate access to clean water and sanitation kills and sickens thousands of people every day. Lack of proper sanitation, water and hygiene has many other serious consequences. Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women and children are forced to walk long distances and send large parts of their day collecting water. Extreme thirst and diseases result in children’s diminished learning. Crops fail, livestock die and people are less productive due to illness. Without W.A.S.H., sustainable development is impossible. Access to clean water, decent sanitation together with hygiene practices, reduce child mortality, improve health and education outcomes, and contribute to reduced poverty and sustainable development. Hence, it is high on the ChildsLife agenda.
Worldwide more than 120 million children and adolescents still do not go to school. The UN Millennium Development Goals 2015 for education have not been reached. Inequality in access to education has even increased. Children born in developed countries are four times more likely to have a good education than children from the developing world. Girls remain disadvantaged in access to education. Poverty still is the biggest barrier in access to education. Without an education, a child does not have the chance to master basic facts. To learn to read, write, do math and to improve knowledge and understanding should be part of every child’s life. Education is the key to a better future. ChildsLife helps children access an education by supporting local initiatives. ChildsLife strives to offer education to children and adolescents from the age of three years old; from kindergarten, through primary school to a vocational training institute or secondary school. ChildsLife builds schools, supplies teaching aids, school materials, books and school furniture, provides school meals and teacher salaries. ChildsLife also runs afterschool education centers that offer a combination of education and recreation and offer children a safe environment.