Saving lives in the Mediterranean
The number of refugees and migrants prepared to make the perilous journeys through the Mediterranean water to flee conflict and poverty is at an all-time high. The Central Mediterranean Sea (the route from North Africa to Italy) has become the primary entry point to Europe in the wake of the closure of the so-called Western Balkan route. The journey to Italy is particularly dangerous, with many refugees and migrants having lost their lives.
Against this backdrop, our humanitarian partner, Save the Children, launched a search-and-rescue mission in September 2016, expanding their operations to save lives at sea. Money raised through the partnership between Save the Children, C&A and C&A Foundation* contributes to the funding of the ‘Vos Hestia’, Save the Children’s search-and-rescue ship operating out of the port of Sicily, Italy. This year alone, the work aboard the vessel has helped more than 1,500 people, including many mothers and their children.
The human side of the refugee crisis: the story of Amena and her family
“I had to flee because of the war, the suffering in Libya and the war in Syria. I didn’t flee to save myself or my wife. [It was] for the sake of [my] two children. […] What future will these children have? It is a future of blood. […] Not a future where the children have an education and learn. A future of blood.” –Fadi**, Amena’s father.
5-year old Amena and her family were among those rescued by the ‘Vos Hestia’ last year. Having fled war-ridden Syria, the family fell in sheer desperation for the false promises of human smugglers in Libya. They were forced to squeeze onto a tiny boat with 300 other people, possessing nothing but the clothes on their backs and an oxygen tank for asthmatic Amena. With stormy waves hitting the boat, sinking was a real risk on their 10-hour odyssey.
After Save the Children brought the family to Italy to tend to Amena’s needs, they have found asylum in the Netherlands.
Watch the touching video in which Mutasem, a cultural mediator from Save the Children, revisits Amena and her family.
How you can help
We are proud to be able to support Save the Children’s important work on the front lines, providing humanitarian assistance along the entire route refugees take in Europe. With your support, Save the Children can continue to help save lives and provide much-needed services to refugees and migrants. If you are interested in donating, please click here.
*Through our ‘Mothers make the difference’ campaign we raise funds for the European refugee crisis. Between October 2016 and May 2017, our customers alone have donated EUR 270,000 through collection boxes in stores.
**Names have been changed for privacy reasons.
C&A customers donate 500,000 EUR to ‘Save the Children’
C&A customers donated more than 500,000 euros over a one-and-a-half-year period to Save the Children to help refugees in Europe.
It began in May 2015, when the company put collection boxes in 1,150 C&A stores across Europe. They were part of an initiative, called Mothers make the difference, designed to help mothers and children in crises, like those arriving as refugees in Europe. Over the next 18 months C&A customers filled these boxes with more than 500,000 euros, – all of which went directly to support the refugees through the work of Save the Children, the internationally recognized charity.
“We have been overwhelmed by the commitment of our customers to support our partner, Save the Children in the refugee crisis,” said Jeffrey Hogue, C&A’s global Chief Sustainability Officer. “Their generosity has provided tangible impact in the lives of thousands of refugees across Europe.”
“Children and mothers are especially vulnerable in times of conflicts, crises and disasters. Since the beginning of our partnership in 2015 – C&A and C&A Foundation have been dedicated partners in our efforts to empower mothers and children in crisis around the world. We sincerely thank them and all of their staff and customers for their continuous support”, states Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International.
For more information, visit our newsroom
C&A customers raised 450,000 euros for mothers and children in need
Last holiday season, as part of C&A’s 2016 Christmas campaign, we sold wrapping paper and Christmas gift cards in stores across Europe to raise money for Save the Children. For every roll of wrapping paper or gift card sold, C&A Foundation pledged to donate one euro to the charity up to 450,000 euro. A whopping amount of around 800,000 rolls of wrapping paper and gift cards were sold, so thanks to all our customers the foundation donated the maximum amount of 450,000 euros to Save the Children.
The donation will go to programmes for mothers and children who have arrived as refugees in Europe – a cause that has been close to our hearts over the past year. With the funds, Save the Children will be able to assist thousands of families, who have been forced to leave their homes recently due to conflict and poverty. The children's right organisation is working with refugees in countries of origin including Syria and Afghanistan, as well as in refugee camps in host communities across the Middle East along the entire migration route as well as in destination countries across Europe. To learn more about projects supported by C&A Foundation, take a look at this website.
Interested in donating towards Save the Children online? Please click here
Video: Save the Children says "thank you" for the support of search and rescue ship
To say thank you, Save the Children has made a video on behalf of all children and families that were saved through the search and rescue ship Vos Hestia. This was made possible through the generosity of donations like the one from the C&A Foundation and C&A customers.
Cyclone Vardah: C&A Foundation supports Save the Children’s emergency response in India
India Cyclone Vardah made landfall in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on 12th December 2016 and moved progressively towards Tamil Nadu coast and Chennai. The cyclone has left a trail of destruction across 5 districts: Nellore and Chittor in Andhra Pradesh and Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu.
Ten people were killed and according to the National Disaster Management Authority many were injured as the cyclone swept across the region. As part of its global humanitarian partnership, C&A Foundation is supporting Save the Children’s initial emergency response with USD 102,000.
The cyclone hit 48 out of 100 villages and urban settlements in areas where Save the Children is operating. Around 6,000 households are impacted severely. The emergency response targets initially 3,000 households – approximately 13,500 people including 5,670 children. Save the Children is providing water and water purification tablets, hygiene kits, tarpaulins, floor mats and cotton blankets.
Video: Save the Children says "thank you" to C&A Foundation and C&A staff and customers
The partnership between C&A, C&A Foundation and Save the Children reaches many people: it enables fast and lifesaving aid and it empowers mothers and children around the globe. To say thank you, Save the Children has made a video on behalf of all children and families receiving help through the generosity of C&A Foundation and C&A staff and customers.
