INTRO: The majority of poverty-stricken children are born to parents who lack economic resources such as disposable income. This condition severely restricts children’s opportunities and is not an exclusive phenomena found in poorer countries. Developed countries like New Zealand also have a serious problem. Economic and demographic factors like globalisation, residential segregation and labour market segmentation constrain economic opportunities and choices across generations as does parental unemployment, government policies, high barriers to equal educational opportunities, social services, disabilities and discrimination all which significantly affect the occurrence of child poverty.
“If you’re in trouble, or hurt or need –
go to the poor people. They’re the only
ones that’ll help. The only ones.”
The Street Children and Orphans Trust (SCOT) is a NZ-registered charitable organization Based in Auckland that was established in August 2010. Its preliminary work involved fashion out a New Zealand-centric literacy programme for Asian and ASEAN country migrant children in Auckland and setting up n outreach programme in the Philippines.
It established its first overseas Hope Training Centre in the Philippines as a hatching ground where it could reap valuable experiences and use it to fine tune its three-fold ‘Reach-Raise-Release’ Slingshot Empowerment Model for transforming the lives of disadvantaged children. Today, there are a total of eight similar child training centres catering to over 700 street children and orphans in that country.
SCOT’s motto “A Hand Up Approach To Child Poverty“ is a short phrase chosen encapsulating its belief and ideals as a children-focused self-funded charity. It defines, in just a few words, what SCOT’ trans formational model is when employed to counter the root issues of child poverty.
THE QUALITY OF OUR LEGACIES
In New Zealand – a young country with a significant percentage of migrants seeking greener pastures and opportunities, SCOT promotes the view that honouring diversity, respecting and promoting the use of languages other than English but ensuring that our migrant children acquire English successfully as a second language, is fundamental to securing their rights to an early childhood programme that meet their needs and provides them with educational and social outcomes that assist their attaining a high standard of education and a responsible life in the future as productive residents and citizens of this country.
Our government and its leadership in both the national and local levels realise that the world’s global and regional socio-economic and political alignments have undergone a radical and often-overlooked transformation in the last 25-years. Major shifts that have occurred now require our nation to adapt quickly. If not addressed, it can impede the future political and economic sustainability of New Zealand.
In the midst of this sea of change for a small country with a small population and limited natural resources, New Zealand needs to punch above its weight, just as it has recently has by gaining a valuable voice globally in the Security Council of the United Nations. To do this locally, however, we also need to look far into the future but act today using the available human resources we have. We can’t afford to ignore the kind and quality of legacies our children will inherit from us, their elders.
COMPETING FOR ATTENTION
Although the total amount given globally to charity by the public has risen despite the tough economic climate, the overall increase masks the way smaller groups are struggling because “mega-charities” with powerful fundraising and marketing operations are taking up an increasing share of donations (up to 85%) leaving tens of thousands of smaller good causes struggling. In many cases small charities are being squeezed from all sides with a lack of resources all contributing to the growing funding gap.
Smaller charities face increasing competition for donors’ attention. They find it difficult to cut through the awareness campaigns that the larger charities have dedicated budget for and often rely on just one or two dedicated people to do all of their fundraising and marketing.
Sadly, the bigger picture is: struggling economies means people are struggling too but their struggles continue much longer even after an economy rebounds. Children who need your support, whether for the basics of food, shelter, clothing, education, care, or advice services continue being mired down by the crushing burdens of poverty.
Let us remind ourselves that when we want to help the poor – especially children, we offer charity to avoid recognising the problem for what it is. In a way, it shrugs off our responsibility because it re moves any initiative for finding solutions for it.
A GROWING CLAMOUR FOR ACTION
This is what makes SCOT a different charitable organisation for such children.
From 2010, the significant strides and outcomes SCOT Trust New Zealand has realised for street children and orphans in its overseas operations in the Philippines at it various Hope Training Centres provide a good paradigm to adopt. Essentially, it is the same ‘hand-up versus hand-out’ approach which can be employed to combat the persistent issue of hungry children in low decile schools in New Zealand.
SCOT’s vision of empowering children mired in poverty to their full potential using education as a platform aligns well with the vision of our primary schools of giving young students a great start in life. Towards achieving that common outcome, it has also been one of SCOT’s objective to partner with existing local authorities, business and school organisations largely because there is a resource gap between public and private sector resources as it relates to those schools and charitable organisations like SCOT.
Now in its 5th year of operations, SCOT marks this milestone by hosting a dinner event to celebrate its cause and to give thanks to all those in the private sector who have supported it through these years. It is an event that also hopes to highlight a response to a growing clamour for action at the highest level of governance in our country.
In closing, SCOT maintains that New Zealanders should not expect its government to be the only party or entity that always carries the burden of having to fix the country’s social ills such as unemployment, unaffordable housing, high food costs and more. That responsibility also rests with us and no one is absolved by mouthing the excuse that they pay their taxes so it’s not their problem.
THE EVENT LOCATION
The Grasshopper Restaurant
22 Lower Albert Street
(In the Stamford Plaza Auckland)
Auckland, New Zealand
5:30PM | 28 November 2014
NZ$ 60.00 only
Contact: Nanette Carillo
RSVP: 021 026 53242
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SCOT Trust New Zealand | 2014 Anniversary Dinner