#WorldMoms were thrilled to be invited by Save The Children to the preview screening and discussion of the new Documentary A Path Appears, Executive Produced and Directed by Maro Chermayeff, this past Thursday in New York City. The film is based on the book by the same title by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalists Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof. World Moms Founder Jennifer Burden, Senior Editors Kyla P’an and Elizabeth Atalay, and special contributors Maria Mostajo and Polly Palumbo attended the event held at the New York Historical Society. A Path Appears will air in the USA on PBS three Mondays in a row, starting tonight.
The first segment that airs tonight focuses on sex trafficking in the United States and uncovers the raw truth of its prevalence and pervasiveness in American society today. An estimated 300,000 children are at risk of being trafficked into sexual slavery, and according to Nicholas Kristof a startling 10% of men in the USA buy sex online. The film points out the sad fact that most of the victims of sex trafficking are runaways, and the reality that often when a low income kid goes missing the first ones looking for them are the pimps. This powerful film gives a truly eye opening, and heart sinking look into the reality of the varied demographics involved in the human trafficking industry in this country, and highlights the need to prosecute the pimps and Johns perpetuating the industry, instead of the prostitutes who are actually the victims in it all.
As part of the Women and Girls Lead initiative, through heartrending, inspiring storytelling A Path Appears will take viewers on a journey across the globe, to drive home the universality of gender inequality and the roots of vulnerability. The series will lead viewers to a deeper understanding of these critical issues and the proven methods of bringing about change.-PBS Independent Lens
Save The Children, our hosts of last Thursday’s event, and one of the sponsors of the program, kicks off the film’s 2nd episode, “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty,” which will air next Monday, Feb. 2 at 10 pm on PBS. That episode will feature Save The Children’s early education program that we covered on World Moms Blog in an interview with Save The Children Artist Ambassador, Jennifer Garner in 2014. In the film Nicholas Kristof travels to West Virginia with Jennifer Garner to report first hand on the home visits that are so effective in literacy early intervention.
Early education is the best investment to break the cycle of poverty in America. All children deserve the chance to succeed in school and life. — Save The Children
Save The Children’s call to action is to sponsor a U.S. child which helps to provide home visits to pregnant moms, infants and toddlers, and elementary school literacy programs in some of the poorest, most isolated communities the nation. The earlier we reach children the better, and in fact, research shows that reaching babies under the age of 2 has the greatest affect on high school graduation rates and crime according to the book, “A Path Appears” by Kristof and WuDunn. The types of visitation programs that Save the Children provides for mothers of babies under 2 years old are underfunded, yet breaking the cycle and teaching mothers how to read to their children, and interact with their babies emotionally, is proven to be effective.
The third episode will take viewers into the largest urban slum on the continent of Africa, Kibera in Kenya. There viewers see the amazing story of transformation inspired by a man who grew up in Kibera, and founded Shining Hope community programs and a school for girls with his wife. The positive impact of which is rippling through the community.
We hope you will join us in watching this important documentary series, and that the world is inspired to action by the powerful stories told within.
World Moms founder Jennifer Burden at the event with Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Senior Editor, Elizabeth Atalay of Documama.
Photo credits to World Moms Blog and A Path Appears.
Actor Jennifer Garner visits with school children who are participants of a Save the Children reading program at LBJ Elementary School in, Ky. Photo by David Stephenson
“OPTIMISM”, Jennifer Garner chose the word optimism when we interviewed her about her work with Save The Children and the #FindTheWords campaign. My word had been “LEAD”, Jen Burden’s was “CREATE”, and Stacey Hoffer Weckstein of Evolving Stacey, who did the interview with me, had “COURAGE”. These were our words in the 30 words, 30 days blogger challenge for #FindTheWords to represent the 30 million fewer words kids would learn in homes without early education. In turn, when we had the exciting opportunity to interview her, we asked Jennifer Garner what her word would be.
“If you are working with a baby, with a mom, with a toddler, there is just so much optimism, she explained. I just feel like it’s just the most optimistic thing in the world to work on early childhood stuff”.
The investment in early education is optimism at it’s best. Studies have shown that the impact of early education can have long reaching effects as a child grows up. Kids are better academically prepared, socially adjusted, and tend to stay in school longer when they receive early education. In our conversation Jennifer Garner pointed out that some states have figured out that the money they spend from birth to five years old goes so much further than the recidivism that they would otherwise spend when a child is older and having trouble.
