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How Innovative Ideas Keep Children Safer

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Posted on 7/15/2016

At ChildFund’s Whistle for Protection campaign launch in Bacolod, Philippines, children and adults test out distress whistles.

Every parent or grandparent wants to see their children happy, smiling and unhurt, but it’s a great challenge to keep children safe in some communities where ChildFund works.

For instance, human trafficking is a threat in developing nations. Its success relies on misinformation and lies.

In impoverished Indonesian communities, traffickers prey on families’ desire to see their children well cared for. Often, they tell parents that wealthy families are waiting to adopt their children, or they’ll say that a well-funded orphanage will be a better home for their young ones. Of course, the truth is that their children could wind up begging on the street or working in a dangerous factory, or something even worse.

ChildFund is working with Indonesian authorities and local partner organizations to make parents aware of the risks posed by trafficking. Peer educators and career guidance training help them build financial stability and job skills that will keep families intact and children safe.

In the Philippines, children with disabilities are at particular risk of danger from careless drivers, bullies and perpetrators of abuse. We’ve introduced a fairly simple but effective solution: distress whistles. A loud, shrill whistle calls immediate attention to a problem, even in noisy urban streets. The Whistle for Protection campaign focuses on the rights and protection of children with disabilities, and aside from the distribution of whistles, they learn to report incidents of abuse to caring adults within their communities. Greater awareness makes everyone safer.

Fire and smoke cause other kinds of danger for children in Ethiopia.

Open fires and inefficient stoves pose the threat of burns and respiratory diseases, even asthma, in young children. But for many families, they’re a way of life — the only tool they have to cook family meals and bake injera and bread to sell. Aysha, an Ethiopia mother of five, was constantly collecting firewood from a nearby forest or buying it from a market. Everyone in her household breathed in smoke.

But now, she’s part of a women’s economic strengthening group, which has allowed Aysha to get an energy-saving stove that doesn’t produce smoke. And her financial situation is better, Aysha says, allowing the family to consider building a new home.

Knowledge and resources help keep children safe, we’ve learned over the years, and they also give families hope for a better future.