We take every opportunity afforded to advocate and promote children’s rights. The image below shows why such work is so important to us. Every child has their own story, but most have upbringings full of traumatic experiences and distressing memories. It’s hard to imagine that these little ones already have been on harrowing journeys through their short-lived lives, but they have.
November 20th – World Children’s day, offers us an inspirational day to take a long, hard look at what we are doing to improve the lives of children. While great strides have been made over the last 30 years since the inception of this special day, we still have a lot of work to do. Data informs us, but passion drives us to positively impact the lives of marginalized and displaced children.
We know more than 264 million children around the world do not go to school. We are facing this number head on by providing multiple education programs that lay critical foundations in reading, writing, math, and language studies, as well as technical and vocational skills. It is no small feat. Imagine the emotions parents feel when they witness their children graduate to the next level, an opportunity many of us in the West take for granted. I can tell you, proud parents sit with tears in their eyes as they watch us celebrate the accomplishments of their children. Never underestimate the power we have to affect the lives of individuals.
Without food and proper nutrition, kids suffer. The numbers tell us every year that 3.1 million children die of malnutrition – that’s 8,500 each day. Some of the worst statistics are represented in the countries where we work. It’s heart wrenching. These are drastically overwhelming numbers, but we choose to focus on the kids in our programs, those we can help. We are working hard to ensure every kid in one of our programs has a meal each day.
We all have heard the appalling stories of child marriage, but did you know the actual number is 650 million young girls married before the age of 18 every year? That’s a staggering number. I have some good news to share about girls who participate in our programs. We have seen the minimum age increase drastically over the last five years. When we started our work, most girls were married by the age of 13. Now with programs that provide an opportunity for young women to learn a skillset that contributes to their family of origin, we’ve seen the minimum age they are married jump to over 18. That’s astonishing – especially with our small, simple programs. We celebrate these young ladies and the success of small steps that transform their lives.
Lastly, we have to mention the 20 million children who lack access to healthcare. We can report with confidence and joy that we have a holistic approach to the services we offer. We include medical, dental and trauma care in most of our community spaces.
So, celebrate World Children’s Day with us – you are the ones who make it possible! Walk With Me, along with our many on-the-ground partners, ensure kids receive not only the love and care they need, but also access to basic programs that build a solid foundation for their future. Together we are changing the projection for children around the globe.