“Is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation.”
This organisation began in 1919 as an emergency fund to assist children in Germany who were starving because of an economic blockade still imposed by the allied victors of Word War I. Eglantyne Jebb (1876-1928), one of the main founders, was arrested and fined in London for distributing leaflets, entitled ‘A Starving Baby’, that criticised her government’s vengeful policies; but many members of the public responded generously to her appeal for donations. Over the next few years, Save the Children sent relief aid and workers across Europe, and partner organisations were set up in several other countries, forming an International Save the Children Alliance that has since grown to include members from 27 countries. Jebb, meanwhile, wrote a Charter of the Rights of the Child that was adopted by the League of Nations in 1924, and served as the basis for the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Today, as well as responding to humanitarian emergencies, Save the Children UK works in more than fifty countries worldwide to promote and protect the rights of children
In the 1990s, from a base in Hong Kong, it carried out basic education and water and sanitation projects in Tibet, a programme in Anhui Province to integrate children with learning difficulties into mainstream kindergartens and, also in Anhui, a pilot project to restructure an orphanage into small group homes with family style care. Since 1995, when the China programme office relocated to the mainland, work has grown steadily in breadth and depth, making Save the Children’s one of the largest international NGO programmes in China. In all programme areas the organisation works closely with government partners, introducing its distinctive approach through Child Rights Training for agencies and individuals that work directly with children or on related research and policy.
HIV/AIDS has been an important area of work, starting in 1996 with a school-based peer education programme in Yunnan Province, followed by an integrated prevention and care project in Ruili, Yunnan, starting in 2000. Both approaches have since been replicated elsewhere, notably Anhui and Xinjiang Provinces. Building on experience in Tibet (where education, water and community health programmes have also continued and expanded), a basic education programme began in Yunnan in 2001. This has introduced child-centred teaching methods to schools in poor, ethnic minority areas, while also developing income-generation activities to support local schools and working to improve nutrition, hygiene and inclusive education. Meanwhile, the orphan small group home model has been replicated in other provinces, and Save the Children is now working with Civil Affairs authorities to develop national policy for orphan care. It encourages community based care for AIDS orphans and has worked for more than ten years with Civil Affairs across the country to develop good practice and policy for street children.
With support from EU, Save the Children launched its first term of the Inclusive Education Project in December 2009, and was completed in November 2012. During the three years, 23 resource rooms were established in a total of 24 ordinary kindergartens and primary schools in 4 counties of Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces; over 670 principals and teachers participated in professional training. Considering the local conditions, Save the Children initiated projects with local characteristics and, following the accomplishment of the first term, Save the Children officially launched the second term in Beijing on January 7, 2013. The new project will be supported by IKEA Foundation. On the basis of previous experience in Yunnan and Sichuan Province, this time the project will further cover Xinjiang Autonomous Region as well.