C&A Foundation is supporting Save the Children’s emergency response in Indonesia
A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the Aceh province in northern Sumatra, Indonesia on 6th December 2016 in the late evening. Over 100 people died and about 630 people got injured. 3,200 people are estimated to have lost their homes. Around 10’000 people including 5’000 children are affected by the earthquake.
C&A Foundation is supporting Save the Children’s emergency response in Indonesia with USD 40,000.
Over 100 double-storey commercial buildings and more than 160 houses are heavily damaged, 14 mosques and 1 school heavily damaged in both Pidie Jaya and Bireun district, near the epicentre of the earthquake. The affected area is still accessible by road and communication by telephone is good, but the electricity was cut in some places. Both Pidie Jaya and Bireun districts were previously affected by the tsunami in Aceh in December 2004.
Collapsed school buildings and severe cracking in classroom walls leave earthquake-hit Aceh with an education crisis on its hands. Save the Children’s earthquake response will therefore focus heavily on education, including supporting the Ministry of Education finding alternative classrooms for schools and setting up temporary classrooms. The aid agency will also establish what’s known as a “child friendly space”, a special playgroup designed to support children’s psychosocial wellbeing following disasters like this one. The importance of education and emotional support for children after such a distressing event, particularly in an area that was so badly affected by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, cannot be underestimated.
All Save the Children activities are closely aligned and coordinated with local authorities and other aid agencies.
Save the Children mounted one of the largest humanitarian recovery efforts in Aceh following the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and along with many others groups have spent a decade investing in the region to better prepare them for natural disasters. It was great to see one of the schools Save the Children built after 2004 still standing and undamaged following this earthquake.
Make the world better by supporting Save the Children in C&A stores
Christmas is the time to do good. Since 2015, C&A has been in partnership with C&A Foundation and the charity Save the Children to help mothers and their children in need. During this year's holiday season, C&A is selling wrapping paper and Christmas gift cards in stores across Europe.
For every wrapping paper or gift card sold, C&A Foundation will donate one Euro to Save the Children up to 450,000 Euro of total donations.
The in-store activities will be running in Italy, CEE, Spain, Portugal, France and Germany. The money raised will benefit programmes in aid of the European refugee crisis – a topic that has been close to our heart over the past year. These donations assist thousands of families, who have been forced to leave their homes due to conflict and poverty. Save the Children has been present in countries of origin including Syria, Nigeria, Afghanistan and in Syrian refugee camps and host communities across the Middle East, along the entire route migrants and refugees take, as well as in destination countries around Europe. To learn more about the by C&A Foundation supported projects have a look through this website.
Interested in donating to Save the Children online? Please click here
C&A Foundation supports Save the Children Earthquake response in Italy
On August 24th at 3:36 in the morning a strong earthquake hit central Italy. At least 293 people were reported dead, 387 were injured and more than 4,000 people had to sleep in temporary shelters set up in Lazio, Marche and Umbria.
The Save the Children emergency team, together with the Lazio Region Civil Protection Corps, immediately got to work to assess what children needed most urgently after this earthquake.
C&A Foundation is supporting Save the Children's response in Italy with EUR 100,000 for the continuing recovery after the earthquake.
Save the Children's support consists of three phases:
1) Aug.- Sept: Emergency aid
2) Sept. 2016-2017: Post emergency and reconstruction aid
3) Sept 2017 onwards: Reconstruction and further support
Only two days after the earthquake, on the 26th of August Save the Children opend up a child friendly space in the tent city in Amatrice. The tented space helped children affected by the earthquake to spend time with other children, express themselves through play and drawing and take part in activities - all in a safe and protected environment. Parents got time to grieve lost loved ones, deal with the immediate problems and start thinking of the future, while knowing that their children were safe and protected.
In the second phase after the earthquake (from September 2016), Save the Children started supporting children and teenagers to return to normal school life. A new Social Educational Centre, dedicated to music and art activities for children, is now being set up next to Amatrice’s new school. The centre will also host a reading area, a protected internet area and will provide help for studying. All activities are undertaken and supported by specially trained Save the Children staff.
In the third phase (from September 2017), Save the Children will make sure learnings from this disaster are implemented in future planning, preparation and action in emergency situations. Through specialized workshops, children will actively participate in sharing their experiences and the needs they faced in the immediate and longer-term aftermath of the earthquake. Their potential is essential in helping to decrease the impact of future disasters by creating more effective answers both on the local and national levels.
C&A Foundation supports Save the Children Vietnam flood response
On early 14th October 2016, the tropical depression made its landfall in central Vietnam, causing heavy rain. In Quang Binh and Ha Tinh provinces, the rainfall went up to 600mm-800mm. About 650,000 people were affected. Over 30 people died.
Heavy rains continued and during the second flood 15 people died and over 40,000 additional houses were flooded.
The aftermath of the heavy rains and the floods was severe: in total over 130,000 houses were flooded or damaged. Several communes in Quang Binh and Ha Tinh were completely isolated and the livestock and food sources severely affected. 10 schools were flooded in Quang Tri and the roofs of 45 classrooms were blown off in Quang Tri and Quang Binh. In addition, the infrastructure including power system, roads, small dam and irrigation cannels were affected.
Save the Children will provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable communities affected by the flood with the following activities:
- Non-food items: distribution of non-food items such as water containers, clothes, blankets, mosquito nets and cooking utensils
- Water, sanitation and hygiene: provide water filters to households, rehabilitate water and sanitation facilities in schools and conduct hygiene promotion activities in communes
- Livelihood support: provide multi-purpose unconditional cash grants as a tool to supplement livelihood recovery efforts
- Education in Emergencies: distribute education kits and provide education materials to affected schools to ensure the continuity of the schooling
C&A Foundation supports response to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti
On 4 October, Hurricane Matthew made landfall near Les Anglais, Haiti with winds of 230 km/h, becoming the first category 4 storm to do so since Hurricane Cleo in 1964 and causing the largest humanitarian emergency since the earthquake six years ago. Over 1000 people are reported to have died. An estimated total of 2.1 million people have been affected.
