A UK charity helping children in Eastern Europe access education is aiming to give out more than 5,000 backpacks by the end of this month, in time for the start of the new school year. Just £15 will provide everything a child with nothing needs to get them back to school and working towards a better future. Even just a fiver will make a difference! Why not club together with family or friends? Donate by texting 70070 with the message PACK16 and your donation amount, or online at mwbuk.org/giveabackpack1
The backpacks will be bought locally by the charity as part of their commitment to sustainable, ethical purchasing, further helping the local community as part of Mission Without Borders' (MWB) commitment to helping the poorest people in Eastern Europe. With more than 40% of children in Romania living in poverty, day to day survival is a far greater priority than going to school and getting an education. But, by giving a child a backpack filled with everything they need for school, their chance of getting an education improves dramatically. All for just £15!
Each backpack contains stationery, textbooks, reading materials and all of the basic supplies a child needs for school. Whilst education is free, schools in Eastern Europe are poorly equipped and children are expected to bring their own materials, which many families simply cannot afford. As MWB's National Manager, Carly Jones says:
“Parents know how expensive back to school supplies are. We are asking British families to come together to spare an extra £15 or whatever they can afford to give children in Eastern Europe a backpack full of everything they need. This is the first step in a long journey to keep the children we help in school.”
Having lived and worked amongst some of the poorest people in Eastern Europe myself, this is a cause close to my heart. When you have nothing and don't know where your next meal is coming from, making sure your children get an education is a long way down the priority list. Tending your animals and land comes first, then seeking the basic means of survival: food, clean water, warmth. Forget what the media has told you, many families across Eastern Europe have, literally, nothing. And your £15 can make a HUGE difference.
Here's Cristian's story.
Cristian is 7. His parents eke out a living of sorts by scouring rubbish dumps for plastic bottles or scrap metal to sell. The rubbish dump is far from home, so by necessity they leave Cristian and his siblings at home alone for days on end. He does not go to school and cannot read or write. But this year, Cristian will receive a backpack. MWB has committed to investing in Cristian’s future, starting with that backpack, but continuing over a number of years to make sure he gets a good education, opening up choice and opportunity for the future.
Spending much of his time without his parents, struggling to find enough food to survive, education is understandably the last thing on Cristian's, or his parents', minds. Receiving this school backpack filled with books, writing materials and more, could be the first 'new' thing that Cristian has ever had, and the first possession ever meant for him. Just imagine how much value that will add to his self-esteem, his hopes for the future, his life.
Like 40% of Romanian children, Cristian and his brothers and sisters live in poverty. They go to bed hungry more nights than not. Children in rural Romania like Cristian need your support to break the cycle of poverty. He does not read or write, he struggles to communicate and he is rejected by society everywhere he goes. As Cristian gets older he will simply pass his own experiences on to his children. Without investment in education, this cycle of poverty will simply continue as it has for generations. Education is the single most important factor for long-term sustainable development for a child, its family and its community, and you can help for just £15!
For every child and teenager MWB helps, the journey is long and difficult. But with your donation, for one child that journey can start now through the gift of a backpack. Change their world – donate now by texting 70070 with the message PACK16 and your donation amount, or online at mwbuk.org/giveabackpack1
Remember, even £5 can make a HUGE difference - and £15 could buy a backpack that could transform a life. That's less than a take-away!
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