IIF Partner Spotlight: Free the Children

Israel Idonije Foundation will travel to West Africa to launch a 5 year partnership with Free The Children’s Adopt a Village Program. Through this platform, IIF will build a schoolhouse, construct clean water systems including latrines and wells, support health awareness programs, and provide resources for sustainable community development in Nyameyiekrom, Ghana.

Through the creation of this partnership, IIF will promote social and emotional learning through platforms of education, health and community development.

Spotlight: Free the Children

Mission:

Free The Children believes in a world where all young people are free to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. They work to empower youth to remove barriers that prevent them from being active local and global citizens. In Canada, the US, and the UK, the organization provides comprehensive programs for service learning and active citizenship.

History:

Free The Children’s mission is to create a world where all young people are free to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. The organization was founded by Craig Kielburger in 1995 when he gathered 11 school friends to begin fighting child labour at the age of 12.

While flipping through the Toronto Star in search of the comics, Craig was struck by a raw, but courageous story of a boy his age named Iqbal. Iqbal Masih was born in South Asia and sold into slavery at the age of four. In his short life, he had spent six years chained to a carpet-weaving loom. Iqbal captured the world’s attention by speaking out for children’s rights.

Eventually, Iqbal’s wide media coverage caught the attention of those who wished to silence him. At 12, Iqbal lost his life defending the rights of children. What Craig learned from Iqbal’s story was that the bravest voice can live in the smallest body. Moved to action, Craig gathered together a small group of his Grade 7 classmates from his Thornhill, Ontario, school and Free The Children was born. Free the children from poverty. Free the children from exploitation. Free the children from the notion that they are powerless to effect change.Those are the messages that sparked Craig’s passion, and continue to fuel the mission of the organization today. Every day the movement grows and every day more young people are free to achieve their fullest potential.

Today, Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner, with more than 1.7 million youth involved in our innovative education and development programs in 45 countries.

Adopt a Village

Too often aid groups focus only on one area of development: water or education or healthcare, etc., rather than what the community really needs: a holistic solution that forever ends poverty. With Adopt a Village, Free the Children’s international development model, there are five core pillars to ending poverty: Education, Water and Sanitation, Health, Alternative Income and Livelihood, and Agriculture and Food Security. Each of these projects serves to enhance the other, ensuring the greatest overall impact in each area of intervention, and achieving long-term sustainability.

Education:

schools teach habits of healthy homes, business skills, and how to increase farming output enhances healthcare, alternative income and food security

Clean Water and Sanitation:

preventing water-borne illness enhances healthcare; allowing girls and women to spend less time fetching water and more time attending school or setting-up small business enhances education and alternative income

Health:

children healthy to thrive enhances education; quickly treating illness ensures that people do not lose their savings and enhances alternative income

Alternative Income and Livelihood:

profits from small business ensures the community has the means to repair water projects, pay school fees, support medical projects, and re-invest into farms – all of which enhances the sustainability of water & sanitation, education, medical and food security

Agriculture and Food Security:

children at school with a full stomach ready to learn enhances education; a proper diet preventing illness enhances healthcare

Through Adopt a Village, Free the Children seeks the greatest benefit through investing in the community infrastructure. Once a village has these five core pillars, then all members are able to thrive, make individual purchases, and lift themselves forever out of poverty to the point where charity is never again needed.

To learn more, connect with Free the Children http://www.freethechildren.com/