For ActionAid’s No Girl Afraid appeal, we are asking for your support to transform the life of a girl like Assenat, by sponsoring a child.
In countries torn apart by conflict, millions of children like Assenat are traumatised, living in fear and facing unimaginable hardship.
In Gaza, four-year-old Assenat gets very frightened when she hears planes overhead. Every night, thousands of children in Gaza suffer from nightmares and bedwetting, signs of the severe emotional distress they feel from witnessing violence and destruction.
When they wake up, these children cannot even turn on a light for comfort. Since Gaza’s only power plant was shut down, families like Assenat’s are only getting four hours of electricity a day. Assenat’s mother, Rewa’a, says: “They are living in fear, they can’t sleep most of the time.” Many are too scared to go to the toilet in the night, and without light, older children can’t do homework.
Meet Freshta, a four-year-old sponsored child in Afghanistan
When four-year-old Freshta’s family fled the Taliban, they had no choice but to make a new home in a cave in the Bamyan region, up in the mountains. Thousands of other families left the country altogether to escape persecution and conflict, fleeing to neighbouring countries for safety. But when Freshta’s father was injured by the Taliban, her family couldn’t travel. They had to stay in the cave.
In the winter, their cave offered no warmth or comfort from the bitter cold. Heavy snowfall made it impossible to go far and there were no jobs, so there was no income for the family. Freshta and her family survived on a diet of tea and bread.
Instead of playing with her friends or looking forward to starting school, Freshta would spend her day cleaning and collecting firewood. The water she collected from the stream was dirty and unsuitable for drinking, but it was their only option.
Life was a constant struggle for this young family until Freshta found a child sponsor through ActionAid. Sponsorship has helped Freshta’s family to build a new home in Bamyan so they can protect their children. And her whole community can now access a clean, safe source of water.
Now Freshta’s older brother goes to the local primary school, and Freshta can enjoy her childhood while she waits for her turn to get the education that will transform her life.
Sponsor a child with ActionAid
Through child sponsorship, ActionAid’s local staff and partners provide direct support to girls like Assenat and Freshta.
• We help provide rechargeable lights and street lighting so girls don’t fear each nightfall, and to make early morning walks to school less dangerous
• We support psychosocial services and family centres to help children overcome trauma and PTSD symptoms
• We provide backpacks, pens, pencils and stationery supplies so children can go to school
Will you help bring hope for the future to girls at risk in the world’s toughest places?
Support ActionAid UK’s appeal
By sponsoring a girl, you will be supporting a whole community to build a future where girls can thrive.
Our local staff and partners understand the deep rooted problems facing girls in the communities where we work. We make sure girls have enough to eat, an education and shelter. For girls living through conflict, we help run safe spaces like the Al-Aqsa club in Gaza, where they can start to address the trauma that they have experienced.
We work with communities to help protect girls from violence and challenge discrimination, so that they can grow up to take control of their own futures.
Your sponsorship will make a huge difference to a child’s life.
What to expect when you sponsor a child
As their only sponsor, you’ll have a special relationship with your sponsored child. As soon as you sign up to be a sponsor, we’ll send you a welcome pack with a photo of the child you’re sponsoring and their story so far. And that’s just the start of the journey you’ll go on together.
You’ll get two handwritten messages a year from your child telling you about them and their life – they might be letters, drawings, or postcards – plus detailed updates about how they’re getting on from our staff in their country.
You can write back to your sponsored child. Over time you’ll get a new photo at special milestones so you can see them grow and thrive.
Where your sponsorship money goes
Sponsoring a child costs just 65p a day. 80% of your sponsorship money goes overseas to help your child and their community, and the remaining 20% is invested in the UK on public education and finding more sponsors.
The community where your child lives knows best what challenges he or she is facing. That’s why the community decides where the money is needed most and what it should be spent on.
You can be sure we’ll achieve as much as possible with every pound of your sponsorship money. And you’ll see the difference you’re making to your sponsored child’s life through regular updates on how your money’s being spent.
Photo credits: Celia Peterson, Lorenzo Tugnoli/ActionAid.