Our staff are involved in a whole host of wonderful things, from The Three Peak Challenge to charity fundraising. This summer, Eleanor (from our Ipswich store) is volunteering for a charity called ‘Street Child’. We loved her story so much, we just had to share it with you. Here, she tells us all about the charity and her interest in humanitarian issues…
Street Child work in several countries in Africa and Asia, but their base in Kampala, Uganda is their newest addition. Their aim is to get children into schools where circumstances, like poverty, have prevented them from realising this basic right. Since it’s start in 2008, Street Child have helped 200,000 children into education, but there are so many that haven’t had this chance.
A lot of Street Child’s work is ‘capacity building’. This means that, rather than just completing the work themselves, they employ the help of local partners to achieve their goals. This provides partners with funds, skills training, strategies and any other necessities. It also hopefully makes sustainable impact, and helps citizens to help themselves, long after the charity leaves the area.
The reason for Street Child’s focus on educating children is that education can prevent poverty. Those with an education are better equipped to work, start businesses and make positive impacts upon their communities. There are also other smaller targets that will help to realise this greater goal, including training teachers; supporting parents with getting jobs so that they can fund their child’s education; and helping local businesses and charities to overcome other factors that prevent children from going to school (e.g. period poverty, lack of clean water and sanitation and disease).
Choosing to volunteer
As a Politics and Human Rights student, I am passionate about humanitarian issues and foreign aid. I am also keen to get some first-hand experience of the work of international organisations in the humanitarian field. There are so many worthy charities seeking international volunteers, but I chose to volunteer with Street Child because of their sustainable impact upon the countries they work in. The work of Street Child’s international volunteers is so vital to the charity, and the volunteers carry out real, practical tasks that make an active difference, rather than the ‘voluntourism’ that some charities may offer their volunteers.
While the role of volunteers can be varied, I know that I will be carrying out research whilst in Uganda. This will likely be into rural areas in need of the charity’s help or uncovering other issues that stand in the way of education for these children. In addition, I expect to be in contact with current and potential partners in the country that can help Street Child to continue fulfilling their goal.
Faced with a choice of countries that I could volunteer in, my choice was Uganda because not only is Street Child’s work there in its infancy, meaning that the work I do could be even more influential and necessary, but also Uganda faces unique challenges. Hosting a huge population of refugees from surrounding countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, many of the children in need of schooling are orphaned refugees who have fled devastating conflict and witnessed harrowing scenes that no one should ever have to face, let alone children. With this in mind, Uganda was the place I wanted to focus my efforts.
Alongside my work in the country this summer, I am trying to raise money for the charity before I leave. My fundraising efforts include a charity pub quiz and bake sales, but I am also asking for donations, however small. This cause is important, and the funds will help some of the world’s most vulnerable people, so I implore you to donate if you can. Give before 21st February 2019 and all public donations to Street Child’s ‘Count Me In’ campaign will be matched by the UK Government up to £2 million. This means Street Child can help even more children in the world’s toughest places go to school and learn by funding school fees, uniforms and learning materials, training teachers, refurbishing classrooms and building schools. If you can, please visit my fundraising page here to donate.
On behalf of the children and communities that will be helped as a result of your donations, I want to thank you for your generosity and support.