The hard facts cited by Save The Children are that in the United States 1 in 4 children lives in poverty and many do not have a single book in their home. These kids are not read to, and will not have access to a pre-school education. By age three they will have heard an average of 30 million less words than their peers which puts them at a great disadvantage before they even reach school. Ultimately these kids are 70% more likely to be arrested for violent crimes, 40% more likely to become a teen parent and 25% more likely to drop out of school.
“The injustice of it hits me at my very core.” said the mother of three.”So I just feel this drive to help be a part of making it be better.”
Jennifer Garner feels lucky to have come from a home with educated parents, but growing up in rural America, in West Virginia, she was aware that it was education that had made an enormous difference in both of her parents’ lives. In each case they were the first in their families to go to college, and it made her wonder who was around to help other kids like them to succeed without role models? Once she knew that this was the area in which she wanted to use her voice to make a difference, it was Mark Shriver, and Save The Children that she found was making the type of impact she was looking for in rural America.
Taking time out of her busy day with one of her little ones not feeling well, less than two weeks before her latest film, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day hits theaters, to tell us why the issue of early education resonates with her was gracious beyond belief. She explained that her experience in the field with Save The Children, visiting mothers and children, had only made her want to do more. “The more you are let into people’s homes, and into people’s lives, and into people’s struggles, the more driven you become to do what you can to help them.”
Of the mothers she has had the chance to visit Jennifer says often “These moms are isolated, they’re tired, they don’t have mom friends or computers to read what you guys are writing about or to be encouraged.” ….” so when Save The Children rolls up and goes once a week to see them, they bring them books , they bring light, they bring life. And the main thing that I love to see is they bring encouragement for these moms.”
I asked Jennifer Garner her wish for all moms, to which she replied….
“Motherhood is the great equalizer, right? We’re all, as soon as you have a baby, we all have the same love and hopes, and dreams, and fears, and vulnerabilities, and I would just hope that nobody feels like they are going through it alone……it’s really hard to do on your own”
That’s exactly how we feel in our global community of World Moms, we are here to remind each other that we are not alone, in this crazy adventure of motherhood.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Elizabeth Atalay. Elizabeth had the opportunity to interview Jennifer Garner as part of the #FindTheWords campaign with Save The Children. She also writes at documama.org.
World Moms Blog is thrilled to be taking part in Save the Children‘s #FindTheWords campaign. The campaign raises awareness over 30 days with 30 words to emphasize that every child needs early education to thrive. The community of mothers that form World Moms Blog are committed to improving not just the lives of our own children, but of all children around the world.
Just by helping us spread the word by sharing on social media you will be entered to win a $100.00 gift card!
The inspiration word we were given by Save the Children for this post was “create.”
We believe in creating the world we want to live in, here, at World Moms Blog. When I was looking to find a one-stop-place to read about mothers in different cultures and countries back in 2010, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. So on a whim, I decided to create the site I wanted to follow, just for fun.
In turn, the web site led me to new corners of the globe for social good and to meet my fellow World Moms, raised awareness for global health programs for women and children, created various international journalistic opportunities and fellowships for our contributors, and connected many very different women whom, otherwise, may have never connected, but are so glad they did!
Today, World Moms Blog writes from over twenty different countries spanning the globe, yet, we’ve found that mothers from such diverse places all want the same things for their children: health, peace, education, and security. We all want to see our children thrive and grow to their full potential.
There is an incredible sense of pride in creating something, whether you are a child creating a “masterpiece” or a mom creating the family financial plan. In creating World Moms Blog, I have had the opportunity to see many of our contributors run wild with their passions across our pages and witness our editors build our behind-the-scenes in managing over 60 volunteer contributors. That’s creation gone wild, and I love it!
With the help of the women who were part of writing and/or later embraced our mission statement, our site has blossommed into a tight-knit, albeit, world-wide community where the contributors and readers alike are able to broaden their worlds and connect over continents…all through the conduit of motherhood.
The word create inspires all we stand for at World Moms Blog. Whether it is to create an opportunity for yourself or for others to thrive globally, to create the life you want to lead, or the world you want to live in.
And we admire the work of Save The Children in creating a safe, healthy space for the children who need it most. Kids are at our heartstrings! Here are some amazing facts about the challenges children face around the globe:
- The first years of life are critical in children’s development, shaping cognitive, social and language skills, as well as lifelong approaches to learning. Evidence shows that 85 percent of brain growth occurs in the first five years of life.
