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Save the Children

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Issue 3.3 | October 1999
Information in this issue may be out of date. Click here to link to the most recent issue.

"There is much work to do, and when nearly a billion children go to bed hungry, neglected or abused every night, we cannot wait." - Charles MacCormack, President, Save the Children

Save the Children's unique self-help approach to relief, recovery, and ongoing development has nurtured the seeds of hope for millions of people. Save the Children of the United States is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization working in more than 35 nations around the globe. More than 60 years of experience working hand-in-hand, shoulder-to-shoulder with families and communities at home and abroad has taught us that poverty need not be a life sentence.

One Child, Global Problems

In nations around the world, Save the Children programs recognize that a child's health begins even before birth. Health care activities that target women and other caregivers, such as nutrition education, have the greatest success at the lowest cost. Today, 128 million children in the world have no school to attend. Education systems throughout the world and in the United States are greatly challenged. While their mothers work, millions of children are either left unattended or are in situations of low-quality childcare. Save the Children supports new approaches in child development and basic education around the world.

Poverty undermines the physical, social, intellectual and emotional development of children. A root cause is the lack of adequate economic opportunities, which would enable parents to provide for their children. Children are typically the first and most vulnerable victims in emergencies. Save the Children is committed to helping victims cope with crises and begin the process of recovery. Around the world, we coordinate our relief activities with other international agencies, in addition to strengthening the national institutions that can carry out this work.

History of Save the Children

Across the United States and around the world, Save the Children has helped to weave a safety net for an ever-increasing number of children. To help European children displaced during World War II, Save the Children provided clothes, milk, and food to children and helped communities rebuild in eight European countries. They also began working with Native Americans in 1948, when a devastating blizzard hit the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.

In the late 1950s, Save the Children took a leadership role redefining international development and creating models for the effective transfer of appropriate technology and skills in such areas as sustainable agriculture, small enterprise and health. Save the Children tested a new approach that addressed community wide needs, such as building roads and improving water supplies, along with needs specific to children in the Dominican Republic in 1972. This high impact approach, which facilitated long-term improvements in children's lives, was replicated around the world. Realizing the importance of providing quality childcare for children, Save the Children launched the Family Day Care Network in the state of Georgia in 1978. Now serving 7,400 children, the network has trained more than 1,200 low-income family day care providers and helped families identify quality care.

In 1985, Save the Children launched a major child survival initiative to help families provide better care for their children and to coordinate medical care, water resource development and sanitation improvements. Save the Children's health programs continue to center around child survival, maternal health care, and AIDS awareness, as well as nutrition, clean water and sanitation. Through the 1980s, Save the Children responded to the needs of children in crisis, as war and natural disasters caused incredible suffering in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Even in the most dire emergency, Save the Children demonstrated that its community development approach could be combined with relief to encourage self-sufficiency and ensure lasting change in the lives of children and their families.

Landmines: Hidden Killers of Children

Imagine being a child and knowing that if you take the wrong step your legs could be blown off, or you could lose your life. That is the horrifying reality that hundreds of children now face because of the existence of landmines. Here are a few frightening statistics:

· Landmines, left over from past conflicts, have claimed more than one million victims since 1975.
· In Afghanistan and Angola, there is approximately one mine for every person, with a cost of up to $ 1,000 to clear each mine.
· In Cambodia, one in every 236 persons is an amputee.
· Angola has more than 70,000 amputees, many of them children.

The numbers tell a tragic story of indiscriminate destruction. Of the 350 kinds of anti-personnel mines produced by 35 nations, most are specifically designed to maim rather than kill.

Children in landmine-affected countries are especially vulnerable to injury from contact with these weapons. By nature curious and adventurous, they can easily mistake a landmine for a toy or a strange object too interesting not to investigate. Very young children without the ability to read the warning signs often wander into dangerous fields or play areas. Members of the International Save the Children Alliance confront the horror of landmines daily. Some children and families who participate in Save the Children programs are already victims of landmines. International Save the Children Alliance members work to promote mine awareness, assist landmine victims and support landmine clearance projects.

International Save the Children Alliance members also urge international policy makers to ratify The Convention on the Prohibition, Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, also known as The Ottawa Treaty, by the year 2000. Endorsed by 122 countries, in December 1997, this treaty not only bans the production, use, and export of landmines and mandates the destruction of stockpiles, it also requires countries to participate in mine clearance and victim-assistance programs.

Save the Children

54 Wilton Road
Westport, CT 06880
United States of America
Phone: (800) 243-5075