C&A Foundation is supporting through a donation of USD 200,000 to its global humanitarian partner, Save the Children.
The funds are immediate and flexible to enable Save the Children to act quickly. Save the Children has done initial assessments in the field and is aiming to reach 200,000 people with the following activities in the most affected departments in the southern peninsula (Grand Anse, South and West):
- Health: to provide immediate support for the prevention and management of cholera and other waterborne diseases
- Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: water treatment solutions and education around management of water to eliminate vector-borne and diarrheal diseas
- Non-food Items: distribution of urgently needed non-food items such as blankets, shelter supplies and hygiene and household kits
- Child Protection: to provide the thousands of children displaced from their homes with a safe place to be engaged in educational play with other children, while giving parents a much-needed opportunity to go out and assess the damage
- Education in Emergencies: working with 131 schools and child care centres in the affected areas and an estimated 50% of them have been damaged and lost equipment and materials
- Food security: address issues of food insecurity caused by the impacts of Hurricane Matthew with cash vouchers or other cash programming
C&A Foundation’ emergency seed funding helps launch Save the Children’s search and rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean Sea
On September 10th, Save the Children's search and rescue ship, Vos Hestia, set off for the first rescue operation in the Mediterranean sea.
We are proud to support Save the Children’s efforts through our ongoing humanitarian partnership. Already with the first mission they have rescued refugees from the ocean off the coast of Sicily.
First rescue operation
Within its first days of operation, the ship got an emergency call from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre run by the Italian Coast guard. The crew assisted in a rescue operation of multiple boats. Approximately 1200 people were rescued across all the rescues. Save the Children brought them on the Vos Hestia and gave them backpacks with emergency food, water and a blanket, before transferring them to a navy ship for the night.
Shortly after the crew picked up more than 300 people from another overcrowded ship, including pregnant women, children, unaccompanied children and a new born baby.
Preventing people from drowning
More than 3,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean already this year. 40% more than during the same period in 2015.
The journey over the Mediterranean sea is very dangerous especially for children. The number of children trying to cross to Italy has increased by two thirds compared to last year. Whatever they are fleeing from, they have the right to be safe.
Save the Children has worked at Italian ports for more than eight years, helping to protect children when they arrive on land. Having seen this increasing emergency situation Save the Children has launched a search-and-rescue operation and provides to children and their families first aid on board of the ship.
For more information about the rescue mentioned see video: Vos Hestia – First Rescue Operation
Our partnership with Save the Children: One and half years on
At the beginning of 2015 C&A and C&A Foundation teamed up with Save the Children to support mothers and children in need. After one and a half years, through our partnership we have helped around 425.000 people worldwide!
We have focused our partnership on emergency response, sending humanitarian aid after emergencies such as the Nepal earthquake and flooding in Bangladesh and India. We have mobilised customers through our „Mothers make the difference“ in store campaign. And our customers responded by donating around 400,000 Euros in the first year! All this through small donations in collection boxes across Europe. Its amazing what can come together when we pull together! The funds raised have gone to help vulnerable children and mothers in the refugee crisis in Europe
Another focus of the partnership has been disaster risk reduction; because we feel we can have a greater impact by helping communities to be more resilient before disaster strikes. One project C&A Foundation supported was in India. C&A employee Ambassadors got the opportunity to learn more about the work of Save the Children by going on a field trip to India and reported their experiences in a blog (see 'Field Trip Blog' tab above) and in a video (below on this page).
For more information about the supported Save the Children projects, have a look through this site.
Video Blog: C&A Ambassadors Trip to visit Save the Children in India
In 2016, four stores employees took part in the very first C&A Ambassadors trip. The group visited India to get to know more about the work of Save the Children and the partnership with C&A and C&A Foundation. Since 2015, the three organisations have been working together to help women and children affected by disasters. Through this partnership, C&A Foundation is supporting mothers and children to cope with disasters in urban areas, like in Kolkata, India. The Ambassadors had the chance to see for themselves the impact this support is having on communities.
C&A Ambassador, Neda, said of the trip, “The main thing a learned on this trip is that even if people are disadvantage, when they come together they do amazing things. Not only in India, but all over the world. We have to teach young children how to help themselves and how to work with their community, because together we are stronger. In the future, I will continue to be a C&A Ambassador by doing charity work and sharing my story to my friends, family and colleagues.”
Watch the video and share this experience.
C&A customers donated around 400,000 Euros to Save the Children
Since May 2015, C&A has been asking customers to support the partnership with the children’s rights organisation Save the Children.
Until May 2016, C&A customers donated 404,864 Euros into the donation boxes at stores across Europe. All donations went directly to Save the Children, funding programmes in aid of the current refugee crisis. C&A would like to thank all customers for their generous commitment and support.
Every donation counts to help mothers and children in need
C&A has set up donation boxes labelled “Mothers make the difference” in more than 1,150 stores in 8 countries across Europe, including Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Information flyers conveniently placed at in-store cash desks complement the donation boxes and raise awareness of the partnership with Save the Children. Save the Children teams also visited several C&A stores to get in touch with customers directly, providing insights into the organisation’s programmes aimed at helping children and their mothers in need.
Responding to the refugee crisis
More than one million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe in 2015 alone, raising the pressing question of how to cope with the influx. Save the Children is working on the grounds across Europe to ensure that refugees and migrants have access to care and support. Also through donations by C&A customers, Save the Children was able to provide emergency aid, legal and psychosocial support along the whole route child refugees and their families take. This includes setting up protected areas like Child-Friendly Spaces and Mother and Baby Corners in transit and destination countries, which are tailored to the specific needs of children and mothers on the move.