- By age three, children from low-income homes hear on average 30 million fewer words than their peers, putting them 18 months cognitively behind his or her peers when they start school.
- 65% of young kids in need have little or no access to books. More than two-thirds of poverty-stricken households do not possess a single book developmentally appropriate for a child under five.
- Parents who talk less with their children in an engaging and supportive way have kids who are less likely to develop their full intellectual potential than kids who hear a significant amount of child-directed speech.
- Around the world, if all students in low-income countries acquire basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty.
Help create the future we want for children with Save the Children’s #FindTheWords. Early education creates an environment for young minds to flourish all over the world.
Just by helping us spread the word by sharing on social media you will be entered to win a $100.00 gift card, here are the rules:
To enter share our post via twitter or Facebook or Snap a picture anywhere you see the word “Create” out in the world (or what it means to you) then post it to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
To officially participate, your contributions must be tagged with the proper hashtags
and don’t forget to tag @WorldMomsBlog so we know you are in the running to win!
(The more people who share our posts the better chance we have of winning an interview with actress Jennifer Garner! So what are you waiting for!?)
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This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden.
Singing and dancing is the order of the day as this procession of Save the Children preschool graduates, teachers and community members in Mozambique’s Gaza Province makes its way across the school ground to the nearby primary school, where the little graduates will be studying next year. Photo credit: Pei Ketron for Save the Children. October 2013.
In a newly published World Bank Study preschool programs are described as a promising policy option for improving the school readiness and later success of poor and disadvantaged children in rural Africa.
Tonight at 9pm EST World Moms Blog will join Save The Children and Multicultural Kid Blogs at #Moms4MDGs to discuss the importance of early education, and as a specific example, the success of the Save The Children preschool program in Mozambique. Ajla Grozdanic of Save The Children recently returned from a site visit to Mozambique and the early education programs there. She shared her insight in an interview with World Moms Blog as a lead up to tonights Twitter party:
World Moms Blog: In a Chicken & Egg sense, are early education programs only able to be initiated in areas where some basic infrastructure is already in place, i.e. access to clean water, healthcare & nutrition, or are they catalysts for communities to begin to pull out of extreme poverty?
AG: We are able to initiate education programs in communities at any level. In other words, having a basic infrastructure in place is not a pre-requisite for education programs, which can range from in-home daycare to in-school programs.
In fact, early childhood education can bring catalytic change for communities. Early childhood development centers and programs provide an opportunity to reach young children with basic services like healthcare and nutrition, which can be more difficult to deliver if we depended on parents to seek out these services on their own. Early childhood development centers also facilitate community mobilization, bringing parents and other community members together for projects, such as digging wells or cleaning stagnant water that hosts malaria.
Young children naturally learn from and imitate what’s in their environment–good or bad. For this reason, educating young children is key and it fosters the kinds of attitudes and behavior that can improve community well-being over the long term, such as developing good hygiene and healthy eating habits and sharing this knowledge with siblings and neighborhood children.
WMB: Could you explain a bit why Mozambique was a good fit for this program? What is the success rate for other similar early education programs Save the Children runs in other countries?
AG: Mozambique had very low coverage for preschool or early childhood development programs, so the need and demand was high. It’s also important to note that the local communities demonstrated an openness and eagerness to engage in these issues. Communities saw the potential and agreed to invest in their young children. Once they saw the results, which were very good, the word spread and the demand grew.
The World Bank Study, which is the first such evaluation of early childhood development programs in Africa, showed that children in rural Mozambique, who attended Save the Children’s preschool programs, were 24 percent more likely to enroll in primary school and were significantly better equipped to learn than children not covered by the program. While we haven’t had the funding to conduct similar studies in other countries where we offer such programs, our own results monitoring shows a similar success rate across the board.
Save the Children preschool graduate, Vania, 5, from the Gaza Province in Mozambique, joined by a future classmate, gets a taste of what it will be like to sit at a real desk when she enters primary school next year. Preschoolers in her village are used to sitting on mats on the floor and were excited to sit in ‘big-kid’ chairs and desks at the nearby primary school. Photo credit: Pei Ketron for Save the Children. October 2013.
WMB: Do you see the benefits in terms of kids who have had these early intervention programs staying in school longer, and particularly for girls, marrying later or are these programs too new to tell yet?
