Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

When Olivia turned five years old in May, she celebrated like many children her age might – with a Disney-themed party, lots of games and a big cake.

However, instead of receiving gifts for her birthday the Sydney preschool student raised money to buy one of ChildFund’s Gifts for Good.

She asked friends to donate to the cost of a cow, to help a child and their family in Uganda access milk – a rare nutritious drink in poor communities in Africa.

“We set up a fundraising page and explained on there what her goal was, and put a link to it on her birthday invitation asking parents to consider supporting Olivia’s goal to buy a cow, as an alternative to a gift,” mum Martine says.

“I explained to Olivia that she would still have presents from us and her grandparents, but that with so many children being invited, we could help some other people in need as well.”

Many parents were enthusiastic about the idea, says Martine, and many of Olivia’s friends drew pictures of cows on the birthday cards they made. “It was lovely to see the concept went further than just Olivia!” Martine says.

At the end of the financial year, I would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank you, one of more than 50,000 Australians who support children in need through ChildFund Australia.

Your assistance is quietly and effectively improving conditions for children in many of the world’s poorest communities. By providing resources and opportunities, children can now access higher quality education and health care, the foundations of a brighter future.

Your support ensures that in the hastily-constructed refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, children and families fleeing from civil conflict in Myanmar have access to emergency food, clean drinking water, shelter and medicine.

In Papua New Guinea, where women in rural communities have to give birth without access to healthcare, your generosity means newly trained and equipped Village Health Volunteers can offer mothers and their newborns better care and support.

In Nepal, a country still recovering from the worst earthquakes in its history, your kindness has allowed ChildFund to partner with local communities for over two years, helping them to rebuild their lives, by focusing on access to education and livelihood regeneration.

And for rural communities in Cambodia, your readiness to help has resulted in more motorcycles travelling down rural tracks, delivering reading kits to schools, vaccines for immunisations, solar lamps to villages without electricity, and seedlings and chickens to farming families who want to increase their household income.

Thanks to you, more children can experience a childhood where they are nurtured and protected, valued and encouraged, free to learn and play, and have the chance to realise their dreams.

Thank you for your commitment. Thank you for believing that every child’s life has the same value, regardless of where they live in the world. Together, we can help more children say: “I am safe. I am educated. I am heard. I have a future.”