You are shielding children from danger
I wanted to start my update expressing my sincere gratitude for all your continuing support. Your commitment to ensuring that all children feel safe and secure shines brightly today.
This Easter, you demonstrated unbelievable kindness for the children living at La Terminal market in Guatemala City. With your help, children like Leo (pictured above) have been enjoying a safe space to escape from the intensity of a hostile and threatening environment. A place where they can relax and experience some of the joys of childhood. You see, life is hard for children growing up in such a dangerous place. As 13-year-old Leo explains:
“In my community, there are lots of thieves around and they get angry and hurt you when you don’t have anything of value to give them. The market also has lots of hitmen. Sometimes if someone steals something and gets shot at, you can get hit in the crossfire. Before coming to the project, I had learned how to mistreat people - I was disrespectful even though I was only small. My little brother was also rude, even though he too was only young. I didn’t value the time and work of teachers and didn’t appreciate all the hard work they used to put in. Now, I feel better. The project has given me the freedom to be free to play with anyone and they have taught me values. I recognise now that I didn’t have good friends before. I feel safe at the project.”
Thank you so much for being a strong and protective shield for the children of La Terminal.
You are bringing hope and opportunity to the streets of Kathmandu
As I write to you today, many parents here in the UK are waiting for news on their child’s admission to primary school. It can be a tense time for families as they find out whether they will get their first-choice school. I was again struck by how wildly different the picture is for a young child living on the streets. As you know, most street children don’t have a chance to attend formal school, or if they do, they are often forced to drop out long before completing their education. Without access to this basic human right, many are unable to escape the poverty of their lives or create a better and safer future for themselves. But through your continuing support and determination, our teams at the education projects are tackling these challenges head-on. We are thrilled to be working in conjunction with a Belgian organisation to start trialling a new mobile school in Nepal which has the potential to help us reach even more children on the streets. Thanks to your ongoing generosity, we have recently introduced a new set of interactive blackboards on wheels to our education project in Kathmandu. This is an exciting development as it means we can deliver lessons directly on the city streets. Not only are the resources completely street and weatherproof, now our project workers can reach and engage even more street children in Kathmandu, making sure they get the start in life they deserve. I look forward to sharing more with you on this initiative in the coming months.
You see, you listen and you act.
Finally, I wanted to introduce you to an innovative project we ran in Nairobi, Kenya, which gave young people on the streets an opportunity to tell their own stories through the medium of photography. As we developed this update and online gallery to share with you, both the photographers and their subjects were consulted on the design and content, to make sure we accurately reflect the realities of their lives. I’m sure you’ll agree when you see for yourself, their photos and words are truly thought-provoking.
I feel honoured that these wonderful young people have shared such a raw and intimate look into their everyday lives. I’m also so thankful that incredible supporters like you, continue to speak out and act on the injustices of the world.
But, at the same time, I’m also left feeling incredibly angry.
Angry and appalled that this is the daily reality for the children we work with in Nairobi. No child should be forced to look for food in a rubbish truck or sleep on the streets on a filthy old mattress.
So, I am resolute that on days when things feel tough or challenging at Toybox, these images and captions act as a stark reminder of the reasons why we do what we do. Thank you so much for making this work possible and for your ongoing compassion for children living on the margins of society. Together we are changing the world for street children and I am so grateful for your support at this time.
Lynne Morris OBE, Chief Executive