How can we forget our children?

Orphan sponsorship is not a small thing, it can transform communities.

A better future for a child


Summary

Children represent the future and hope within every community. The way in which children are treated, nurtured, and brought up is an essential factor in the collective progress and prosperity of society. Every child deserves – and needs – certain foundations to be put in place. Children require developmental building blocks in order to grow, prosper, and thrive. Many of us have enjoyed positive childhood experiences personally, and work hard to ensure this is the case for our own children or the children within our families and communities. Ethar Relief considers the forgotten refugee children to be our own children, and it is our duty to look after them and not leave them alone.

We recognise that feeding, clothing, and providing medicine is not enough - children need to be kept safe from harm, loved, and given the freedom and environment to play, explore, and learn. The innocence of children and their most basic opportunities are ripped away from them the moment they are born into refugee camps, or when they suffer the violence of conflict and the harsh journeys towards the camps. Their plight, and the plight of orphaned children in particular, is a tragedy of global proportions and represents one of the greatest injustices which we witness within the refugee camp environment.

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Specifically in the case of orphans, basic safety and security is completely absent and orphans are the most vulnerable group in the camp. They are open to all manner of horrific poverty, abuse, exploitation and violence - not to mention the first to be affected by famine, drought, natural disaster and disease. Ethar Relief, with your help, is campaigning and designing initiatives to help these children on the ground in refugee camps.

Overview

Many children escaping conflict have lost one or both parents and find themselves orphans in the harshest of circumstances. We believe that providing aid, shelter and education to deprived and disadvantaged children is the only way for them to realise their potential, and experience a childhood filled with the opportunities necessary to prosper. The combination of basic essential provisions, education, and other wider opportunities helps orphans to break the cycle of poverty for themselves. Naturally, this has a positive impact on their communities.

These children have already encountered trauma during their journeys fleeing oppression and war from their home country, or in many cases they were born in the refugee camps where they will spend the entirety of their lives and never experience a normal, healthy environment. This scenario plays out time and time again, unless orphans can be supported and given opportunities to help them out of poverty; for which education is key.

The orphans within refugee camps consider education a luxury and a privilege which is beyond their reach. They battle with the hardest of choices, such as the choice between education and food, or nothing at all. They know that education is their only opportunity to grow up with the skills required to seek a normal life in a town or city, safe from the dangers of the refugee camp environment. We have identified thousands of orphans eligible for sponsorship into a programme which can provide hope for a better life and a chance to receive an education.

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Objectives
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According to information received from the Commissioner of Refugees (COR), currently in Sudan alone there are over 10,000 orphans of which only approximately 50% are sponsored by various organisations. Ethar Relief, through its existing programmes, currently sponsors 600 orphans and we aim to increase this to 1,000 by the end of 2018.

This figure represents the need in Sudan alone; in the near future we aim to extend the programme into other countries within the Horn of Africa (such as Yemen, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan).

If children are the future, then the future looks very bleak indeed for these countries unless we can support orphans - not just by providing emergency aid but by giving them holistic support to navigate a path to a better quality of life. They need food and education to combat poverty and save them from exploitation, but they deserve much more.

Every child deserves a 'real childhood'; these children are already overcoming the atrocities and hardships of their experiences as child refugees and suffering the loss of their parents. They need security, love and opportunities to grow through play, social interaction and positive experiences that enhance their self esteem and allow them to heal.

Due to the very real and prevalent dangers of exploitation, we cannot risk letting orphans fall into the hands of criminals and gangs, as this not only endangers them but it also perpetuates the social violence and instability found within the region. Helping to safeguard orphans is within our collective interests as a global society.

We implore you to help us succeed in our orphan sponsorship programme. Please donate and invest in the future of the children and the hope they represent for their communities and society. If you can't commit to a whole sponsorship you can still make a regular or one-off donation towards the programme to help us achieve our aims.

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Program

Our programme goes a long way in providing much needed security, stability and respite for these innocent children. The priority is for them to gain an education, therefore school attendance is mandatory in order to receive the sponsorship. Some orphans have additional needs such as disabilities (physical disability, mental health difficulties and learning difficulties) which prevent them from attending school as their needs cannot be met. These children require more specialist support to keep them safe and require sponsorship for survival, as their welfare impacts wider family and community members (often their siblings who sacrifice their own education in order to care for them).

Our field staff face the challenge of distributing the sponsorship to the orphans who are scattered over a number of camps and locations, monitoring their progress and attendance at school. This is why a small percentage of the sponsorship is used out in the field to run the programme, as it is the only way we can reach all the orphans and allows us to extend the programme to those who live in isolated regions with no other form of aid. It also ensures our accountability to you as a supporter of our orphan programmes by letting us regularly monitor and improve the provision and processes. We use this small administration cost to pay the expenses of our volunteers on the ground who are refugees themselves and assist the programme, distributing the sponsored items and helping their fellow refugees.

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Our field staff are local Sudanese citizens from underprivileged backgrounds in the vicinity of the camps, who have joined Ethar Relief to contribute to making their communities and places of living safer and more hospitable for everyone. They understand the needs and dangers of the environment and are key partners in the effective delivery of the programmes.

In addition to the sponsorship, excess funds from the fluctuating exchange rate provide additional support on a case by case basis: e.g. emergency medical care. Some of the funds provide the orphans with day trips or other activities so that they can experience some of the joy which should be part of every childhood.

Cost

Our Orphan Sponsorship Programme brings much needed stability to orphans who are in need and waiting for a sponsor. A sponsorship provides an orphan with financial support to cover food, clothing, medical care and access to education. It spares them from worrying where their next meal is coming from. This doesn’t just benefit the orphan in isolation – it gives a great boost to their wider family and community.

Other amounts: As outlined in the previous section, the programme aims to provide orphans with so much more than this basic support, therefore any regular or one-off donations allow us to grow the programme and cater for their other supplementary needs. These can include gifts on special occasions, trips and experiences, or treats in the form of toys, new clothes and sweets.

Those of you who wish to provide your sponsored orphan with more than the basic sponsorship, or provide additional support and gifts throughout the year, can contact us to put this in place. Our team on the ground are always willing to deliver your gifts, surprises and support to put smiles on faces.

Contact Us

467 Coventry Road
Birmingham
B10 0TJ
West Midlands
United Kingdom

Enquiries

For donations, information on volunteering, or general enquiries, please contact the team at Ethar:

E: info@etharrelief.org
T: +44 (0)121 309 0230

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