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The future of millions of children is currently very uncertain. An estimated 1.6 billion boys and girls worldwide are or were massively affected by the closure of schools, daycare centers as well as leisure facilities in the wake of the pandemic.
Reading, writing, math, but also social contacts fell by the wayside. And can children experience the joy of learning when there is no access to space, materials or even internet at home? The motto is "Education connects. Together worldwide.". Together with tesa, the largest independent children's rights organization in the world – Save the Children – is responding to this emergency situation and giving disadvantaged children around the world the chance for a better future via educational efforts, despite the pandemic and its long-term effects.
As an international company, tesa made a deliberate decision to support selected projects in different parts of the world together with Save the Children.
Therefore, the company is focusing on its production sites or affiliates, in order support the spirit of humanity via projects in six different countries on three continents: Vietnam, Mexico, India, China, Italy, and Germany.
The best investment in the future is to invest in our children's education.
"The best investment in the future is to invest in our children's education. With our current donation, we are making our contribution to the crisis management and supporting Save the Children in breaking the cycle of poverty on a sustainable basis, even beyond the time of the pandemic," emphasizes tesa CEO Dr. Norman Goldberg. The large financial support is part of the tesa Covid-19 aid program, for which the company provided five million Euro at the beginning of the pandemic. When children in India were particularly hard hit by further outbreaks in the spring of this year, tesa increased the company's donation volume specifically for India.
"We are thankful to tesa for this great support. The fact that as a company they do not lose sight of the needs of children in need and that they support children all over the world is admirable. On behalf of these children, we would like to thank you for your generous involvement," says Florian Westphal, Managing Director of Save the Children Germany in a letter of thanks to tesa.
Six projects, three continents and many children who once again found a reason to smile – Save the Children made this possible with committed engagement and extensive expertise. There is a lot of planning, creativity, knowledge of local conditions and plenty of passion in every project: Here is a brief overview of the joint projects 'Education connects. Together worldwide.'.
These are the projects that tesa supports with Save the Children:
Haiphong is the third largest city in Vietnam and tesa is currently settling here, in the north of the country. But the new neighbor is already supporting the children in the region. The main goal of the project in Vietnam is to ensure the education of primary school children via distance learning with a series of learning videos for teachers, caregivers, and school children. In addition to distance learning opportunities, there are also alternative approaches in families and communities to better help the most disadvantaged children. Save the Children is currently supporting primary schools in Haiphong City.
Five primary schools with 4,800 pupils participate in the project. Home schooling and teacher trainings are the main topics of this project, as well as better materials, including books and writing devices. Moreover, the courses in schools are not only aimed to encourage pupils to read and write. The caregivers were also brought on board through parenting clubs to support and strengthen them regarding learning at home – and thus to motivate and encourage their children accordingly. In the meantime, 50 useful video and audio clips support the caregivers.
With the help of the tesa donation, Save the Children has supported the empowerment of children in China in their socio-emotional development and resilience. The project was able to reach more than 100,000 children and their families with psycho-social support. With the concept of "Social and Emotional Learning" (SEL), Save the Children helps kids set and achieve positive goals, make responsible decisions, feel empathy for others, maintain positive relationships and gain more self-confidence.
Save the Children has focused on early childhood education and primary schooling for many years. In order to further develop important social skills, teachers and school administrators have also been trained accordingly. Save the Children collaborates closely with parents and other guardians, teachers, and communities. The digitization of curricula, the development of interactive formats and new materials for virtual lessons are also on the agenda.
In the spring of 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic shook India. The health system was on the verge of collapse. There was a lack of everything – hospital beds, medical oxygen, and medication. Children are not only affected by the disease, but they also have to face the loss of many loved ones. Therefore, tesa has donated an additional 250,000 Euro for another COVID-19 aid program in India, especially in support of the state of Maharashtra. These funds can be used to build health centers, while Save the Children provides people with home care kits, vaccinations, basic food, as well as learning and play sets.