Partnership between Save the Children, C&A Foundation and C&A
The campaign ‘Mothers make the difference’ is part of a 3-year partnership between C&A, philanthropic organisation C&A Foundation and non-governmental organisation Save the Children aimed at empowering mothers and children to cope with humanitarian crises. In addition to money raised by customers and employees, C&A Foundation is providing Save the Children with at least €3 million annually until 2017. The funds will help mothers keep their children safe and healthy in emergency situations; help families in sourcing countries prepare for disasters, and protect children’s rights across the supply chain of C&A.
Fighting the effects of drought in Asia-Pacific together with Save the Children
The 2015-16 El Niño was one of the worst on record in recent years. So far, millions of people have been affected by the El Niño drought and subsequent food crisis in the Asia-Pacific region, including in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
To make matters worse, there is a strong possibility of La Niño occurring later this year, which will bring the opposite effect (heavy rains and flooding) to El Niño. This could lead to a significantly increase the number of people impacted.
In June 2016 C&A Foundation supported Save the Children in their response with 200,000 US Dollar in Cambodia and Vietnam. Save the Children is also active in Indonesia and Philippines which have also been affected.
In Vietnam, drought and salinization have affected many provinces and an estimated 2 million people face water shortage for domestic use, a fifth of them being at risk of water-related disease outbreaks. Save the Children is working to secure access to safe water and improve food security in the most vulnerable communities. This will contribute to the longer term improved livelihood and health outcomes of the communities, in particular school children and teachers. More information by Save the Children see: https://vietnam.savethechildren.net/news/save-children-steps-relief-efforts-amid-vietnams-historical-drought
In Cambodia, all 25 provinces are facing water shortages in the worst drought in decades. Approximately 2.5 million people from 625,000 households are severely affected. Use of unsafe water is already highly prevalent in Cambodia’s rural areas, and the water shortage has led to a further increase. Save the Children is working to alleviate the negative effects of the drought on children’s education and health through cash grants, water and hygiene packages, and handwashing units. They are also helping the community to build resilience to this kind of extreme weather oscillations. More information by Save the Children see: https://cambodia.savethechildren.net/news/responding-water-shortages-cambodia
In addition to humanitarian aid, through their 3-year partnership C&A Foundation and Save the Children are working together to find innovative approaches to improve communites’ abilities to respond to emergency.
C&A Foundation gives aid to drought affected India
As the severe water crisis this year affected millions of people across India,in May 2016 C&A Foundation supported Save the Children with 175,000 Euro seed funding for a response to provide emergency relief items and follow up water and soil conservation and recovery support.
The drought has left many without drinking water, food and jobs leading to illness, hunger, death and children as well as vulnerable people left behind due to distress migration of workers to other areas.
As the situation is so widespread and due to the continuous nature of drought crises, Save the Children is focusing its work on supporting with short and medium term aid where it can reach the most vulnerable over the next 6 months in 40 villages in Maharashtra and Telangana to reach around 10,000 people. Emergency relief items will include sun shades, oral rehydration sachets, water purification sachets and cash transfers. Further work will be done to help safeguard longer term recovery, including soil and water conservation measures and linking into government activities over the next 6 months.
C&A Ambassadors on field trip to India to visit Save the Children projects
As part of C&A’s commitment to fashion with a positive impact, it is important to engage and inspire our colleagues. Through the C&A Ambassadors Programme, staff members can visit some of the initiatives that we support. Recently, a group of 5 C&A colleagues went on a trip to India to visit the programmes and projects supported through the Mothers Make the Difference partnership with Save the Children.
Read the about their experiences and impressions by clicking on the ‘Field Trip Blog’ tab above.
Video Blog: C&A and C&A Foundation Team visit Save the Children Refugee Center in Serbia
In October 2015, C&A and C&A Foundation staff visited Preševo, a small town on the Serbian Macedonian border that is receiving thousands of refugees and migrants a day. Save the Children has set up a Center there to help mothers with children, as well as unaccompanied minors. Have a look.
C&A Foundation donates clothing to Syrian refugees in Turkey
As an ongoing effort to support refugees, C&A Foundation donated clothing to Syrian refugees through their partner Save the Children.
Save the Children is very grateful for the high quality donation provided by C&A Foundation for Syrian refugees living in Suruç, Turkey, on the Turkish-Syrian border.
The winter clothing was distributed in mid-November and will keep 4’000 adults and children warm over the coming winter months. As the Syrian crisis has been taking its toll on children and their families for almost five years now, Save the Children is delighted that a company such as C&A is actively providing assistance to meet the needs of refugee children and families on a continual basis.
C&A Serbia donates children clothing for refugees in Serbia
As an ongoing effort to support refugees and migrants, C&A Serbia donated 1,300 pieces of clothing to the Save the Children safe space for Mothers and Children in Preševo, Serbia.
C&A and C&A Foundation staff visited programme in Preševo – a small town on the Serbian Macedonian border that is receiving thousands of refugees a day- and supported Save the Children with the distribution.
Jan-Dirk Seiler-Hausmann, a C&A employee, couldn’t imagine such a situation and explains “it is overwhelming how many refugee mothers and children need help and are now benefiting from our support”.
Through their 3-year, multi-million Euro partnership with Save the Children, C&A Foundation and C&A are supporting mothers and children in humanitarian crises and the work with refugees has been a cornerstone of the program. In September 2015, C&A Foundation had donated 50,000 Euro to Save the Children to support the growing crisis in Serbia.
Project update: C&A Foundation supports two mobile child friendly spaces in Sicily
C&A Foundation recently donated 200,000 EURO to Save the Children Italy in order to help mothers and children affected by the Mediterranean crisis.
Save the Children Italy’s Emergency team is currently intervening in the southern European border. Thanks to C&A Foundation’s contribution the activities could be further intensified to provide a second stream of activity through mobile child friendly spaces.
