Your unrestricted donation saves and protects children in their darkest hour of need. And it gives us the capability to respond to more conflict-related crises in the future.
I went out to buy biscuits and potatoes and was walking to the supermarket when a bomb went off behind me… I saw my brother and sisters fall to the ground. Another bomb fell on my neighbour’s house.
I keep remembering the bombs.
I don’t remember much before the war. I remember I used to play in the farm. We used to climb trees.
That’s my only memory.
Ritaj, aged 11
Imagine it’s your children. Your grandchildren. Your nieces, nephews, or neighbours. The children from the school down the road. Literally running for their lives. Running from AK-47 bullets, from barrel bombs dropped on their playgrounds, from imprisonment, torture and rape.
It’s hard to imagine the things they’ve seen and heard. Parents, siblings and friends killed right in front of them. How alone, scared and traumatised they must feel. Their world turned upside down. Their childhood abruptly ended.
You want your donation to help protect children from the horrors of war? This is where it does just that.
It finds them somewhere safe to sleep, helps reunite them with the family they’ve been separated from, and gets them into a makeshift school and the semblance of normality and security that an education provides.
Countless children are forced to flee their homes every year because of conflict. Over two million have fled over Syria’s borders since the civil war there began in 2011. The nature of modern conflict means that civilians are often caught in the firing line, and they are increasingly deliberately targeted. It can spread so fast and unpredictably that there’s often no warning signs or chance to escape the fighting.
Getting help to children in the first few days and weeks of a conflict is absolutely crucial. That’s when they’re the most vulnerable and isolated.
Urgent need, slow cogs
There are pots of money available for NGOs to respond to humanitarian crises like those created by conflict. The problem is that some of these mechanisms often take months to get into gear and for the money to become available. Children can’t wait that long, which is why it’s vital that we have flexible funds of our own. This enables us to rapidly respond and get our child protection projects on the ground as soon as possible.
Unrestricted income gives the flexibility to divert our funding into and out of an emergency pot as the need arises and situations change. No red tape. No waiting to hear about grant applications. We act according to our timetable, not someone else’s, where the need is greatest. Supporting our growth as a charity directly saves and protects the innocent victims of conflict.
The biggest country you’ve never heard of?
Crucially, unrestricted funding allows us to respond to emergencies that most people don’t even know about. The UN described the situation in Central African Republic (CAR) as ‘the world’s forgotten humanitarian crisis’.
Over 411,000 people displaced from their homes, 1.1 million children in need of humanitarian assistance, between 6,000-10,000 children recruited into armed groups, and one third of children are out of school. By any measure what’s happening in CAR since the conflict flared up in 2012 is a crisis.
But when was the last time you saw it on the news? The global funding response has been completely inadequate.
Our unrestricted funding allowed us to move our teams into CAR to help children. It was private donors and corporate support that enabled us to set up our child protection ‘safe spaces’ and start making a vital difference.
To the next emergency. And the one after, and the one after…
We’re not yet at the size and capability whereby we can deploy our specialist child protection projects anywhere in the world at short notice. But we want to ultimately be in a position where we can urgently respond to any conflict emergency if we feel that we’re the best placed organisation to do so, and provide a safety net for all children affected by conflict as a part of the global humanitarian response.
Our valuable unrestricted funds give us the flexibility and agility to allocate funds based on the urgent needs of children, and to ensure that some funds are protected for children in dire need of help we ring-fence a minimum amount for our Emergency Fund. We can deploy funds from this within 72 hours, and it only requires the approval of 2 members of our Senior Management Team. Our 2017-2019 Strategy commits to retaining £120,000 minimum in our Emergency Fund, ready to respond when children need it most. It’s vital to protect this sum, but we also need to make sure we’re building our resilience and ability to deploy our staff in the regions most affected by emergency conflict situations so that we’re ready to respond to crises.
We stay, long after the TV cameras have gone home
So you’ve helped keep children safe when they’re at their most vulnerable, and given them the counselling and sense of routine that helps them cope with what they’ve experienced.
The ones that have got this far are often very traumatised but also usually incredibly resilient. With the right support you’ll be amazed and inspired by how they can rebuild their lives and their communities.