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Gaza/Israel: children are never our enemy

Monday 1 September 2014 by Justin Forsyth

This article was written as a response to Tim Montgomerie’s article, You Don’t Save Children By Arming Terrorists, in The Times on 27 August but The Times chose not to run it so we are publishing it online ourselves to set the record straight. Instead, The Times have taken a shorter letter published today.

Eglantyne Jebb founded the Save the Children Fund nearly 100 years ago to help children starving in Germany and Austria as a result of the post-war blockade.

She did so not out of political posturing, propaganda or campaigning but to protect thousands of innocent children and to stand up for their rights: the foundations of everything Save the Children stands for and does today. She was, as we were last week on Gaza, criticised in The Times for supporting the children of our enemy.

She retorted that children are never our enemy.

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Syria: Three million tragic stories. When will it end?

Friday 29 August 2014 by Voices from the Field

29 August 2014 marks another terrible milestone in the Syria crisis: the three millionth registered refugee.

The war is more than three years old. At least 191,000 have died and nearly 11 million are in need of humanitarian aid inside Syria.

Meanwhile, three million, including more than 1.5 million children, have now fled a country in chaos. And those are only the ones who are officially registered.

There are undoubtedly many more who are either unable to register or choose not to out of concern for their own safety.

Children like Rana*, whom I met on one of my first visits to a Save the Children Child Friendly Space in Jordan.

We tossed a ball together but she didn’t say a word to me. I thought she was just shy, but I was told that Rana hadn’t spoken in months, since her family and home were attacked and they fled Syria.

What she had been through had so traumatised her that she couldn’t bring herself to speak. I’ll never forget her smile and how it lit up her face.

Children like Mais*, a 9-year-old girl in one of our education programmes in Egypt, who recited a poem she had written about her pain over seeing her homeland devastated and having to leave it, and how she had no hope for her future until she started coming to our education classes.

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India: children can’t wait for improved rates of survival

Thursday 28 August 2014 by Pragya Vats

On 18 August, there were 500 days left to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

That really isn’t very long.

The world is on the brink of a major breakthrough in ensuring mothers, newborns and children in the poorest parts of the world can survive and thrive.

And India is at the forefront of this revolution.

It is heartening to note that India is on track to meet MDG 5 by reducing the maternal mortality rate from 437 per 100,000 in 1990 to 178 per 100,000 by 2012.

That’s a decrease of 70% – particularly impressive given that the global figure for the same period has been 48%.

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Iraq: Frightened, fleeing and separated from loved ones

Wednesday 27 August 2014 by Voices from the Field

In the middle of the school playground, where games of football and hopscotch were once played, tables and chairs are piled on top of one another. Some are stacked high into the air, resembling a small mountain rather than furniture for learning. Inside there are people everywhere. Children wander around looking for something to do, parents sit and wait. There are also a handful of Save the Children Child Protection staff who are going from school to school to register unaccompanied minors, as well as parents who have been separated from their children.

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Iraq: Displaced families struggling to survive

Tuesday 26 August 2014 by Nina Caplan

They escaped the fighting; now Iraq’s displaced people face another enemy – one they cannot flee: the struggle for survival.

They are homeless, jobless, reliant on the goodwill of host communities whose capacity has already been stretched by the influx of more than 200,000 Syrian refugees.

The UN estimates that 1.45 million people have been displaced in Iraq this year.

Of these, almost 400,000 are living in schools, parks and abandoned buildings in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Around 200,000 of these are children.

They require urgent shelter – both for themselves and for the local children whose schools cannot reopen as long as they are being used as temporary dormitories.

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Gaza/Israel: tomorrow should be Back To School day, but how can it be?

Saturday 23 August 2014 by Voices from the Field

I regularly get the chance to sit and talk to Palestinian children and without fail, I learn something new.

From a 10-year-old budding poet reciting his latest works to a young student proudly recounting how she persuaded how she persuaded her family to let her take up training opportunities outside her traditional, rural community, everywhere I go, articulate, intelligent and very sweet children and teenagers tell me their stories.

Literacy rates in the Gaza strip are around 96%; education is seen as something everyone has a right to and parents push their children to work hard in hope of a better future.

Last November when I was in Gaza, I saw candles painted on walls everywhere. I was told they represent students studying by candlelight when the power goes out every day.

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No school for Gaza’s children as new term starts amid fighting

Friday 22 August 2014 by Atanu Roy

While children around the world prepare to return to school for the new school year, young people in Gaza will not be joining them.
Over the last six weeks more than 200 school buildings have been damaged or destroyed, and many of the remaining schools are still hosting the tens of thousands of people who have been displaced from their homes.

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Supporter of the month: Robert

Thursday 21 August 2014 by Sarah Tizzard

Robert is quick to talk about our work; he provides links to articles and blogs showing what we’re doing in various parts of the world at any given time. Outside of the internet (in real life!) he has helped his group run many fundraising events, including Rock for Children (a rock event) as well as collections for our Syria, Philippines and Gaza appeals.

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Risking a lost generation in the Middle East

Wednesday 20 August 2014 by Justin Forsyth

Across the Middle East, aid agencies are responding to an unprecedented number of deeply distressing humanitarian emergencies. At times it feels overwhelming for our teams on the ground. From Syria to Gaza and Iraq, some 11million people have been forced to flee their homes, because of conflict and urgently need help. The impact of these crises is felt most of all by those children. They are born into situations they cannot control, yet they bear the brunt of war, displacement, and social and economic turmoil. If we do not act to stem the crisis and ensure children are able to continue their lives and education, we run the risk of losing a generation of children.

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World Humanitarian Day: so many responses around the globe

Tuesday 19 August 2014 by Voices from the Field

In recent weeks, we’ve seen further mass displacement in Iraq; a continuing escalation of the Ebola crisis in West Africa; and terrible conflict in Gaza, interspersed with all-too-fragile ceasefires.

At the same time, we’re continuing to respond to the worsening situation for children in both South Sudan and Central African Republic (CAR).

And our humanitarian support to the Syrian crisis is ongoing.

Awful though it sounds, it can get to the point where all this almost seems like ‘business as usual’.

Yet the global situation looks likely to get even worse.

Many parts of East and Central Africa are facing serious food shortages if prevention measures are not put in place.

There is also growing concern for Central America, as drought and an infestation known as ‘coffee rust’ devastate livelihoods there.

At times, it is very difficult to determine how best to make use of our limited resources.

How do we take decisions about ways to improve the lives of children in such diverse contexts as failed Central American coffee harvests, medical emergency in West Africa, or uncertainty in Gaza – and, in addition to the many children directly involved in ongoing conflicts, how do we help those many, many others affected by the massive displacement of people that invariably results?

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