Two mobile child friendly spaces have been set up in order to reach children in reception areas across Sicily. Each has 2 educators, a cultural mediator, a field coordinator, and a logistic operator. The migrants, who are mainly from Syria, Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan, are landing in numerous ports in Sicily, after being rescued in open sea. In 2015, more than 10% of the total migrants arriving in Italy by sea at the southern border are children. The aim of the mobile child friendly spaces is to offer children a safe area, when they arrive on land after the long and dangerous crossing. The mobile units serve as a playground, as well as a place for informal educational activities. They support children and their families in the recovery of their physical and mental well-being. These “safe spaces” provide a sense of normality and community, where children have the possibility to release stress, play and talk. Mobile Units are also often visiting first reception facilities where children get transferred to from the ports after disembarkation procedures are completed.
Moreover, Save the Children provides legal advice to mothers and families and to unaccompanied children, to ensure they are aware of their rights, of the protection opportunities for them in Italy and of risks concerning trafficking, exploitation and violence.
With the help of C&A Foundation, Save the Children has reached around 100 mothers, 237 accompanied children, 497 unaccompanied children and 207 adults since July 8th 2015.
The support of the project is part of a three-year partnership between Save the Children and C&A and C&A Foundation to help mothers and children in humanitarian crises.
C&A Foundation supports the Child Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Serbia with 50,000 Euro
In September 2015, C&A Foundation donated 50,000 Euro to Save the Children to support the growing child refugee and migration crisis in Serbia.
Serbia is facing a humanitarian crisis due to the number of migrants and refugees transiting the country on their journey onward to Western and Northern Europe.
In year 2015, more than 135,000 refugees and migrants, including 25,500 children - among whom every 4th child is unaccompanied - entered Serbia. The majority of people using the Western Balkan route come from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia. The overwhelming number of refugees and migrants include families, pregnant women, women with children, and elderly persons. In the first 7 months of 2015, 66,500 people sought asylum in Serbia; this is almost twice the number of total asylum applications submitted in Serbia in the period from 2008 to 2014.
There is an enormous pressure on the Serbian authorities to register and offer accommodation. Even if the state shows good faith, the existing capacities are inadequate for the scale of arrivals. The authorities and civil society are stretched providing humanitarian aid, registration and accommodation. Refugees and migrants arriving in Serbia currently face dire conditions of overcrowding in public spaces and reception centers. There is also a lack of Child Protection services, food and water, medical care and sanitary facilities.
Save the Children provides basic humanitarian support to refugee and migrant families and children transiting through Serbia. After a conduction of a needs assessment, Save the Children now helps where relief is most urgently needed. In order to provide shelter and protection, Save the Children sets up Child Friendly Spaces including a “mother and baby corner”. Save the Children has also established a central coordination hub to support a large number of grassroots organizations helping to identify and respond to child protection concerns. Save the Children also supports national and local authorities to ensure minimum standards are met in the reception centers.
Thanks to C&A Foundation’s Mothers-in-Crisis Fund, Save the Children is able to respond to this crisis. C&A Foundation and Save the Children have a 3 year partnership, where C&A Foundation is supporting Save the Children with 3 million Euros annually. The Mothers-in-Crisis Fund provides immediate funding to Save the Children allowing fast life-saving response in crisis like now in Serbia. In addition, C&A Foundation also supports the Disaster Risk Reduction Innovation Fund, piloting innovative risk-reduction and resilience approaches in urban settings such as Bangladesh, India, China, Mexico and Brazil in order to prevent crises and emergencies.
C&A Foundation supports Save the Children’s Mediterranean initiative to address the growing European migrant crisis
C&A Foundation has donated 200.000 Euro to Save the Children in order to help migrant mothers and children affected by the Mediterranean crisis.
C&A Foundation supports the temporary Child Friendly Spaces that Save the Children has set up at main landing areas in Sicily, so that children can play, learn and develop in a safe and protective environment. The organisation has also set up temporary Child Friendly Spaces in Rome and Milan to address the needs of growing numbers of migrant children.
“The migrant children we meet and support every day upon their arrival are telling us horrific stories about the journeys they have made to reach Europe, which often include crossing the desert or war zones, before the very risky Mediterranean sea crossing,” says Raffaela Milano, Director Italy-Europe Programmes at Save the Children. “During these dangerous journeys, they often face dehydration, hunger, detention, torture, slavery, trafficking, sexual abuse, and rape – and many of them are traumatised when they arrive in Italy. We have expanded our program to help these children regain a sense of normalcy, to help them overcome the trauma they have suffered and to support them in their recovery.”
According to Save the Children, about 61,840 mainly Syrian, Eritrean and Somali migrants arrived in Italy by sea in the first six months of 2015. At least 5,910 of these migrant are children, and overwhelming 3,780 are unaccompanied.
Child Friendly Spaces provide children with a safe space to play, socialise and recover a sense of normalcy after the trauma they have faced, in a safe and child-friendly environment. Here, they also find protection from the potential risk of abuse and exploitation, they learn and receive support and information about their rights, and have the opportunity to raise their voice and needs through various activities. Several Save the Children professional teams, including educators, psychologists, participation experts and cultural mediators, are being deployed to support the program’s expansion.
Save the Children has been working in Sicily including Lampedusa, Calabria and Apulia since 2008 helping to care and protect children who have arrived especially attending to their immediate needs, providing legal advice, helping to contact family members, and offering recreational and educational activities.
The support of the project is part of a three-year partnership between Save the Children and C&A and C&A Foundation to help mothers and children in humanitarian crises.
For further information see: www.savethechildren.net
C&A Foundation donates 40,000 Euros to flood victims in India
Heavy monsoon rains in the aftermath of cyclone Komen, which hit West Bengal, India, on 30th of July 2015, continue to cause flooding in several South Asian countries including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
C&A Foundation donated €40,000 to the relief efforts in India, where the flooding has affected more than 10 million people.
The rainfalls in West Bengal and the cyclone Komen flooded 21,000 villages. More than 700,000 houses are damaged and 1,200,000 hectares of crops have been flooded. One hundred twenty-five people lost their lives and more than 10 million people are affected, among whom are 4,5 million children.
