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Annual Report 2017

23 May 2018

Rising to the challenge

In 2017, Save the Children Australia supported 166 projects in 21 countries around the world, reaching millions of people. In Australia, through our 101 programs in education, health and protection, we directly reached 31,347 children and adults in 197 communities and locations.

As a global organisation, we worked in 117 countries directly reaching 49.6 million children. We also responded to
121 disasters in 61 countries – reaching over more than 15 million children and adults.

Thanks to you – our wonderful supporters, volunteers and partners – we have been able to generate positive
change for children.

Read the full 2017 Annual Report here.

Challenges faced by children in 2017

Every child deserves to feel safe and loved, to get an education, to be healthy and to live a life free from violence. But overseas and in Australia, some children face challenges from the outset. Here are some of the biggest challenges that children faced in 2017.

Missing out on education

Despite education being globally accepted as pivotal for both an individual’s potential and the development of a nation, there are still 264 million children and young people who aren’t going to school.

Dying from preventable causes

Globally, a child’s risk of dying is greatest in the first 28 days of life. Birth complications, disease and malnutrition – among many other leading causes – kill 15,000 children under five every day across the world. That’s more than 5 million every year.

Subjected to abuse and violence

Violence against children has long-lasting and devastating consequences for social, physical and mental health. Yet, horrifically, around 300 million children globally are regularly subjected to violent discipline.

Removal from the home

In Australia and overseas, children are being removed from their families and placed in inappropriate or institutional care. This can be due to poverty, exploitation, economic migration, war and conflict or substantiated concerns about child neglect or abuse.

Rising to the challenge: Our response

Keeping children engaged at school

Children and young people have different learning styles, and the educational journey for some students can be made more challenging through health and wellbeing complexities. Working closely with young people struggling with conventional educational methods, our Hands on Learning program tackles student disengagement. The purpose of the program is to equip the students with tools and life skills they can use to overcome their learning barriers.

Darren's story, 14 years old, Victoria

For Darren*, a year-9 student at Springside College in Caroline Springs, a traditional classroom setting was always a challenge. Darren found it difficult to concentrate and settle in class, and his distracting behaviour led to school suspensions and a disrupted education.

“I used to be hyped to go to school on a Monday, but I’d lose excitement as the week went on,” he says, complaining there was always too much “listening” to do.

When Darren started Hands on Learning in 2017, things turned around. He relished the ‘hands-on’ approach to learning and the opportunity to build positive relationships with both students and staff.

“It’s the ‘doing’ that’s great in Hands on Learning. You have the opportunity to teach others in the group,” he says. “It’s really rewarding and feels great looking back at your work. The ‘we did it’ is a proud moment.”

Reducing child mortality from preventable diseases

Ethiopia has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world – in fact, one in 20 Ethiopian children will die before their first birthday. From 2013–2017 our Improving Maternal Newborn and Child Health project aimed to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in Amhara region, Ethiopia. It achieved this by improving access to quality health services and encouraging girls and women to seek out professional healthcare, with support from their families.

Keshen's story, 35 years old, Ethiopia

Keshen has five children but the birth of her youngest son, Wondemnagn, was different to the others. This time she had the support and guidance of Zinet, a young woman who trained as a volunteer with Save the Children’s health volunteers.

“[Zinet] was good to me,” Keshen says. “During my pregnancy, she told me not to give birth at home. I listened to her advice and when I went into labour, I went to the health centre and gave birth in the clinic.

“After my son was born, she advised me to vaccinate my child within six months and she also told me to provide nutritious food. I took her advice and I am healthy, and so is my child.”

Now three years old, Wondemnagn is a robust little boy who keeps Keshen and his siblings on their toes.

“Compared to my other children, he is very healthy,” Keshen says. “My older children were vulnerable to diseases and they had stomach aches. But since Wondemnagn is getting regular check-ups, he is fine.”

Protecting children from abuse and violence

Two of the biggest factors preventing women from leaving an abusive relationship are fear of having nowhere to go and concerns about how it will impact their children. Yet nearly 60% of women experiencing intimate partner violence report their children have witnessed an incident.

We run five Domestic and Family Violence refuges in Queensland providing unit-style accommodation for women and their children. Each refuge is in a confidential location and staffed with skilled Parent Support Workers and a Child Support Worker. These workers ensure the individual needs and rights of children and women are supported.

Taliah's story, Queensland

Friends and co-workers would never have guessed Taliah lived in her car with her two children. A loving mother with a good, stable job, Taliah’s story reflects that of so many Australian women who are forced to leave their home after experiencing violence at the hand of their partner.

“It was a very volatile, life-or-death situation,” recalls Taliah. “The choice of potentially not being alive or one of my children being severely hurt… I could see my children’s pain and that was the catalyst [to leave].”

After making the brave decision to escape, Taliah faced the challenge of finding somewhere to go. Her eldest son was 16 and most refuges won’t take older boys.

“I was sleeping in the car with the kids,” she says. “I’d take the kids, especially my youngest, into public toilets to wash… [we’d] go to the laundromat first thing in the morning so we’d have clean clothes.”

At last, Taliah found safety at our Jebb Refuge on the outskirts of Brisbane. She spent 14 months there – the time needed to recover and rebuild her life, and her children’s lives, free from violence.

