Tag Archives: children

Conflict kills 300 children every day

More than half a million babies may have died as a result of conflict over the past five years, according to a new report by Save the Children. That’s an average of more than 100,000 deaths annually – or 300 babies every day.

Save the Children - war zone photo

At least 550,000 deaths of children under the age of one could be attributed to the effects of conflict in the 10 worst-affected conflict zones between 2013 and 2017, the most recent year for which data was available, the charity found.

Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria and Somalia are the countries where children were hardest hit by conflict.

The death toll does not include children killed directly by fighting. Instead, it estimates the number of infants and young children who may have died from the knock-on effects of nearby conflict, such as starvation, outbreaks of disease, damage to hospitals, or delays to aid deliveries.

Child deaths rose to 870,000 when all children under the age of five were included. The estimates are likely conservative. By comparison, the charity estimates that almost 175,000 fighters or soldiers were killed in the conflicts over the same five-year period.

The horrific impact on children is partly the result of protracted modern conflicts, often fought among civilian populations. But there is also a crisis in accountability – with persistent, widespread and sometimes deliberate violations of children’s rights across the globe.

Save the Children is calling for the UK to urgently implement a new strategy for protecting civilians – with children front and centre – covering diplomacy, defence and aid.

Britain’s cross-government ‘Protection of Civilians Strategy’ was last updated in 2010 and has no specific provisions for children or other vulnerable groups.

Save the Children is calling for the UK to:

  • Track civilian harm and comprehensively record civilian casualties in conflicts the UK is engaged in, as recommended by the Chilcot Inquiry;
  • Acknowledge the harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, avoid its use and take measures to reduce their impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure;
  • Consistently call out violations against children in conflict, including by allies;
  • Raise the urgency of protecting civilians wherever Britain has a seat at the table – including at the UN Security Council, NATO and the G7.

Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children, said: “The UK should be using its global influence to protect children living in war zones. From Yemen to Syria and South Sudan, children are bearing the horror of armed conflict.

“Some are treated as collateral damage in urban bombing. Others are deliberately targeted for killing, abduction and recruitment by armed groups. Millions go hungry because humanitarian aid is obstructed.

“Britain should send a clear message to the world: the war on children must end, and those who commit crimes against children will be held to account.”

Working families fall short of minimum living standard

The overall cost of a child over 18 years (including rent and childcare) is £150,753 for a couple and £183,335 for a lone parent. But work doesn’t pay low-income families enough to meet a no-frills standard of living, new research from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) shows.

Cost of a Child ReportA combination of rising prices, benefits and tax credits freezes, the introduction of the benefit cap and two-child limit, the bedroom tax, cuts to housing benefits and the rolling out of Universal Credit have hit family budgets hard.

Life has been getting progressively tougher for families on low or modest incomes over the past ten years, with families on in-work and out-of-work benefits hardest hit, the report warns.

Despite the introduction of the ‘national living wage’, low-paid families working full-time are still unable to earn enough to meet their families’ needs. The gains from modest increases in wages have been clawed back through the freezing of tax credits.

Even families with two parents currently working full time on the ‘national living wage’ are 11% (£49 per week) short of the income the public defines as an acceptable, no-frills living standard.

The cumulative effect of cuts, frozen benefits and new punitive measures hit lone parents particularly hard. For lone parents, even a reasonably paid job (on median earnings) will leave them 15% (£56 per week) short of an adequate income because of the high cost of childcare. A lone parent working full-time on the ‘national living wage’ will be 20% (£74 per week) short of what they need to achieve a minimum standard of living. However, a lone parent relying solely on benefits will go without 40% of the budget they need for a socially acceptable minimum.

With the introduction of the two-child limit, families with three or more children fare worst – a third child born after 1 April 2017, for whom no additional support will be provided, costs around £86,500 or £4,800 a year excluding childcare.

Larger families on out-of-work benefits who avoid being hit by the two-child limit will instead be hit by the benefit cap which restricts support to £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside London regardless of family size. The impact of the benefit cap means that an out-of-work family with three children living in a privately rented home will receive just a little over a third of what they need to meet their needs, with a shortfall of around £400 per week.

The costs of a child are calculated according to a minimum standard of income that covers the costs of essentials such as food, clothes and shelter as well as other costs necessary to participate in society. It looks at the needs of different family types and is informed by what ordinary members of the public feel is necessary for both couples and lone parents bringing up children.

Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham said: “Today, the majority of children growing up in poverty have working parents. While the number of parents in work is increasing, income from work alone is not sufficient to enable some to meet their families’ needs or escape poverty and the cost of a child is substantial. There is strong public support for government topping-up the wages of low-paid parents and investing in children is the best long-term investment we can make. By using the forthcoming budget to unfreeze benefits and restore work allowances, the government can take steps towards making work really pay.”

Click here to read the report.

New tea blend helps Dreams Come True

Malcolm Ferris Lay

Malcolm Ferris Lay

Tea lovers are being invited to try out a new tea blend which has been created to help a national children’s charity.

Dreams Come True has launched the recipe to celebrate its annual Dream Tea campaign, which asks supporters to host a tea party and sell cakes and biscuits to colleagues, friends and family.

Money raised helps fund dream outings and gifts for children and young people with life-threatening conditions.

The new tea has been created by Edgcumbes and Dream Tea ambassador Malcolm Ferris Lay, using a blend of Assam and Kenyan teas.

Alice Rendle, Edgcumbes managing director, said: “In the UK we drink more Kenyan tea than any other. Dream Tea Assam is full of flavour and has a ‘malty’ character which when blended with Kenyan produces a good cuppa.”

Dream Tea Assam will go on sale via Dreams Come True’s online shop which is due to launch in October. In the meantime, free samples are available for supporters who get involved with the Dream Tea campaign.

Sue Fowler, head of fundraising at Dreams Come True, said: “The tea is absolutely fantastic and we are delighted that Edgcumbes and Malcolm Ferris Lay have worked so hard with us to create such a special tea blend.

“Both Alice Rendle, Edgcumbes’ managing director and Malcolm have been in the tea industry for many years and their combined experience has helped us create a delicious tea for all our supporters.”

To get involved in Dream Tea, visit http://www.dreamscometrue.uk.com/dreamtea.

CHICKS Open Information Evening

CHICKS logoCHICKS, a registered charity which provides free respite breaks for disadvantaged children, is holding an Open Information Evening on Tuesday 28 January in Tower Hamlets, for anyone interested in finding out more about the services it offers.

CHICKS provides 8 to 15 year olds with a chance for respite from their daily challenges, from being young carers, living in poverty or subject to abuse, to being in service families or suffering bullying or bereavement, The week-long breaks give children a chance to be children again and to get involved in new, exciting activities and positive experiences. Thanks to the charity’s fundraising, each break is offered completely free of charge to the child and their family.

The Open Information Evening takes place at Globe Primary School, Gawber Street, Tower Hamlets E2 0JH, on Tuesday 28 January 2014. A CHICKS presentation takes place from 4pm to 5.30pm, with networking afterwards.

To confirm a place, contact Emily Kirov, CHICKS Referral Agent Development Officer, at emily@chicks.org.uk, or call 01822 811112. To find out more about CHICKS, visit www.chicks.org.uk.

Jasmine helps bereaved teens

A teenager who lost her brother to leukaemia is using her experience to help bereaved schoolchildren.

Jasmine Crayton,  from Trekenner in Cornwall, found returning to school after her brother died three years ago to be incredibly tough. Now she is working with Fixers, a national movement of young people fixing issues they feel strongly about. Jasmine is one of a group of Cornish teenagers who want schools to better understand the needs of their pupils if they lose a loved one.

When Jasmine returned to school after her brother Jordan’s death, she was bullied by other pupils and believes her teachers could have done more to help.

The 17-year-old said: “After Jordan died I went back to school about a month later. You don’t want to be wrapped in cotton wool but you don’t want to be just expected to be normal as soon as you go back.

“A group of children in my class felt that I was getting special treatment. I was bullied because they were jealous.”

Jordan was 16 when he died in April 2010 after losing his battle with leukaemia.

Jasmine added: “Jordan was my best friend. He was the happiest person I know and the bravest person.”

Jasmine and the Fixers, who have all lost a close family member, have been supported by the Cornish bereavement charity Penhaligon’s Friends.

They’re planning to create a magazine for schools to share their experiences with teachers. It is hoped that greater understanding  will allow bereaved young people to stay engaged with their studies whilst going through their ordeal.

Jasmine, who has another elder brother called Bradley, said: “It is important that schools take bereavement seriously as it’s quite a delicate matter and some teachers don’t know what to say in some situations so they don’t say anything at all. It would be good for a child who has been through bereavement to have someone in school who they could go to who they could feel safe to talk to.”

About one in 25 young people have experienced bereavement of a parent or sibling, about the same as one child in every classroom in the country, according to charity Winston’s Wish.