Through the support of C&A Foundation, Save the Children has set up more than 824 medical camps and 2,500 relief camps to shelter for over 5 million people left homeless by the disaster. The Foundation’s support will go to provide immediate necessities such as food, water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as child protection. Additionally, non-food items, such as mosquito nets and solar lamps, will be provided. Save the Children is also responding in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
C&A Foundation’s donation is going to help families such as Ashera’s. Thanks to C&A Foundation’s support, families are provided with essentials and can start to feel safe again.
For further information see: www.savethechildren.net
The flooding as first-hand experience
Twenty-year old Ashera lives with her husband and her 3 year old daughter in a small village called Kajla. She is a housewife and her twenty-five year old husband has precarious work as a daily wage laborer. Their house has been badly damaged by the floods. As the house is situated close to two ponds, water enters their house during heavy rainfalls.
During the recent flood they had to stay at the neighbor’s house for almost one month. The small family started living in their house again. However, the cooking still needs to be done in the neighbor’s house. The floor is still moist. There is no sanitation facility and chances of infection are high. The house is badly damaged with marks of crack on the mud wall. Thanks to C&A Foundation’s support, the family benefits especially from the hygiene kits and non-food items they received.
C&A partner Save the Children visits C&A stores in Germany
During May 2015 Save the Children visited 12 C&A stores in Germany to get in contact with customers.
With a booth in and at the entrance of stores in Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Munich, Stuttgart and Nuremberg, Save the Children employees talked to around 40.000 customers. They introduced the partnership between C&A and Save the Children emphasizing that everyone can make a difference.
During the visits of each of the 12 stores, Save the Children brought the partnership to life and made it visible to customers and employees. Customers expressed enthusiasm regarding the partnership. We plan to engage more customers with a second tour in autumn.
C&A Foundation supports Save the Children with USD 200,000 in Nepal
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal in April 2015, C&A Foundation donated USD 200,000 to Save the Children by using the emergency fund of the “Mothers make the difference” partnership.
The grant allows Save the Children to react quickly and helps to reach vulnerable children and families faster with immediate humanitarian aid.
Save the Children international rapid response teams support the local teams in Nepal. The priority is to get safe drinking water, food and shelter assistance to those affected. Save the Children will further focus its rapid response and recovery interventions on mothers and children, who are often left in extremely vulnerable and precarious situations.
C&A starts "Mothers make the difference" campaign to support Save the Children
In the month of May, in which we celebrate our mothers across Europe, C&A is running a campaign called “Mothers make the difference” to support the work of Save the Children. Customers are being invited to donate and support Save the Children’s work with mothers in crises.
After shopping at C&A, customers can find information at the cash desk about Save the Children as well as a collection box for donations. Customers can also purchase special mother’s day cards for their own mothers. All money raised will go to Save the Children.
Throughout our 174-year history C&A has always been committed to supporting women. We feel a responsibility towards women and their families, and the communities in which we operate. Together with philanthropic organization C&A Foundation, C&A supports Save the Children to help women in one of their most important roles: being a mother. The C&A Foundation will provide the independent non-governmental organization Save the Children with financial support of up to 3 million euros annually for the next three years to work with mothers in emergency situations.
To find out more about “Mothers make the difference” or to donate online, go to www.savethechildren.net/canda
"Mothers make the difference" campaign video
When you ask people about their relationships with their mothers, everyone has a different story to tell.
But for one question, the answer is unequivocally the same: Mothers make the difference. Have a look.
C&A and C&A Foundation partner with Save the Children
C&A and philanthropic organization C&A Foundation have teamed up with the charity Save the Children in a three-year, international alliance to support millions of mothers and there children who are coping with humanitarian crises.
Projects will focus both on disaster preparedness, as well as immediate response to emergencies. C&A Foundation will provide Save the Children with financial support up to 3 million euros annually to carry out this important work.
Throughout our long history, a commitment to supporting society has always played an important role at C&A. We feel a responsibility towards families and the communities in which we live. Mothers lie at the heart of both. That is why we want to help empower mothers and children affected by emergencies.
C&A Foundation has already supported the work of Save the Children, such as the response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone.
As a first project within this new partnership, in 2015 C&A Foundation is funding a project to empower Syrian women to help cope with the new financial and emotional challenges that they are facing, so that they can adequately care for their families. Additionally, C&A Foundation made a first donation of C&A winter clothing that has been distributed to Syrian children and mothers living in Turkish refugee camp.
In addition to the funding provided by C&A Foundation, C&A will involve its employees and customers in supporting the partnership, adding additional resources to further contribute to the vision of Save the Children: A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation.
C&A Foundation supports Syrian Women
Throughout the next year, the C&A Foundation will donate 550,000 Euro to support Save the Children projects aimed at empowering Syrian women.
The Syrian civil war has led to one of the worst humanitarian crises of our generation. For the average Syrian family, missing meals has become a regular occurrence. Women are often the sole breadwinners in a family, but in the absence of job opportunities, they are at risk of accepting hazardous work or facing exploitation or abuse when accessing services.
Not only do women struggle to provide food and supplies for their families, but they also strive to offer their children safety and emotional support. It is crucial to provide women with the right support to better ensure they are strong enough to protect themselves and their children while navigating their new lives and roles.
The C&A Foundation and Save the Children have joined forces with the aim of empowering women. Through the combined efforts of both organizations, three safe spaces will be set up to enable women to gather to exchange experiences and receive counselling. In these spaces, women will also be able to access skills training so that they can start their own income-generating initiatives. For example, the sewing workshop not only teaches women to make clothes for themselves and their families, but also provides them with skills that allow them the possibility to earn income.
Part of the project will also be to train the staff who works closely with the women so they can best address gender-based violence and child protection prevention and intervention.
“This project is about supporting and empowering mothers,” explains Leslie Johnston, Executive Director of the C&A Foundation. “While women are terribly affected by the conflict, they have shown extraordinary resilience. Helping women remain strong and building their capacities will inevitably have a positive impact on their families.”
