LEAP Back to Learning

In the Philippines, child labor in the sugarcane fields means quick income for struggling families and interrupted education for children. ChildFund’s LEAP (Livelihoods, Education, Advocacy, Protection) program helps provide alternative livelihoods to parents while bringing children back to school where they belong.

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Below the Surface

Every year it seems I return to Emali, Kenya to document families experiencing water shortages in the extreme. ChildFund New Zealand is and has been working tirelessly in Emali to provide water access one community at a time. This year villages have been impacted by the El Niño weather pattern that is raging in neighboring Ethiopia (see previous blog entry). With families living in such remote areas, 100% access to the earth’s most essential resource may never be achieved in our lifetime, but it is comforting to see the problem made just a bit smaller each time I return.

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Reaping the Dust

There are some parts of Ethiopia right now that haven’t received more than a few sprinkles of rain in over two years. Since so many people live out in rural areas of the country and have to rely on seasonal rains to grow their own food- raising their own vegetables and livestock on small farms- that means the source of livelihood, nutrition, and sustenance for large numbers of people has vanished. Above, a small farmer sifts through the dust of the field he planted last year, but where nothing germinated. Can you imagine having to provide for your family with just a small farm not much bigger than your back yard? That’s hard enough, but take away the water source and it becomes impossible. Below, a woman in Fentale District scoops water from a shallow well. According to government figures, one in ten Ethiopians has been severely affected by the […]

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From the front lines of the Food Crisis

Here is one mother’s testimony and plea for help from the front lines of the current food crisis in Ethiopia. According to the government, at least 400,000 children are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition, a form of malnutrition that, if survived, will impact their growth and development and will likely determine both their physical and cognitive abilities as adolescents and adults.

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Making Childhood Sweeter

I recently spent a week in the Philippines with a few of the 160+ million children across the world who are involved in child labor. Much of my time was spent telling the story of children who have successfully exited  work in the sugar cane fields. The situation I found on the island of Negros was different than you might have imagined. Poverty, more so than the sugar industry, is the villain here. The children I encountered who were missing school were doing so willingly, usually with their parents’ permission, preferring the temporary gratification of a small paycheck over hitting the books. The work is grueling nonetheless, and the effects of missing out on an education are almost irreversible. ChildFund’s LEAP (Livelihoods, Education, Advocacy, Protection) program, which I have been documenting, is responsible for the near-eradication of child labor in this area of the Philippines. My objective was to show what a child laborer’s […]

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A Chance for Mamta

ChildFund’s Udaan Scholarship Fund ensures some of India’s brightest, most disadvantaged girls have access to higher education. Shot in the beautiful hills of India’s Udaipur District, this video short tells the story of Mamta, an Udaan scholar who became a teacher.

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Investing in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire

Want to make some extra cash while giving a boost to markets in the developing world? Shared Interest lends capital to fair trade buyer and producer organizations in areas of the world that have limited access to finance. Because they only invest in Fair Trade businesses, that means living wages, better working conditions, and often benefits for workers like health care and education for their children. For many of us in the West, starting a business without the help of a bank would be impossible. Those in the developing world face this challenge and more when beginning a new venture. Yet developing economies will never improve without the expansion of the free market; this can only happen through improving the environment in which business can operate and gain access to capital. This makes the work of companies like Shared Interest all the more crucial. Microfinance this is not; Shared Interest […]

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Through Wild Karamoja

The journey by road to Uganda’s Kidepo Valley National Park takes you through the remote and untamed Karamoja region. Don’t linger too long with the locals, or you may miss out on the wildlife ahead.

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