Media Alert - Free The Children Responds to the Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Co-founders of the international charity offer perspective on the drought/famine

TORONTO, Aug. 8, 2011 /CNW/ - As you know, East Africa is experiencing the worst drought in 60 years, and it's only going to get worse.

  • According to the United Nations  (UN), tens of thousands of people have died
  • The UN has appealed for an additional $1.4 billion to save the lives of people across the region
  • A combination of continuous seasons of drought, on-going conflict and high food prices has placed more than 12 million people in need of life-saving aid

Who is Free The Children?
Free The Children, through its holistic and sustainable Adopt a Village model, has supported communities in East Africa since 1999, building schools and school rooms for more than 6,000 children; providing clean water to more than 100,000 people and arranging for basic health care solutions for more than 600,000 people.

The drought is currently having two effects on Free The Children's communities, both of which the organization is responding to. In the immediate term, malnutrition in both children and adults is rising. In the longer term, with families needing to put more of their increasingly scarce household income towards purchasing food, they will be driven further into poverty and be more likely to pull their children out of school to help support the family economically.

Who are Craig and Marc Kielburger?
Craig and Marc Kielburger, founders of Free The Children, have always been very close to the people and communities in Kenya and parts of Africa.

  • They have travelled to the East Africa region more than 40 times and have been involved with aide work for over 15 years
  • They have a vested interest and a deep understanding of the political system, development issues and the day-to-day living conditions
  • They have a strong and intimate on-the-ground perspective as a result of their ongoing interactions with the local government and communities affected by the crisis

Craig is currently in Kenya. Marc recently returned from spending two weeks in East Africa assessing the situation.

Why you should speak to Craig and Marc?
Craig (by phone in Kenya) and Marc (by phone, Skype or person in Toronto) are available to provide their unique perspectives, personal experiences and expert knowledge on:

  • The drought/famine in East Africa as a whole - from the children most affected by it, to the reactions from the rest of the region and people at home
  • The importance of creating long term sustainable solutions throughout developing communities, providing the basic needs to help eliminate larger obstacles
  • What the general public can do, but specifically what parents and educators can do to educate and engage youth on these issues

Free The Children is also encouraging people to visit http://www.freethechildren.com/donate/kenya/ to learn more and help support the drought/famine in the Horn of Africa.

About Free The Children:
Free The Children is the world's largest network of children helping children through education, with more than one million youth involved in our innovative education and development programs in 45 countries. Founded in 1995 by international child rights activist Craig Kielburger, we are a charity and educational partner that believes in a world where all young people are free to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. Our domestic programs educate, engage and empower hundreds of thousands of youth in North America, the UK and around the world. Our international projects have brought over 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water, health care and sanitation to one million people around the world.

Free The Children has a proven track record of success. The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (also known as the Children's Nobel Prize), the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with leading school boards, Oprah's Angel Network and Virgin Atlantic. For additional information, please visit www.freethechildren.com.

SOURCE Free the Children

For further information:

If you require additional information or would like to schedule an interview, please contact:

Tamara Kaftalovich, Director, PR & Publicity
Free The Children
W: 416.925.5894 x 805
M: 416.888.8536
tamara@freethechildren.com

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