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Thanks to you

Thanks to you...

As 2020 comes to an end, we look back at the ways you’ve supported children and young people through an unimaginable year.

2020 has changed all our lives. Looking back, it’s hard to reconcile the world we were living in before March to the one we find ourselves in now. The challenges have been immense – but throughout it all, our amazing supporters have been behind us every step of the way.

Whether you’ve made a donation, supported a campaign, joined our (virtual) events team, been part of our sponsor community or worked with us as a partner: thank you.

Over the last 12 months, you’ve shown your unwavering commitment to children and young people and continued to stand with girls globally as they fight for equal rights, despite even greater obstacles caused by the pandemic.

To say thank you, I have this video message to share with you:

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Photo of a family washing their hands
In Indonesia, we distributed hygiene kits to families like Mada’s. “There is a lot of information about hygiene for the community. This will help me and my friends in protecting ourselves and our children,” she says.

An unfolding global crisis

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolded, your support for our work was overwhelming. Many of you gave to our Coronavirus: Children’s Emergency Appeal as well as the response led by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), who we work with alongside 13 other charities. You also showed your support for our Beirut Emergency Appeal in response to the devastating explosion that took place in August. 

We’ve also seen amazing individuals find new and creative ways to fundraise for us from home, while our network of sponsors have continued to support their sponsored children, investing in their futures at a time when that support is needed more than ever. And while letter writing has been on pause during the current crisis, we’re looking forward to creating connections in the new year, as more countries slowly start delivering post again.

Photo of two children with a radio
Our delivery of solar powered radios means Jeneba, 15, pictured here with her little brother, will be able to take part in Sierra Leone’s remote learning programme. “My radio is now my best friend,” she says. “I will not miss out again.”

New threats to girls’ equality

As with other health crises, we’ve seen coronavirus put girls’ lives – and their futures – in even greater jeopardy, placing them at heightened risk of sexual violence and child marriage, of missing out on their education and not going back to school. 

You’ve already helped us respond to these challenges, from delivering essential education supplies so girls can keep learning at home to emailing your MP, asking them to make sure the newly created Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) puts equality for girls at the heart of its vision.

Photo of a girl standing in front of a brick wall
This summer alone, 51% of girls and young women in the UK experienced public sexual harassment. “You'll face street harassment, you know it happens to everyone and nobody has really done anything to combat that,” says Eliza, 17, from Liverpool.

A spotlight on girls' rights in the UK

We began the year talking about the state of girls’ rights in the UK and the lack of progress on gender equality. We had no idea that, in April, we’d also be publishing research on the impact of a global pandemic on their lives and asking why girls’ experiences weren’t being listened to. 

Fast forward to November and our #CrimeNotCompliment campaign with Our Streets Now was being talked about across the media and social media, prompting thousands of you to join our call to make public sexual harassment a crime.

Photo of a girl wearing a white face mask
The longer schools stay closed the more girls will drop out, as they become responsible for more household chores or find work to help their families. “Girls do most of the chores because they say ‘that is woman's work’", says Yenifer, 13, in Paraguay.

Not going back to normal

As we look ahead to 2021, we know there are more challenges ahead. Children and their families will still need support as the pandemic continues – especially those living in crowded refugee camps, facing food shortages and in countries with fragile health systems. Meanwhile, the proposed cut to the UK’s overseas aid commitment could put the education of over 900,000 children at risk and undermine efforts to safeguard girls’ futures around the world.

We also know that going ‘back to normal’ after the pandemic isn’t an option: it didn’t work for girls before the crisis and it won’t work afterwards. But if this year has shown us anything it’s that, with your incredible support, we can take these challenges on together – and make 2021 the year we do even more to give every child, every chance and stand with girls to secure a better future.

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