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GBP1 million target hit for Hope and Homes for Children

Discover how the money we’ve raised for our Global Charity Partner is being used to end institutionalisation and how we’re extending our partnership to provide extra support during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis.

This year's First Hour, First Day campaign – where we ask partners and staff to donate the equivalent of their first hour or day's salary to our Global Charity Partner - has raised over GBP418,000, taking the running total for fundraising to GBP1.148 million, well over our target of GBP1 million. Nearly 900 people from 39 different A&O offices took part.

Approximately GBP500,000 of the target is being spent in India and Nepal, where Hope and Homes for Children and its partners are tackling the root causes of orphanage confinement and family separation. The rest of the money is funding the charity's work across the world to ensure every child has the opportunity to grow up with the love and support of a family.

Extending our partnership

Like so many other organisations, Hope and Homes for Children's work has been affected by Covid-19. For children in vulnerable families, Covid-19 is not just a health crisis as it places them at urgent risk of losing their homes and childhoods to the neglect of an orphanage. Children already confined to orphanages are facing increased levels of abuse, harm and infection due to staff shortages. Children with disabilities who are living with serious health conditions, whether at home or in institutions, are particularly susceptible to infection.

Hope and Homes for Children's teams are focusing on providing immediate relief to children and their families through new ways of working, by ensuring food and healthcare supplies are provided and livelihoods are protected. They are also developing new ways to provide counselling and they're making sure children still confined to orphanages are getting the care and attention they need.

To support the charity through the crisis, we are extending our partnership by 10 months so that it will end in July 2021 instead of at the end of September this year. The children and families Hope and Homes for Children supports are even more vulnerable as a result of the virus. The extension will give us the opportunity to see through a number of fundraising initiatives that have been postponed or cancelled as a result of Covid-19 at a time when the funding environment for charities is increasingly uncertain. We'll also be able to continue work on key pro bono projects – some of which are linked to international events that have been postponed - that are already underway. We will continue to fundraise for the charity's global work and we will provide more information soon.

An update from India

Subhadeep Adhikary is a programme lead for Hope and Homes for Children's partner Child in Need Institute in Jharkhand, India. "The reality is that there are many children at risk of separation from their families as a result of a myriad of factors including abuse, neglect, child labour, poverty and trafficking," explains Subhadeep.

"Many of these children end up in Charitable Children's Institutions (CCIs) where their right to a family is denied. Vulnerable families sometimes see placing their child in a CCI as a way of obtaining services, such as education and housing, without understanding their damaging effects," continues Subhadeep. "Our collaboration with Hope and Homes for Children and A&O is giving us the opportunity to work for the children in CCIs and reunite them with their biological or extended families or look for alternative care settings. We have also been able to strengthen services in the community, for example child protection committees, adolescent and women's groups, to prevent separation in the first place.

Global progress

The impact of A&O's funding has also been felt across Hope and Homes for Children's global programmes and advocacy work. By supporting families to stay together, reuniting families torn apart by orphanages and building new families through fostering and adoption, Hope and Homes for Children has closed orphanages in Romania, Bulgaria and Rwanda. The charity has made good progress in Moldova and Transnistria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Sudan, Uganda and South Africa by working with local authorities, national governments and partner NGOs.

A&O's unrestricted funding has helped Hope and Homes for Children to provide training for over 6,900 child protection professionals, support more than 750 children to leave orphanages to start a new life in a family or community-based care, and work with thousands of families to prevent over 95,000 children from ever having to suffer the trauma of being confined to an institution.

Joseph's story

Hope and Homes for Children is helping children like Joseph. Until he was eight, Joseph spent most of his life lying on his back, unable to move, staring at an orphanage ceiling. No one cuddled him, talked to him or played with him because no one believed he had a future.

Joseph was born with Cerebral Palsy and abandoned as a baby. A kind woman who found him on the street took him to the orphanage because she hoped he would be cared for there. But orphanages do not protect children, they harm them, subjecting them to high levels of abuse and neglect and denying them the love that is vital to every child's development and life chances.

Working with the Rwandan Government, Hope and Homes for Children helped close the institution where Joseph lived and found a new family to care for him. Today, with the love and encouragement of his family, Joseph has learned to sit by himself, stand with support and turn the pages of a picture book with his feet. He has a cheeky sense of humour and he makes his family laugh. Their nickname for him is "Blessing".

Mark Waddington says, "we are facing a humanitarian crisis like no other that is playing out within the homes of the most vulnerable children, whose families are the first responders. And these are families that are unable to earn because of the lockdown in their countries – prevented from travelling, working and with little to no cash to buy food and medicine, pay for rent or gain access to online learning for their children. By extending the Global Charity Partnership you are enabling us to make a huge difference by providing food, help with rent, and by ensuring children receive the medicine they need".

"Make no mistake, children are dying and will continue to die without support," continues Mark. "There are too many cases of orphanage doors being locked and the children incarcerated with no carers leading to wholly unavoidable deaths. Many more will live with the lifelong secondary impact of Covid-19 – more acute poverty, health consequences and educational limitations.

"HHC is uniquely placed because of our connections to families," explains Mark, "and we are uniquely placed because we are already adapting our practice to support humanitarian efforts that would otherwise fail to reach these families. Again, by extending our partnership you are enabling us to build real momentum across the wider response and so maximise our efforts.

"On behalf of all the children we are working with, thank you so very much."

If you'd like to find out more about Hope and Homes for Children's response to Covid-19 or donate to its emergency appeal, please visit its website.