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Rwanda: “Telling stories opens children’s minds”

Wednesday 1 October 2014 by Voices from the field - Africa

On 10 September, around 40 preschoolers and their parents were in Rugasari ECCD centre in Ruhango district, Rwanda, discovering new ways to enjoy reading.

There was singing and playing; a session facilitator read aloud from a big book in Kinyarwanda (the local language).

The children commented frequently on the story, which was about a man who loses his hat.

When the facilitator read how the hat was finally returned to the man by a dog, one child wisely pointed out, to the amusement of the parents, that dogs do not wear hats.

Rwanda Literacy Week is a good example of ways in which governments and development partners can work together to raise awareness of the importance of literacy.

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International coffee day: a devastating plague of coffee rust that is leaving communities hungry and desperate

Monday 29 September 2014 by Dorothy Sang

Today is international coffee day. For many, coffee is a mandatory ritual in our morning routine, a centrepiece in our office meetings, a little iced treat on summer days.

But what if I were to tell you that your much-loved blend is disappearing?That millions of lives are being destroyed as a plague tears through Latin America?

The real story behind your cup of dry roast will leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

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This month’s toughest supporter: “the thought of helping all those children kept me going”

Friday 26 September 2014 by Sarah Tizzard

This month we want to recognise the efforts of Gurdial Flora, who (despite having bad knees) completed Tough Mudder for Save the Children, raising a huge £5,005!

Tough Mudder, for those who don’t know, is a gruelling 10-12 mile obstacle course which people usually complete as part of a team. The contestants have to complete tasks including crawling up hill through narrow pipes, swimming through ice cold water, jumping over fire and running through a maze of live wires and electrified mud.

Mr Flora TM

Gurdial’s knee pain made the experience more difficult for him than most and he almost gave up after 3 miles, however he says “the thought of helping all those children kept me going”.

We’re incredibly grateful to Gurdial, and to all our supporters. If you fancy taking part in  a challenge event for Save the Children, please have a look at our fundraising page to see what’s coming up. There are lots of ways to get involved – from skydiving to cycling or even trekking along the Great Wall of China!

World Contraception Day: Family planning saves children’s lives

Thursday 25 September 2014 by Anne Quesney

Friday 26 September marks World Contraception Day. Increased public and policy focus on family planning over recent years means that it has crept up the agenda. That’s a welcome development.

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Ebola Crisis: The need to shed light on this deadly disease

Tuesday 23 September 2014 by Dan Stewart

The first sign is as you enter the terminal building. A crowd forms around a large bucket of water with a tap coming from it. Every passenger joins, and one by one washes their hands before going inside. As soon as you get close to the water you can smell the chlorine, stronger than any swimming pool. Welcome to Sierra Leone in the midst of an Ebola outbreak. The second sign is immediately after passport control. An official points a small plastic-handled device at each person’s temple, looks at it and gives a curt nod, before showing it to the new arrival and waving them through. When it’s my turn I see the digital display reads 36.4 °C. Normal. So on I go.

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South Sudan: after tragedy and hardship, education offers hope

Friday 19 September 2014 by Caitlin Cockcroft

I arrived onto a waterlogged airstrip in Akobo, where the helicopter seemed to hover nervously a little longer than was reassuring.

I had heard rumours of this being the ‘muddiest place on Earth’, so I came prepared with wellies.

Unfortunately, my colleague did not, and like most people here during the rainy season, she was forced to walk barefoot, for fear of the mud claiming her trainers, never to be seen again.

Our journey to Save the Children’s field base was far from over, though. Clambering into a small speedboat, we made our way along a river; children and adults were washing and bathing along the banks.

Finally, after a little more walking, we arrived.

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Niger: gender interests must be at the heart of all our health planning

Wednesday 17 September 2014 by Tara Brace-John

Saadi is 22 and has just given birth to her third baby.

She is recovering from a Caesarean performed in the Aguie district hospital in the Maradi region of Niger.

Seeing how young she was, Dr Mohamed Moctar encouraged her to get sterilised during her Caesarean. Saadi turned down the offer. Both procedures are free in Niger although a woman must pay CFA 1100 (£1.35) for a normal delivery.

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Fewer under-fives are dying. Let’s celebrate: then let’s bring that figure to zero

Tuesday 16 September 2014 by Elizabeth Stuart

Today the unsnappily-named UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation has put out some very snappy news indeed: the rate at which under-five children are dying is falling faster than in any time over the past two decades.

Or to put it more succinctly: children in poor countries now have a better chance than ever of reaching their fifth birthday.

This is excellent news, which we should celebrate. The worldwide under five mortality rate has almost halved since 1990, dropping from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births to 46 in 2013.

We should also congratulate those governments whose improved policies have brought about this change.

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Central America: an epidemic of violence mars the Independence Day celebrations

Monday 15 September 2014 by Dorothy Sang

15 September marks Independence Day in Mexico and most Central American nations. It’s almost 200 years since Central American leaders accepted a plan, drafted by Mexican Agustín de Iturbide in 1821, that declared the six countries free from Spain. Bells chime in the distance as children and families flood the streets.

Flags hang from every door and shops bustle with jubilant revellers. But I notice the many police. It’s no strange thing: a police presence would be normal in any public celebration of this kind across the world.

Still, having just spent the past few weeks gathering research in four of the independent nations, the sight carries far darker significance, for me.

Violence has woven its way into the very fabric of everyday life in Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. From taxi drivers and schoolchildren to my own Save the Children colleagues, there is not one person I have spoken to who has not been affected in some way by the terror infecting their society.

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South Sudan: a lonely journey to Uganda for unaccompanied children

Monday 15 September 2014 by Mike McCusker

Nyumanzi transit camp, northern Uganda.

Hot air beats down on massed people, many selling gadgets and vegetables.

This is the main entry point for refugees fleeing the violence in South Sudan.

Thousands of unaccompanied and separated children have been registered here. Among them is Diana*.

Diana is 15 years old. She is visibly shy and struggles to maintain eye contact as she sits with her two younger brothers and tells us about her arrival in Uganda.

Her story is heartbreaking.

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