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Why we believe every child needs a childhood

In 1938, philanthropist Dr J Calvitt Clarke had a vision: to provide life-saving support to families in China recovering from war. Today, ChildFund is represented in over 60 countries, helping the world’s most vulnerable children.

Here we explain more about our vision, and how our current projects continue to achieve the core goals of our original mission.

How we have helped children in poverty

Over our long history, ChildFund is immensely proud to have worked in partnership with families and local communities across the globe to ensure that thousands of children can survive and thrive.

Our Childhood Manifesto articulates why we believe every child needs a childhood. It is the foundation of our work with children, their families and communities, and drives our continued efforts to ensure that every child can say: “I am safe. I am educated. I am heard. I have a future.”

What is the Childhood Manifesto?

The Childhood Manifesto is a declaration of the rights of children. Here we outline what we believe a child needs to feel safe, educated and heard:

Every child needs a childhood. But not all childhoods are the same.

Too many children don’t survive childhood.

Too many children endure a childhood scarred by poverty, where their basic human rights are ignored.

Too many children experience a childhood marred by violence and fear.

Too many children experience a childhood where education ends too early, and work begins too soon.

Too many children experience a childhood where they are not respected or listened to.

But when a child is nurtured, protected, and given opportunities …

When a child feels safe, encouraged, and valued …

When a child is free to learn and to play …

Then the potential of that child can be realised.

That child will make a vital contribution to their family, community and society.

And when that child reaches adulthood, they can nurture the childhoods that follow.

All of the projects we’re working on across South East Asia and around the world work towards improving the livelihoods of children and their families.


How we work with the Childhood Manifesto

Everything we do, in some way, is guided by the Childhood Manifesto.

For example,  our donors have helped us fund projects such as non-formal schools to encourage child labourers to continue their education as they are able. By empowering these children with alternatives to traditional schooling, we’re helping them break out of the poverty cycle, which will provide them with the opportunity to change their future.

Why is our work and the Childhood Manifesto important?

Childhood has a deadline. It’s a formative period where experience and conditions determine a child’s present, and set the course for their future. We must do all in our power to ensure that every child can survive and thrive.

Because every child needs a childhood.

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