Keeping families together

In Indonesia, up to half a million children grow up in orphanages – the highest proportion of any country in the world. Yet almost 90% of these children have at least one living parent. Since 2005, Save the Children has been working alongside the Indonesian Government to shift focus away from institutional care. The goal of our Families First program is that all Indonesian children will be cared for in a safe family environment – either with their own family or with a community-based alternative.

Atikah and Rizki story, ages 32 and 8, Indonesia

When Atikah* and her husband fell on hard times, they felt they had no choice but to send their youngest son Rizki* to live in an orphanage.

“I didn’t have any option to care for him at home,” Atikah says. “So, I felt I had to put Rizki in an institution.” But the decision Atikah felt forced to make haunted her. “When Rizki first entered the orphanage, I felt I was in limbo,” she says. “I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t want to eat.”

Save the Children workers, aware of Atikah’s situation, spent time with the family and helped them understand that family was still the best place for Rizki to grow up.

Rizki has now returned home. “When I went to the orphanage to take Rizki home, I was so happy,” Atikah says. “He and I bonded immediately and we didn’t want to be apart from each other any longer. Family is the most valuable thing – families shouldn’t be parted.”

Your support drives our work

Save the Children is a worldwide community made up of thousands of caring, compassionate people who want to make a better future for our children. Here are just a few of the amazing people and groups who make our work possible.

A young humanitarian

Instead of receiving gifts for her 11th birthday, Lucinda (pictured below right) asked for donations for Save the Children Australia. A few months before her birthday, our Chief Executive Officer, Paul Ronalds, spoke at her school and she was inspired to do something to help other children. Lucinda decided to throw a ‘Sing for the Children’ disco party, where 25 of her friends sang and danced, raising $1,185 for Save the Children Australia. Lucinda’s mum is incredibly proud of her generous and caring daughter.

“We couldn’t believe the overwhelming support from Lucinda’s friends for her party idea,” she says. “As parents, we couldn’t be prouder of our girl.”


From refugee to volunteer

Born and raised in Syria, Bahaa Atiya (pictured below) was halfway through his mechanical engineering degree when the war began in 2011. He went to Lebanon and was hired as an Assistant Teacher at a refugee camp. It was here Bahaa first met Save the Children. “I organised activities for children and assisted in the classroom for maths and Arabic,” Bahaa says. “I also helped provide psychological support to kids who had experienced trauma.”

Bahaa was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to migrate to Australia, but knew he wanted to continue supporting young people. He came across the Mobile Youth Van program in Meadow Heights, Victoria, and signed up to become a volunteer. Many of the program participants have recently arrived from Syria and Iraq, making Bahaa’s cultural background, cross-cultural understanding and Arabic language skills an extremely important asset to the program.

“The best thing about volunteering at the Mobile Youth program has been learning how to interact and work with children and youth in the Australian cultural context,” Bahaa says. “The different rules and professional practices here taught me to change my thinking and way of communicating.”


Believing in young people’s potential

The Ian Potter Foundation has been instrumental in helping us expand our Out-Teach program into Shepparton, Victoria, after a very successful trial in Tasmania. Out-Teach helps young people to positively re-engage with their education, supporting them to transition out of the juvenile detention system. A specialist educator works one-on-one with each student, building on their strengths and working towards personal goals. In Tasmania, 80% of participants haven’t reoffended after completing the program.

“The Ian Potter Foundation is proud to be associated with the Out-Teach program,” Dr Alberto Furlan, Senior Program Manager at the Foundation, says. “It has shown excellent outcomes in Tasmania and has potential for
expansion in other locations.”

The Victorian Government has also supported the expansion of the program with a Youth Crime Prevention Grant.


A wall to bring us together

Last year, we joined forces with the Mondeléz International Foundation to launch the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities initiative through our pre-existing national Play2Learn program. The initiative is focused on empowering children and their families to develop healthy eating habits, engage in active play, and grow their own fresh food.

The partnership has already proved mutually beneficial, with Mondeléz staff engaging positively with the project. They even created a mural (pictured below) in head office to highlight the partnership and inspire staff to get involved.

“The wall gives an opportunity for our people to witness the power of Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities daily,” Mitch Newton, Corporate Affairs Coordinator, says. “Since installation, we’ve been flooded with questions from our people as to how they can get involved moving forward – particularly in terms of volunteering and fundraising.”


A longstanding champion for children

Margot Melzak OAM (pictured below centre) has been a dedicated supporter of Save the Children for 25 years. As the President of the Toorak branch, she has been a prolific fundraiser for our Australian Programs and recently received an Order of Australia medal acknowledging her tireless work.

“I feel blessed to receive an award for my work with Save the Children, because it’s something I love doing,” Margot says. “I’m always uplifted hearing the positive stories of change to people’s lives.” Margot has also generously left a gift in her Will to Save the Children and, as such, is a member of the Friends of the Eglantyne Jebb Society. She is looking forward to celebrating the centenary year in May 2019.

“I have great admiration for Eglantyne Jebb. She was a wonderful woman with great fortitude,” Margot says. “I feel privileged to be a part of a celebration that honours the strength, character and determination of a woman like Eglantyne.”


Want to find out more?

Download our reports here:

- 2017 Annual Report PDF
- Financial statement PDF (summary version)
- Financial statement PDF (full version)
- Enviornment & Sustainability report card

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