Contest Winner Travels to Uganda to Meet Children He Sponsors

For 12 years, David and Stacie Levis of Citrus Heights, Calif., have sponsored children across the world through ChildFund International. Their sponsorship helps provide the children with basic necessities, clean water, educational opportunities and job training.

The couple, who have three children of their own, consider their 14 sponsored children part of their extended family, always looking forward to updates, letters and photos. But it was a Facebook promotion last summer that would forever change their relationship with their sponsored children.

Children in Developing Nations Aspire to be Teachers, Doctors

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Ask an average group of 10- to 12-year-olds in the United States what they want to be when they grow up, and more than one in four will say famous athlete or singer/actor. Pose the same question to their counterparts in the developing world and professions requiring a college education, like teaching and medicine, top the list.
This finding is part of the second annual Small Voices, Big Dreams survey, which polled close to 5,000 children ages 10 to 12 in 44 countries throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas — from Afghanistan to Zambia.
“Children who grow up in poverty recognize more than anyone the power that education has to break the cycle,” said Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International, the U.S. member of ChildFund Alliance, which commissioned the survey. “Children in the poorest countries are placing their hopes and dreams on their ability to learn, and they want to use their education to improve their communities.”
Compiled by Ipsos Observer, the survey found that when asked how they would improve the lives of children in their country, almost half of the children in developing nations said they would improve their nation’s schools. This response was four times higher than “provide more food,” which placed second at 11 percent, followed by “improve health care” at 9 percent.
Reflecting the dangers of the world around them, 83 percent of children in developing nations said they felt safest at home or with their parents or family. Children’s biggest health-related concern is getting sick or contracting a disease, which was cited by 23 percent of respondents in developing countries.
Despite finding a stark contrast in professional aspirations, the survey uncovered an inherent similarity among the world’s children. Given the choice to do anything they wanted for a day, 34 percent of children in the developing world would choose to play, and 35 percent of children in developed nations would do the same.
“At the end of day, children are children no matter where they live,” Goddard said. “This survey gives us a powerful glimpse into the opinions of children around the world and will help shape our priorities and programs while giving a voice to those most often overlooked.”

Survey Says Impoverished Children Crave Education First

Ask an average group of 10- to 12-year-olds in the United States what they want to be when they grow up, and more than one in four will say famous athlete or singer/actor. Pose the same question to their counterparts in the developing world and professions requiring a college education, like teaching and medicine, top the list.

This finding is part of the second annual Small Voices, Big Dreams survey, which polled close to 5,000 children ages 10 to 12 in 44 countries throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas – from Afghanistan to Zambia.

Children in Developing Nations Hungry to Learn

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Most 10- to 12-year-olds in developing nations say that, if they were president of their country, their first order of business would be to provide education to all children by improving their schools or building more of them.
This finding is part of an ambitious multinational survey of children in developing nations. The Small Voices, Big Dreams survey polled close to 3,000 children ages 10 to 12 in 30 countries throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas — from Afghanistan to Zambia.
“Our mission is to improve the lives of children in poverty around the world — a mission that starts with listening to the smallest voices among us,” said Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International, the U.S. member of ChildFund Alliance, which sponsored and conducted the survey.
Ipsos Observer compiled and tabulated the results for the survey, which also found an overwhelming sentiment among the world’s poorest children toward improving their lives through education. More than half of those surveyed (57 percent) said that, were they the president of their country, they would educate all children, improve the quality of schools and construct more of them.
While most children are hungry to learn, the survey found that a great many of them are just plain hungry. When asked what they need most, one in three (33 percent) said food. As president, one in five (19 percent) said that they would help people get food. The emphasis on food is understandable given this finding: one in three children (32 percent) said they go to bed hungry at least once a week.
U.S.-based ChildFund International also works with children living in poverty in the United States. A sampling of those children also participated in the survey, and their responses were largely similar to the answers from children around the world.
“The voices of these children may be small, but their words should resonate around the world,” Goddard said. “And what this survey makes clear is that, irrespective of their country, such children around the world share a common sentiment, attuned in a chorus of hardship and hope.”

Toys of the World Celebrate Power of Play

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – For most children in the United States, finding a toy with which to play is hardly a hardship. A trip to the toy store with some allowance money, or a holiday or birthday, provides plenty of action figures, model cars, dolls, talking robots and video games.

But many children in developing countries around the world cannot afford to buy any toys — and these children often show ingenuity and creativity in making their own toys.

To celebrate the power of play, ChildFund International has created a touring exhibition titled, “The Power to Play: From Trash to Treasure,” which displays 350 handcrafted toys created by children around the world. Some of the toys are easily recognizable, like soccer balls and kites. Others are unique to their place of origin, or reveal the social, economic and political conditions in which their makers are growing up.

“Our traveling exhibition highlights the resourcefulness and creativity of the children who created the toys,” says Anne Lynam Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International. “Thousands of viewers will gain new appreciation for the power of play and its role in childhood development.”

Play proves essential to children’s healthy development, helping kids solve problems, test new ideas and gain friendships. So, what kind of toys can viewers expect to see? Warsito and Ade of Central Java, Indonesia make stilts to play a popular game, called “egrang.”

“It’s an exciting and unique game, and I love playing it,” says Warsito. “You can tell when a child is an expert in playing this game. He or she must have a good sense of balance and high skill to play it.”

Tyrel of Dominica has made his own toys since age eight. “I loved playing with toys, but my parents were not always able to afford them, and the ones that they occasionally bought did not hold together for long.”

Nollan, a 13-year-old from Honduras, fashions a toy called “The Trapeze Artist,” which he makes once a year and often lends to siblings and friends.

These unique toys are just a few examples of the types of items in ChildFund International’s Power to Play exhibit, which will be traveling to major museums and other locations across the United States through 2011.

For more information about the exhibit, or to learn how you can improve the life of a child in need, visit www.childfund.org.