Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

ChildFund Australia has today launched an appeal for a vital new early childhood program that will give children in Zambia the best start in life.

In Zambia’s remote communities, there are no accessible health services for babies. Mothers can’t get check-ups or immunisations for their newborns or information on how best to look after their baby. There is little knowledge about age-appropriate nutrition and early childhood development.

As a result, 100,000 Zambian children under five die each year. Most of these deaths are preventable. For those who survive, in some districts almost three-quarters of children are considered developmentally vulnerable.

ChildFund hopes to make a change for the better for children in Zambia with our Start Strong & Stay Strong program. This will provide infants and young children in rural Zambia with a healthier start in their critical first five years, and tackle four crucial areas: education, health, protection and nutrition.

Funds raised will support the construction of 10 child health, care and development centres (called ‘insakas’, meaning ‘place to gather’ in the local language) in two remote communities.

Mothers will be able to bring their babies to the insakas from birth, to receive vital health check-ups, monitoring and immunisations to prevent life-threatening diseases.

Trained local staff will be in attendance to educate mothers on healthy nutrition, child-rearing practices, treatment of common childhood illnesses, child protection and how to monitor important milestones. To help maintain good nutrition over the long-term, demonstration gardens will show parents how to improve the quality of crops.

ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence says: “In Australia, we know how important those 0-5 years are and we’re lucky to have such quality services available to this age group to ensure our children develop to their full potential. However, in places like Zambia, children often don’t have these opportunities – without the right nutrition, healthcare and education at this age, it can set them back for life.

“Our Start Strong & Stay Strong program will have an immediate effect on vulnerable babies that face such a difficult start to life. Your support will not only help these children to survive but give them the best chance of a healthy, productive future.”

To support our Start Strong & Stay Strong program in Zambia, please make a secure online donation here or call our Supporter Relations team on 1800 023 600.

ChildFund Australia has today launched an emergency appeal for children and families affected by severe flooding in the Philippines. A State of Emergency has been declared in parts of the Philippines – mainly in and around the capital, Manila – where monsoon rains, intensified by a series of typhoons, have brought extreme levels of rainfall.

So far 92 people have been killed and over a million displaced. Almost 3,000 homes have been completely destroyed and families have taken temporary shelter in evacuation centres. Cases of fever and diarrhoea have been detected.

ChildFund has already begun providing relief supplies and will continue to support affected children and families until the crisis is over. We are urgently calling for

  • Food and clean water
  • First aid kits
  • Hygiene kits containing such items as: toothpaste and toothbrushes, sanitary napkins, nappies, detergent, bar and dishwashing soap, shampoo and mosquito repellent
  • Materials to temporarily repair damaged homes and restore livelihoods
  • Child Centred Spaces in evacuation centres with educational and play activities for children
  • School supplies

ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence says: “Many places have reported waist-deep water levels. Thankfully in some areas, floodwaters have begun to recede but many locations are still submerged.

“Our priority is to ensure children are protected, both physically and emotionally. Child Centred Spaces help to provide some sense of normalcy for children who are currently taking shelter in evacuation centres, giving them a safe space to play and continue their education.

“With so many children and families in need of urgent assistance, we are asking Australians to help by donating to our emergency appeal.”

You can help now by donating to our Philippines Flood Emergency Appeal. Please call 1800 023 600 to speak to one of our Supporter Relations team.

NOTE TO OUR SPONSORS: For those Australians who sponsor children in the Philippines through ChildFund, we can report that a number of sponsored children have been affected, however, individual information on sponsored children and their families cannot be supplied at this stage as staff are busy helping those affected. We will continue to post updates on our website and Facebook page as information comes to hand and appreciate your patience.

Photo: Flood victims crowd a sports complex turned evacuation centre after flooding in Quezon City, Metro Manila [credit: Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo, courtesy the Thomson Reuters Foundation – AlertNet]