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Spotlight: Children in Crisis
All over the world, children in crisis face exploitation. From sexual abuse, child labour, war, street life, violence, disability or lack of a primary caregiver, they are denied basic rights and often suffer in silence.

This does not have to remain the case. By empowering children in crisis with a voice and equipping them with life skills and leadership training, they are able to influence the issues that affect their lives in powerful ways.

In this video feature, we will showcase examples of children in Cambodia and in Singapore who advocate for issues that matter to them.

Child-Led Advocacy for Children in Crisis Around the World
d055-0390-24_271303 When children get involved in issues that affect their well-being, they progress to being more than passive beneficiaries of charity. They are able to participate in meaningful opportunities and express their opinions about their lives and communities. For the children whose confidence and self-esteem have been broken by the trauma that they faced, they are empowered and motivated to carry on.

This approach allows children to be placed at the centre of our work and lets them influence decisions in order to achieve change in profound ways.

Click on our interactive map to find out various ways in which children are building a better world for themselves!


Interactive World Map

Zambia Mongolia Philippines Nepal Vietnam Cambodia
Zambia Nepal Cambodia Vietnam Mongolia Philippines
Mongolia
Child abuse resulting from factors like alcoholism among poor households in Mongolia has led many children to run away from their home to live on the streets. To hide away from the cold, many claim underground sewers and drains as homes.

These vulnerable street children in Mongolia are rescued and placed under World Vision’s care in the Light House Children’s Centre in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where activities are specially designed to support them and help them reintegrate back into society. Through platforms provided by World Vision, many are empowered to share their story to raise awareness of other children who are still in need.

World Vision develops child advocacy in Mongolia by:

  1. Conducting psychological training and counselling for the children
  1. Providing opportunities for interaction and socialisation through Music and the Arts
  1. Establishing junior rescue clubs that respond to disasters at local schools
    For example, 250 local children in these clubs were trained to deliver messages about disaster preparedness and first aid for local children.


Mungunu may only be 12 but the Blue Sky Choir member took a bold step to sing at a charity concert in his village, Nalaikh, in Ulaanbaatar, where all profits went to street children. “I understand what it is like to live without food or a family. Through the concert, I met so many street kids and encouraged them to seek help,” said Mungunu, whose mother had abandoned him and his two siblings in 2005.

blue-sky-choir
The Blue Sky Choir was formed in response to a desire to provide a safe environment for these vulnerable children to build their self-confidence as they learn to express themselves and interact with other children.
Bohol, Philippines
Bohol is vulnerable to natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes and cyclones. Whenever disaster strikes, livelihoods are affected and children are inevitably forced out of school. Many are expected to engage in hazardous labour to support their families. Trauma from the disasters has also made it difficult for some to reintegrate back into society. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness have led to youth engaging in risk-taking behaviour such as substance abuse.

 

The goal is to motivate these children to persevere on despite the odds.

kevin-jenkins-with-kids-in-philippines-tent-city-after-the-typhoon
World Vision develops child advocacy in Philippines by:

  1. Training and mobilising child leaders as agents of change on issues affecting themselves, their families and the communities they live in

    For example, these child leaders are orientated on disaster risk reduction and good hygiene practices. These children are later mobilised to pass on the acquired knowledge to their peers.
  1. Dialogue sessions between chosen child representatives and the local government through a presentation of issues that affect them directly
    For example, in 2015, chosen child leaders in Bohol came up with a written plan suggesting how the community can address issues that affect the well-being of children and presented it to the Municipal Mayor. The mayor promised support in implementing the proposed activities.
philippines-child-leaderphilippines-child-leaders-leading-an-icebreaker
Vietnam
In Vietnam, an estimated 23,000 children live on the streets, with many more remaining under the radar. These children from rural provinces travel to the city in search of a better life. However, many end up living on the streets, vulnerable to trafficking and sexual abuse.

The Exiting Exploitation Project in Vietnam aims to remove these vulnerable children from dangerous situations and provide them with access to safe shelters, education and training.

Through our interventions, it is our hope that in the process of helping other children, these children themselves will discover their talents and hone the skills necessary for better livelihoods.

Street Children in Vietnam
World Vision develops child advocacy in Vietnam by:

  1. Providing psychological counselling for children who experienced trauma due to sexual exploitation.
  1. Conducting training that aims to develop self-confidence, teamwork, conflict resolution and decision-making in these children.
  1. Appointing youth leaders to lead and support social activities for children in the shelter

    Activities such as film and photography, skateboarding and drama are organised for the children to promote community participation and develop their social skills. Youth leaders who drive these activities will in turn develop leadership skills and a sense of ownership.
  1. Bringing community leaders, youth and staff from World Vision Vietnam together to reflect on what is being done and share their learning with one another.
Street Children in Vietnam
Zambia
Located in the central province of Zambia, there is a high traffic flow of transit vehicles and human migration from neighbouring countries to and through Musosolokwe. This, on top of traditional practices such as early marriages within the community, increases the area’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.

Over 15% of people are infected with HIV/AIDS in Musosolokwe. This is significantly above the global average of 0.5% and national average of 12.5%.The impact of HIV/AIDS on children is wide-reaching where the illness may be passed on to them by their mothers at birth or they are orphaned because their parents have passed on from HIV/AIDS. The problem is aggravated when access to healthcare is limited and when there is stigmatisation of people infected with HIV/AIDS.