For further information see: www.savethechildren.de/canda
C&A Foundation donates 500,000 EUR to Save the Children
At the end of 2014, C&A Foundation donated to Save the Children Switzerland a 500,000 EUR grant to help children and families affected by the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.
The grant will fund Save the Children’s work to protect unaccompanied and separated children in Sierra Leone, which will primarily include efforts to trace and reunite children with missing relatives.
These activities are critical to prevent long-term family separation, which can occur if children move in search of support when their caregiver is admitted for treatment or dies.
Children are amongst the most vulnerable during such crises and, in Sierra Leone alone, an estimated 1,100 children are unaccompanied or separated from their families because of Ebola.
The funds will help strengthen community-based protection systems, which play an essential role in protecting children. This is critical as extended family and community members have shown some reticence to take lone children into their care for fear of contracting the disease or being stigmatized by the community. Additionally, the donation will enable Save the Children to provide vital psychological and emotional support to children, many of whom are scared and confined to their homes, where they have witnessed the death of loved ones and may face significant trauma on a daily basis.
About Save the Children
Save the Children works in more than 120 countries. We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfil their potential. Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children. They work in over 120 countries. Save the Children save children's lives and fights for their rights. In 2013 Save the Children reached over 143 million children through our work, including over 52 million children directly.
For more information, see www.savethechildren.de/canda
About C&A Foundation
C&A Foundation is a private foundation that aspires to a fair and sustainable apparel industry in which everyone can thrive. The foundation works to address the deeply-rooted challenges of the sector by supporting and driving initiatives, and partnering with key stakeholders to maximize results. The affiliation with C&A, a leading global clothing retailer, not only allows the foundation to test, replicate and scale programs that can help the apparel industry become a force for greater good, but also compels the foundation to support communities affected by humanitarian crises.
For more information, see www.candafoundation.org
Field Trip India - Day five
Yesterday, Thursday April 7, was our last day in India. Our C&A Sourcing and C&A Foundation colleagues gave us and introduction to the sourcing process, from farm to factory. And we had the chance to visit Shahi Exports, one of C&A's suppliers in India.
Everything we do to sell C&A clothes starts in the field – this was the thing that stuck with us today. Our C&A Sourcing and C&A Foundation colleagues gave us an introduction to the sourcing process, from farm to factory. Organic cotton is very important to C&A, in 2015 we were named the world's largest buyer by Textile Exchange. Part of the Foundation’s work is to support training for farmers to convert to organic cotton. This allows them to eliminate the use of harmful fertilizers and pesticides in their cotton farming and achieve organic certification. Much of the organic cotton C&A buys comes from India.
India is also one of the bigger sourcing markets for C&A, so it was great to be able to go to visit Shahi Exports – one of C&A’s suppliers.
Entering Shahi was impressive – they have 5,000 employees at this location alone, 85% of whom are women. This is unusual for Delhi, but maybe because the company was founded by a woman and has an attractive work environment for women with integrated health and wellbeing programmes. The process of making clothes starts with the design and goes through to cutting, stitching, washing and several rounds of testing and checking to ensure a high quality standard. It was all so well organised, considering it can take about 100 people to make just one order of one piece from start to finish.
We had heard so much about factories and did not know what to expect. As we were walking along the sewing line, it was clearly running quickly, but people did not appear to be under pressure.
Knowing where our clothes come from, how they are made and who makes them was enlightening. It makes us appreciate them so much more. And it will help us to inform our customers and our colleagues when we go home.
After a quick stop over at India Gate and a shopping area, we reluctantly head back to the airport. It was a really unforgettable trip for all of us and we are proud to have had the possibility to be part of C&A’s and the Foundation’s story.
Field Trip India - Day four
Yesterday, Wednesday April 5, was our last day in Kolkata. We attended the inauguration of the School Disaster Resource Centre that we had helped decorate earlier in the week.
It was a very proud occasion for the pupils, teachers and Save the Children staff. The center is the first in the area and will be a focal point for the community.
We also went to two different slums. Our first impression was that it was overwhelming as we are not used to such living conditions. We couldn’t believe that some families only have just 6m sq in which to live and sleep. The narrow pathways are littered with garbage that, with the heat and humidity, decomposes and smells foul. It was shocking to see that there are no bathrooms, but open bathing areas (taps) for men and women together. The conditions are not just unpleasant, they make life dangerous, especially for children.
Water logging, fires, electrocution and diseases are common in slum areas. Kolkata is also a seismic area at constant risk of tremors and earthquakes. Save the Children with the support from C&A Foundation’s DRR Innovation Fund is working to address these issues. Even though the project has just started, we could already see some of the benefits people were experiencing. Children now wear slippers because they have learnt going barefoot can lead to injury and infection. At the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) centre – (a government run center that is used to give health education as well as early education for kids and their mothers) we met mothers and children who showed us through play, maps and diagrams how they have identified risks, and how they would keep safe.
Again, we saw how positive, open and motivated the children. They have a strong sense of pride, achievement and confidence in taking ownership for their local area and encouraging their families and neighbours to follow their lead and keep safe. We couldn’t imagine how to manage living in a slum, but the people we met showed us how to handle the enormous daily challenges and that they can, and will, change their future for the better.
Field Trip India - Day three
Yesterday, Tuesday April 5, we visited Kajila and Chandiveti villages in the southern region of West Bengal with Save the Children’s local partner, Kajila Janakalyan Samity (KJKS).
With the support C&A Foundation in August 2015, KJKS and Save the Children assisted 300 households that were affected by floods caused by a severe cyclone.
We all had different feelings about what to expect – what would we see in an area that is regularly hit by floods? What awaited us were beautiful paddy fields and villagers who welcomed us with flowers and freshly cut coconuts for us to drink from! It was heart-warming to see how generous people are even when they may have relatively little themselves.
