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International homelessness charities recognised for child protection work

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International homelessness charities recognised for child protection work

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health and also in Communities

child poverty child poverty

Two international homelessness charities have been recognised for their child protection work at the 2013 Impact Awards.

The London-based Stars Foundation selected the winners because of their excellence in the provision of frontline services to disadvantaged children.

The Stars Foundation has supported 58 organisations working in 24 countries, reaching two million people. Founding patrons include former US president Bill Clinton and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah.

One of this year's winners was Dakar-based Samu Social Sénégal, the first organisation to run a 24-hour shelter support and outreach service to some of the 50,000 children forced to live and beg on the streets each day in the African country.

Shelter, food, recreation and educational activities are provided in addition to medical experts, clinical psychologists and social workers being accessible to children all day, every day. Mobile outreach teams work on the streets night and day and a mobile family reunion team supports children able and willing to return home.

Since 2003, Samu Social Sénégal has expanded to five regions in Sénégal; supported close to 5,000 children and young people; distributed 220,000 meals; and reunited 680 children with their families.

The second recipient of a prize was M’Lop Tapang, which provides refuge and care for street children in the south-western port of Sihanoukville.

Protecting children from abuse, violence, drug use and isolation, the charity works with community stakeholders to provide education, vocational training and recreational activities to any child at risk.

Up to 5,000 community members have been trained in child protection issues through outreach programmes. And wider change in the community is being demonstrated by the increasing numbers of poor families contacting M’Lop Tapang hoping to send their children to school.

In the last year, more than 3,000 children attended M’Lop Tapang’s education programmes, 1,000 calls were received by a 24-hour confidential helpline and 100 children were reintegrated with their family.

Services are now being used as an alternative to prison for young people convicted of non-violent crime. And local businesses are increasingly hiring M’Lop Tapang vocational training graduates – more than 40 found in employment in 2013.

The Stars Impact Awards recognise and reward effective, well-managed local organisations working on the front line in the fight against poverty and child mortality in the countries with the highest rates of under-five mortality.

Awards are made in four categories (Health, Education, Protection and Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) across two geographic regions (Africa-Middle East & Asia-Pacific). The 2014 Impact Awards will also be open to eligible charities in Latin-America and the Caribbean.

Muna Wehbe, chief executive of the Stars Foundation, said: “The Impact Awards recognise and reward outstanding local organisations working on the frontline in the fight against poverty and child mortality. We hope other donors will see that flexible funding for effective charities puts decision-making in the hands of the real development experts, unlocking their potential to become stronger, more sustainable and more able to improve the lives of the vulnerable children in their communities.”

Stars founding chairman Amr A. Al-Dabbagh added: “Stars Foundation is committed to reaching 20 million children and their communities by 2020. The only way we are going to do that is by supporting ever-larger numbers of local organisations doing incredible work on the ground. The 2013 Impact Award winners are beacons of effective practice, offering inspiration to other charities, and to us all.”

Photo by Kimlong Meng / Majority World

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