Big Lottery Fund
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Funding to save street children from poverty and abuse

A project to improve the lives of street children in Kenya has received £505,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

The grant to Railway Children is among six awarded from the Fund’s International Communities programme, which supports projects tackling the causes of poverty and deprivation and the impact they have on people’s lives.

The project in Kitale aims to save children who have run away or been forced to leave home because of poverty or violence - but then live alone on the streets where they are at risk of more severe abuse and exploitation.

It will improve access to primary education and work to rehabilitate and reintegrate the children with their families. The project will increase the presence of street workers who will refer children to a rescue centre where they will have a safe place to stay for at least six months and food and clothing. Services will include education and recreational activities and support to help children to return home.

Those who do return home will be supported to enrol and remain in school and be provided with school uniforms, fees and stationery. A local partner will regularly visit families and schools to monitor their progress. Families will be provided with skills to diversify and maximise their income – some will be supported to start bio-intensive agriculture which optimises the yields from small garden plots.

The charity also will work with a local partner to help those young people unable to return to their families by organising them into youth associations which will receive leadership skills, training in group dynamics and how to develop their own enterprises. It is expected that five youth associations, around 30-strong, will be formed each year.

Pete Kent, East Africa Country Director at Railway Children, said: “This grant will allow us to work more intensively to rebuild relationships between family members and ensure that children who have runaway due to poverty, neglect or violence, are able to return to education and integrate properly into their families and communities.
 
“Amos ran away from home aged nine when his parents died in a car accident. After spending time on the streets he was supported through counselling to return home to his older brother, who is bringing up all of his five siblings, ensuring they go to school and continue their education. This was only possible through the bio-intensive farming which allowed Amos’ brother to grow vegetables to feed his family. With enough food spare to sell and buy chickens and a cow, he expanded his business and bought school uniforms and equipment for the children to go to school.   

“This grant will ensure we are able to support more families like Amos’ but also help youth who have been on the streets for much longer to acquire skills to get a job and move away from the streets, some of whom are supporting young children of their own.”

Disabled children in Kyrgyzstan will benefit from a £504,870 grant to prevent the institutionalisation of children. The grant will help create conditions where parents are better supported and community-based rehabilitation is considered and practised as the main alternative to institutional care. Day centres will provide pre-school education and will teach basic numeracy, literacy and life skills. The centre will establish links with local schools and will organise consultations for parents on legal issues and child rights. 

A project in Guatemala will improve the engagement between poor rural small-scale farmers and city markets in order to increase farmers’ income and improve the supply of affordable fresh food for poor city dwellers. The Oxfam project will use its £501,452 grant to develop dynamic local markets to distribute more equitably the economic benefits across both sides of the supply chain in the Solola and Totonicapan areas of the country. The project aims to demonstrate that appropriate agricultural methods, together with public investment, will increase revenues of small scale producers and provide high quality food at affordable prices to urban consumers. Farmers markets will be organised to bring producers and consumers together.

The livelihoods of 5,000 impoverished farmers and their families in the western province of Kenya will be improved thanks to a £496,096 grant to Send a Cow. Poor soil, low farm yields and a lack of training leaves families in the area with insufficient food and income. Farmers often have to sell crops to dealers at the farm gate at low rates due to a lack of direct access to profitable markets. This project will provide training in marketing, record keeping and small business management to enable the farmers to move from basic food security to profitability by marketing their produce through membership cooperatives. Farmers will also be trained in sustainable agriculture and improved animal management and be provided with skills, livestock to increase production.

People with HIV are being supported with two grants in this latest round of awards. A project in Zimbabwe receives £504,984 to provide palliative care to people with HIV and break the cycle of poverty by enhancing their prospects. Help the Hospices will train and mentor 30 healthcare workers and 200 community volunteers who will make home visits and provide support including counselling and basic wound care. Bereaved orphan and vulnerable children will receive psychological support through workshops.
 
Meanwhile a project in Haiti will reduce the stigma and discrimination of people with HIV and AIDS in Cap Haitien and help them to secure livelihoods. The £480,812 project by
International HIV/AIDS Alliance will improve their self confidence, leading to a greater participation in community life. The beneficiaries will receive training in producing crafts and household items for tourist and local markets with the aim of forming new social enterprises.

Health Poverty Action receives £285,556 to improve maternal and newborn health for indigenous people in the Totonicapan and Quetzaltenango areas of Guatemala. The project will work with people from the Mam and K’iche’ Maya linguistic groups to increase community access to health services through the training of traditional birth attendants linked to government health services. By the end of the project 3,180 women and new mothers will have had domestic screening and safe motherhood education and 41,450 women of child-bearing age and their newborns will be reached by a range of activities.

Finally, WaterAid receives £499,972 to promote sustainable access to safe water and better sanitation facilities in rural communities in southern Zambia. The project will enable 17,700 people have access to safe water and 22,800 to adequate sanitation in the Kanzunguila, Gwembe and Monze districts.

Peter Ainsworth, Big Lottery Fund Chair, said: “It’s hard to think of a more poignant image that than a child living on the streets in Kenya. It is good to be able to let people know that their lottery good cause funding is going towards changing the desperate existence of these children.

“The Fund is supporting grass roots work tackling the causes of poverty and deprivation, to help improve the lives of some of the poorest people in the world. By investing in education, we can give young people different choices and chances in life.”

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Notes to Editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in June 2004, the Fund has made awards close to £6bn in total.
  • The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £30 billion has now been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.

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