The villagers told us how devastating the situation had been. The water rose so quickly over 2 days, flooding their houses, and forcing them to take shelter in local schools for several months, it must have been really frightening. Hearing how these villagers’ lives can be wrecked in a few days made us put our daily worries into perspective, and made us really appreciate and value our own lives and what we have around us.
The emergency response from Save the Children provided the villages with a number of items such as water pumps, hygiene kits, tarpaulins, solar lamps and education kits. The items that were given helped enormously to support the families over the difficult months. We realised, however, that giving aid is never good enough. Humanitarian emergency responses can only be a short term measure. What is needed are longer term solutions which combine contributions from the community and support from the government, to ensure the damage that such floods can cause is minimised in the future.
Field Trip India - Day two
Yesterday, Monday April 4, after a long flight to Kolkata with a couple of small adventures, we all arrived safely and in high spirits into a hot and humid Kolkotta.
After a briefing of Save the Children India we split into two groups our first visits to: the Waheed Memorial School and the Sibtala East Slum in Kolkata.
Vesna, Lea, Neda, Ilan met pupils and a mother’s group at the school. The school will be inaugurated this week as a School Disaster Resource Centre – the first of its kind for the area! The group of children showed up their knowledge of what to do in an emergency. It was really great to see.
Save the Children’s work here is fascinating. Tey are helping pupils and their families to identify and reduce the risk of vulnerability to disasters through education programs.
We assisted some of the pupils to paint a library wall with their favorite things (sports, butterflies, fruits!) and also messages of how to keep safe at school, which will all be unveiled at the inauguration.
It was wonderful to see how the students here have responded so well to the education programs.
Joana and Christa went to the Sibtala East slum and met a group of girls also working with Save the Children on disaster risk reduction.
Families here face so many obstacles in their lives that cause the cycle of poverty to continue. However, we see that these enormous barriers can be overcome, with access to education and understanding of the risks they face, their rights and their potential.
The girls told us about their career ambitions to be doctors, police women and teachers. Just like girls in our countries.
Joana, truly inspired, said “they seem to have nothing, but in fact they have everything – dreams, ambitions and drive”. We all agreed!
Field Trip India - Day one
Yesterday, Sunday April 3, the four colleagues from Eastern Europe started their journey to India as C&A Ambassadors. After a long flight with a stop in Delhi, they will arrive in Kolkata in Eastern India this afternoon.
In a group of six people, including Christa Rain from Communications Austria and Ilan Vuddamalay from C&A Foundation the four C&A Ambassadors Lea Muše from Croatia, Vesna Lazic and Neda Dolžan from Slovenia and Joanna Zawadzka from Poland will visit Save the Children projects to get an idea of the work and promote the partnership.
During the trip, the members of the group will be giving an update each day, which will be published on this page, to tell us about their day, what they have seen, what they are feeling and learning. Follow their journey on this page.
C&A Ambassadors prepare on a workshop for the field trip to India
Beginning of March, the four field trip participants Lea Muše, Joanna Zawadzka, Neda Dolžan and Vesna Lazić came to Vienna for a preparation-workshop.
They got to know more about Save the Children, the projects supported in India and were able to get to know each other.
During their field trip beginning of April every day they will tell us their first hand impressions from the projects they will visit. Follow them here on this page.
The four participants, Lea Muše from Croatia, Vesna Lazic and Neda Dolžan from Slovenia and Joanna Zawadzka from Poland are the C&A Ambassadors thanks to the outstanding support of their countries to the Mothers Make the Difference campaign. Just before the start of the Christmas holiday season 2015, a competition was launched throughout C&A Austria & Eastern European countries to see which country could sell the most Christmas tags. For each set of tags sold, C&A Foundation made a donation of 50 cents to Save the Children. The three top selling countries were invited to send one employee to the field trip as a C&A Ambassador for. Slovenia was rewarded for its great engagement in a similar campaign on Mother’s Day last year and sent an additional colleague.
All participating countries had an enormous engagement and showed what is possible when you do something with total commitment, both for the business and for society. Approximately 173.500 tag sets were sold in the countries that participated in the contest, including Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. This equals a C&A Foundation donation of €86.750 on top of the 3 million Euro annual donation to Save the Children.
After six weeks of sales, the winning countries were Croatia, Poland and Slovenia. They are sending four excited colleagues to visit the Save the Children projects in India, where C&A Foundation is supporting different projects.
India is an important country for C&A. Most of the cotton used for C&A products is grown in India. So giving back to the communities in India is our priority. The city of Kolkata is located in West Bengal, India, with a population of 14.1 million people. One third of the inhabitants are slum-dwellers, some of which lack basic services, such as access to clean water, trash removal and sanitation. Most slums are located on river banks and in coastal areas, where people are more vulnerable to disasters. Therefore it is essential to work with the people in order to reduce their vulnerability to environmental and other risks, such as floods, earthquakes, cyclones and heat waves. Mothers and children are especially vulnerable. Save the Children is India’s leading independent child rights organization, which is working in 17 states to make a difference in the lives of the most socially-excluded children of India. The disaster risk reduction project in India is just one of the many projects supported by the partnership between Save the Children, C&A and C&A Foundation.
This partnership, which was launched in February 2015, focuses on supporting mothers and children in emergency situations. In addition to emergency humanitarian aid after the earthquake in Nepal and flooding in India, a major focus of this partnership has been the European migrant crisis. All of the donations made by C&A customers last year went to helping refugees in Europe.
How you can help
No one knows when emergencies will occur, whether it is a sudden or slow onset natural or man-made disaster. But one thing we know is that children and mothers are extremely vulnerable in crisis situations. They require comprehensive protection to ensure their safety and well-being.
Save the Children actively supports the protection of vulnerable children and their mothers, both at times of disaster and in the aftermath.
You can support our programmes with Save the Children to help children and their families in emergencies.
To see what programmes we support, click on the News tab above.
You can donate to Save the Children via donation boxes in C&A stores in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Funds raised in store will go to help children and families in the European refugee crisis.
You can donate online to Save the Children here: https://www.savethechildren.net/canda/