Containing the spread of HIV/AIDS can start from the children themselves.

zambia-child-participation-2
World Vision develops child advocacy in Zambia through:

  1. Youth-friendly corners that keep youths engaged in healthy activities and relationships, reducing the prevalence of substance abuse and unhealthy sexual relationships
  1. Local level advocacy activities among children

In 2015, a total of 7 children who were married off were brought back to school. These children are now actively participating in public forum to help other children in similar situations.

zambia-child-participation-1
Sindhuli East, Nepal
Most of the people in Sindhuli East are Dalits, otherwise know as the “untouchables”. The culture of caste-based discrimination in Nepal has oppressed the Dalits for centuries. In fact, Dalit women and children stand out as the most marginalised.

In search of livelihood and income to survive, many Dalit men migrate, leaving their families behind. Children are often cared for single-handedly by their mother and neglect is common. Education is not valued and many are enrolled in school but do not continue their studies. Child labour and marriage is the norm and children are often not given a platform to share their voice.

The goal is to create an enabling environment that will build self-worth in these children and help them to learn, grow, and develop socially and mentally.

nepal-child-club-leader-discussing-club-activities-with-his-member
World Vision develops child advocacy in Nepal by:

  1. Forming community-based and school-based child clubs

    Child members of these clubs are empowered through training that develops their leadership skills and increases their knowledge on issues concerning their rights as children. Their training is put into practice as they advocate for child rights and organise meaningful activities for children in the club.
  1. Connecting child clubs with the District Child Welfare and Village Development Committee

    For example, a child club formed in Sindhuli East worked with the Village Development Committee to carry out child protection activities and prevent child marriage. These child clubs also advocate child friendly constitutions to local authorities.
nepal-child-club-leaders-planted-a-tree
Cambodia
street-children-in-cambodiaIt is estimated that there are 10,000 – 20,000 street children in Phnom Penh, Cambodia alone. Street children are particularly vulnerable to child trafficking where they may be sold into sexual slavery or exploited in factories. Despite the harsh realities of living on the streets, many continue to stay there as the streets have become their only source of livelihood.

The Street Children Transformation Project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia sets out to transform the lives of these street children by encouraging them to leave their lives on the streets and provides them with safe accommodation, skills training, educational and psychological support. In particular, an effective method is empowering former street children to advocate to children currently facing the same struggles.

Through training that improves their life skills, we hope to increase the mental, physical and social resilience of these street children and reduce their vulnerability to being trafficked.

World Vision develops child advocacy in Cambodia by:

  1. Forming Street Children Support Groups (SCSG)

    Members of SCSG are street children trained to act as peer educators and advocates on issues related to their rights as children. Leaders of the SCSG also participate in youth forums and community youth programmes that encourage them to learn from one another. Such initiatives are developed in the hope of instilling a sense of empowerment and self-advocacy in the children.
  1. Engaging university students to mentor SCSG members and provide psychosocial support to them

    Student groups in universities may also act as peer educators as they educate street children on issues related to child protection and their rights as children.
  1. Facilitating and organising forums for former street children who succeeded in running their businesses to share their experience with other street children

    One of the project’s interventions include improving access of older street children to economic and employment opportunities through training on business development and vocational skills.
  1. Organising a national level forum with the Cambodia Street Children Network to discuss ways to combat street children related issuesVulnerable street children will be given a space to express their voices and raise their concerns and suggestions at the forum.



Saved from an Early Marriage – Ramita’s Story

Click on the photo to read her story!ramita-family

Saved from an Early Marriage

Ramita Five months ago, 16 year old Ramita’s world turned upside down. A 25 year old man and his relatives had come to her house to meet with her parents. He proposed to marry her, and her parents agreed without her consent. Ramita was so shocked that she could not say anything. The only thing she could do was weep as preparations were made speedily and neighbours and relatives were invited to the wedding.

News of this proposed marriage reached the Milijuli child club and Village Child Promotion and Protection Committee (VCPPC) and they approached Ramita to find out more. Ramita opened up to the president of the child club, Shobha, who is also 16 years old, and shared her fears and unwillingness to marry this man she had never met. Upon hearing her story, Shobha wept alongside Ramita and resolved to help her.

Together with the VCPPC coordinator, Shobha talked to Ramita’s parents and put forward what she had learned at the child club on children’s rights to study, rights to safety, and rights against early marriage. As a result of their efforts, Ramita’s parents were convinced and agreed to cancel the marriage.

Now, Ramita says,”I am happy to have been rescued from child marriage. I will continue my studies and work towards a brighter future.”

In response to the prevalence of child marriage within the village, the club is planning and organising training that educates students in school on their rights.


Engage with World Vision

Campaign Highlights

Last month, World Vision Singapore’s Free From Fear campaign sought to break the chains of violence against children and called for a concerted effort against child abuse. We shared stories of four children over four weeks. Ichin was haunted by abuse at home because of her alcoholic father, Siddiqui was a young brick-maker forced to work instead of study, Rani was married at 11 and suffered from early pregnancies, while Sophea was lured by a promising job offer that turned awry. Re-visit their stories here.

What are some fears that children in Singapore have? Do we share similar fears? We asked children aged 18 and below to share some of them.

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Our world is starkly different from that of Ichin, Siddiqui, Rani and Sophea. Unlike children who face dangerous situations daily, 60% of all children in Singapore said that their greatest fear at home was feeling bored or not having alone time, with the majority not having any fears at home.

Let’s continue to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and empower children to be advocates from young!

News & Events

Latest News & Events!

 

 

Pray With Us

Keep Needy Children in Your Thoughts & Prayers

 

  • Pray that children who have been rescued from exploitative situations will continue to experience emotional healing from the trauma
  • Pray for children still trapped in crisis situations to be able to find a safe way out with the help of peers and adults
  • Pray that in their darkest moments, these children will continue to persevere and recognise that they are precious
  • Pray that broken families can reconcile and channel their energy to creating a positive environment for children to grow up in
  • Pray that the opinions of children will be valued in their communities so that they can advocate for change