KidsCan hopes New Zealanders will use Universal Children’s Day to pause and put themselves in the small shoes of Kiwi kids living in hardship.
It is crucial we do, because the children of today will determine the future of this country and we will be dependent on them for the shape of what our future looks like. Failing to help them create better lives, and failing to fight for their dignity will wind up hurting all of us.
Since 1954, Universal Children’s Day has been celebrated on November 20 each year. The day is dedicated worldwide to promoting the welfare of children and I am encouraged by the number of caring Kiwis, and businesses like principal partner Meridian Energy, joining the charity in its mission to give children living in hardship access to food at school, raincoats, socks and shoes, and basic health and hygiene items.
A record number of 168,000 students in 700 low-decile schools across New Zealand now have access to KidsCan support, and the charity is feeding more than 30,000 children a week.
However, there are still 16 schools on our waiting list, those schools are full of young New Zealanders waiting for help that will make a positive difference in their lives. Helping them focus in class and make the most of their education so they can reach their full potential.
Imagine you’re a child again, now picture your childhood-self not having any shoes, no raincoat and every day going to school with an empty tummy. Now imagine having no hope that your life will ever change for the better.
Change from within
Change starts with one. That one can be you. $15 a month, that is just 50 cents a day, that is all it takes to become a monthly supporter and truly put children at the centre of Universal Children’s Day.
Julie Chapman is Founder and Chief Executive of KidsCan
The KidsCan Charitable Trust was founded in 2005 in a garage in Greenhithe, Auckland by Julie Chapman.
It came about after hearing continuous media reports of New Zealand children going without the basics. We wanted to find out just how widespread the problem was and how it was affecting children’s ability to participate in class.
An evaluation of 80 low decile schools was conducted and it revealed that thousands of children were turning up to school cold, wet and hungry because their parents were struggling to make ends meet.
Major impact on children
Schools reported that this was having a major impact on children’s learning ability, self-esteem and health. Children who miss out on the basics get sick more often, do worse at school and when they become adults they are more likely to be unemployed and have children who will also grow up in hardship.
With all of this in mind we decided to do something about it and KidsCan was started with a generous $40,000 grant from Guardian Trust, now trading as Perpetual Guardian. Today KidsCan supports the education of thousands of children in low decile schools throughout New Zealand, providing food, shoes, socks, fleece lined Vodafone Warriors branded raincoats and basic hygiene products. Our tangible programmes ensure disadvantaged children can get to and through the school gates in a better position to learn.
As a reputable New Zealand charity KidsCan strives to be the conduit for individuals, community, business and Government to co-operate in providing food, clothing and basic health care in schools, to enable all disadvantaged New Zealand children to reach their potential.
For more information please visit www.kidscan.org.nz