In India, where 320 million school children are or have been affected by school closings, Save the Children and tesa are also promoting home schooling support of children in 40 schools and 40 preschools, for example via mobile libraries, reading sponsorships, teacher trainings, and COVID-19 prevention measures. Furthermore, authorities are advised on how to create health concepts to guarantee a safe return to school for all boys and girls.
The Latin American country has recently been seen as the epicenter of the pandemic because the situation there had deteriorated dramatically. According to Save the Children, the health, well-being and education of more than 40 million children are still at stake. Here, the overarching aid measures focus on particularly disadvantaged children, such as indigenous groups, immigrant families, and people in rural areas.
The project 'Creating Safe Spaces to Go Back to School' supports children and teachers in dealing better with the new situation of homeschooling, thus, in keeping the pace. Depending on the situation, the children's rights organization provides families with digital and analog learning material, for example, a learning diary. Thanks to tesa, Save the Children was able to ensure that caregivers who don’t work from home or who cannot afford private care had access to municipal childcare facilities. The teachers work from home as long as the schools are closed. At best via video calls, e-mails, WhatsApp or phone. It is not uncommon for a teacher to drop by the children's home when communication is not possible via these channels.
Educational poverty is a reality not only in far-away places. With the pilot project "MakerSpace: child- and youth-friendly learning in digital spaces", Save the Children strengthens digital and social core competencies of disadvantaged children and young people from socio-economically weak and educationally poor homes. By setting up two digital workshop rooms – the MakerSpace and the MedienWerkstatt – for primary and secondary schools, it was possible to increase the motivation to learn among educationally disadvantaged children and youngsters via alternative learning and teaching rooms where children may learn independently focusing on their own ideas.
In early 2020, the outbreak of the pandemic and the nation-wide school closings presented the project with major challenges. While everyone involved had previously worked on site in the district schools on a regular basis, the experimental workshop now had to be virtualized in next to no time. They succeeded – and in the end it showed once again how important digital competence is today. Together with tesa, Save the Children therefore focused on active and needs-based support for the staff in the project schools in order to support the educational staff and give them the security of being able to independently implement the project idea as a multiplier. Via creative workshops, the teachers and their students were able to discover various digital tools – such as VR, programming, green screen technology, 3D printers and more – and incorporate them into their lesson planning at their own discretion.
Punto Luce – a "point of light" symbolizes the aid project of Save the Children in Italy. Under the motto "Rewrite the future", Save the Children supported about 100,000 kids to continue learning even during the pandemic. The provision of Internet access and tablets is intended to ensure that young people can learn online while schools are closed. In Italy, too, there is a large number of families who do not own a computer or another technical device with Internet access, at most a mobile phone. More than 1 million children in Italy are affected by poverty and the pandemic often made the situation worse: Life in a confined space, which suddenly became a place of living, study and leisure for everyone in times of curfews and restrictions, affected children heavily.
Together with strong partners like tesa, Save the Children counteracts educational poverty and school drop-outs in Italy. An important part of this initiative are the 25 training centers "Punto Luce", which are spread over 19 cities in the country. They organize tutoring for disadvantaged boys and girls to catch up on missed learning content, as well as sports activities, art, media skills. These centers are essential support pillars for families in need during this difficult time. An important part of the work includes offering emotional support to children and youngsters as well as their parents through online counseling and personal meetings – a fact that should not be underestimated when dealing with crises. However, a wide range of aid measures is also needed right outside the "front door".
Save the Children and tesa
Already in the spring of 2020, at an early stage of the pandemic, tesa and the children's rights organization met to discuss initial action plans in view of the looming development. The decision to make a substantial contribution to empower disadvantaged children in their right to education was an easy one for those responsible at tesa. The one million Euro promised at the time is part of a comprehensive tesa donation program. tesa supported the global Covid-19 crisis fund run by the aid organization 'Doctors Without Borders' with another million Euro. Furthermore, tesa donated to local organizations in seven regions – from Asia to North and Latin America as well as Europe – which the local affiliates have selected.