AG: Children enrolled in preschool have a greater chance of going to school, going to school at the right age, and staying in school longer. They have higher graduation rates and are less likely to drop out of school or end up imprisoned. What’s more, staying in school is a mechanism to protect girls from early marriage. While it’s still too early to prove long-term benefits of preschool, such as that it results in girls marrying later in life, we hope to conduct such longitudinal studies in the future.
WMB: Are the children given meals through the program as an incentive for parents to send them or are the community members generally open and willing participants?
AG: It is usually not sustainable to provide meals to all children who are enrolled in preschool. Taking this into account, in most communities preschool lasts for half the school day so children can come home for meals. In some communities, parents might pool their resources in order to provide meals at preschools. In addition, preschools provide an opportunity to educate parents on how to improve nutrition for their child.
The willingness of parents to enroll their children in preschool varies from parent to parent and from community to community. Oftentimes, we’ll have a group of early adopters who are eager to enroll their children and whose success, in turn, inspires a wave of other parents–who prefer a stand-back, wait-and-see approach–to sign up their little ones.
WMB: Had you been to Mozambique before?
AG: No, this was my first time.
WMB: What is the best way people reading could support the Save the Children preschool programs in the developing world?
AG: Your readers could become a sponsor to support early childhood programs in developing countries. They could also advocate to the U.S. government to include preschool and early childhood development in its international aid programs. To learn more, visit www.savethechildren.org.
WMB: How have the mothers responded to these programs? (ie. gives them the opportunity to go to work or tend to smaller children)
AG: We encourage the participation of both mothers and fathers in their children’s education. Sending their children to preschool allows parents to tend to their daily chores, work in the field or otherwise provide for their family while knowing that their children are in good hands and are learning, to boot. In traditional societies, where childcare falls on women, preschools certainly offer an opportunity for women to engage in more productive labor and earn an additional income for their family. And we know from experience that when women earn more income for their families, they tend to invested in their children.
Vania, 5, practices the alphabet and counting every day with her father, Armando, who is a teacher at his daughter’s preschool, which is supported by Save the Children. Photo credit: Pei Ketron for Save the Children. October 2013.
This is an original interview and post for World Moms Blog.
Photo Credit Save The Children
Where I live it is a given that most parents will send their kids to pre-school, some as young as two years old. It is common belief that early education builds a strong foundation for future learning, and we take for granted that our kids will go on to higher education. In other areas of the world where food security, clean water, sanitation and extreme poverty are primary concerns, education can be a luxury. In some cases in these areas it is not uncommon for an older child to begin formal primary education for the first time creating classrooms of mixed ages.
Back in 2008, a $1 million donation from the 2007 Idol Gives Back television special, helped to build escolinhas or preschool centers targeting orphans and vulnerable children for Save the Children‘s program in Mozambique. Since then the program has reached about 5,000 three to six year olds and their families, and it continues to run with the help of trained volunteers from rural communities.
Children in developing countries, like Mozambique, who attend early childhood development programs are more likely to enroll in school and enter school at the right age. This is important because children who are over-age for their grade level are more likely to drop out, so early childhood development programs actually increase the chances that children will stay in school longer.
Due to the success of the preschool centers Save The Children was able to continue to find funding, and recently the progress seen in the area caught the eye of the Government of Mozambique, resulting in the implementation of similar early childhood education programs throughout the country.
A new World Bank evaluation shows early childhood programs help children thrive and learn more in rural Africa. The recently released World Bank Report, The Promise of Preschool in Africa: A Randomized Impact Evaluation of Early Childhood Development in Rural Mozambique, is good news for children and families in Africa.-Save The Children
In a country where most inhabitants live in rural interior areas that are prone to “hungry seasons” of flooding or drought, kids enrolled in early childhood development centers benefit from access to health care and interventional care such as deworming, malaria prevention, nutritional support or social welfare.
Investment in early childhood development can provide the greatest return, and the results from these Early Learning Centers are proof. It is important to reach kids before it is too late, before they have dropped out of school, or grown up without reaching their full potential. Development aid and countries have the opportunity to make a lasting difference in health outcomes, economic productivity, and educational opportunities by investing more human and financial resources into early childhood development programs.
To find out more about early education and Save The Children’s program in Mozambique join us tomorrow night, Wednesday November 6th from 9-10pm EST for a #Moms4MDGs twitter party with Save the Children, Multicultural Kids Blogs and World Moms Blog! Hope you can make it!
This is an original post written by Elizabeth Atalay of Documama for World Moms Blog.