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Development, travel and country music!
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Children on the Edge
I work for a small NGO called Children on the Edge which exists to help children who are leading forgotten lives in barren, dangerous places. These are children without parental care, neglected or persecuted by their governments, ignored by international media and missed by large overseas agencies. Working in partnership with local communities, we create safe, child friendly environments. Here we restore the ingredients of a full childhood by generating hope, life, colour and fun.
Yes absolutely, I'm happy to share how we work. Do you have an email address? I am actually going out to the project at the end of June so I am happy to catch up when I get back? I am more than happy to answer questions / give more info via email. Changing the micro-finance scheme to work for refugees could be a lot more difficult due to their transient nature and many face difficulties with finding work in their host country. Our programme works because the beneficiaries have strong, long-term relationships with the team. It would be interesting to see if that could work in a refugee situation, I am happy to talk further.
Hi Bettina, thank you so much for your comments and for the information about the mother tongue book project, it sounds like a fantastic project.
Language is a huge issue for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, we work mainly with children between the ages of 6 and 12. The aim of the UN and the Lebanese government at the moment, I believe, is to enrol all school aged children into the public schools. However due to the huge numbers this is just not possible at the moment. So yes, whilst it would be beneficial to integrate into the Lebanese system at some point it remains impossible for many children .
Resources are incredibly scarce within the camps, especially from Syria as the majority of refugees fled without any belongings. A book writing / sharing exchange could be a really interesting way of helping the children to process what they have been through and also to develop literacy skills. We teach in Syrian Arabic and English rather than French as the children learn better and feel more comfortable when learning in their own language. Our teachers are Syrian refugees themselves so do not speak any French. We hope that one day, these children and families will return to Syria and will reintegrate back into the Syrian system, when and if that time comes.
The rate of repayment on our scheme is high, off the top of my head it's about 90 - 95%. Our success rate is down to the CCPC and the social workers. They are an integrated part of the community, they know and have relationships with everyone we give loans to. Every beneficiary receives training in the form of workshops (led by ADSN) around entrepreneurship, starting up a small business, finance management etc. before they receive the loan and through the application process they have to prove they have a solid idea of what they will use it for and prove how they will pay it back and make a profit.
I strongly believe that the success of our programme is down to strong relationships and community ownership. I hope that helps to give you more of an idea of what we do, I'm happy to answer more questions if you have any!