Building a global safety net for children

Have you ever celebrated with someone turning 18? Watching a transition into adulthood here in the U.S, provides a stark reminder of the importance of a birth certificate and social security card. A young adult needs documentation to prove her age and get her first job and driver’s license, to reconcile her health records for insurance, to travel, to pursue higher education, and eventually to obtain a lease.

A legal identity for each child is so basic that we often take it for granted. Yet, over 200 million children around the world lack even the most basic identity through birth registration. Millions more find themselves separated from their families, without documentation. In a dangerous world, Each Inc.’s mission to improve care and protection for the most vulnerable has never been more needed.

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Celebrating collaboration

At Each Inc. we look forward to the opportunities to celebrate the work of our network. As a small non-profit, we are grateful to partner with fellow organizations working to protect and care for children globally.

International Social Service (ISS) is one of these partners.  Last week, we were honored to participate as a network sharing sponsor at the fifth annual ISS-USA conference held at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

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Creating memories for vulnerable children

As we grow as an organization, we are blessed to discover and celebrate the work of innovative groups and individuals also working on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children around the world. Recently we have been privileged to connect with Ben Schumaker and The Memory Project.

A Wisconsin-based non-profit, The Memory Project is a unique initiative in which art students create and donate portraits of orphaned and vulnerable children.  As children in adversity often have few personal items, The Memory Project aims to provide a one-of-a-kind portrait to capture their identity and a sense of their history.

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Documenting the pain of life in an institution (orphanage)

At Each Inc. we strongly believe in the value of children’s stories.

One story we recently discovered, Querido Panamá (or Dear Panama), powerfully documents the impact of institutionalization on the 1200 children living in 34 Panamanian orphanages.  For the 2%* of these children who are eventually placed in foster or adoptive care, most wait between three and 18 years to find their forever home.

Promoting legislative reform, reunification of families, foster care and adoption, the film examines the (then) proposed amendment to Law 61 by SENNIAF,  which supports the rights of every child in Panama to a family.  Since the making of Dear Panama, the amendment has evolved to become an entirely new law. Passed in July 2013, Law 46 shortens the time of family investigations, creates a nationwide foster care program, and streamlines the adoption process.

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Gratitude: Thank You Cora and Ken

As we set out to tackle a very busy and exciting 2014, we wanted to pause and give thanks and gratitude to two of our wonderful board members.

Cora Passis (former Chair) and Dr. Kenneth Hall (former Director) served in critical ways as part of our board since we started out two short years ago.  While they have moved on to other adventures, we will always be grateful for the expertise and guidance they provided to our organization, especially in the early days of this amazing journey.

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Unlocking freedom: The value of data

“If there is a single and affordable piece of work to be done to…track progress for children, it is getting every child born, everywhere, an indelible legal record of his or her birth.” – Susan Bissell, Chief of Child Protection at UNICEF

At 14 years old, Maria left her grandparents and five siblings in Guatemala to live with her Aunt Rosa in Chicago and to help care for her two young cousins.  After Maria’s mother was murdered two years ago, Maria’s grandparents sent her to the United States hoping for a better life — a life away from poverty, violence, a crowded house and an uncertain future.

As planned, Maria was smuggled into the United States by Rosa’s boyfriend, Jorge. But instead of taking her to Rosa’s home, Jorge kidnapped Maria and forced her into a dingy house in the Chicago suburbs. Once inside Maria looked into the faces of 15 other girls, all around her age. At that moment, she knew she wasn’t going to see her aunt again.

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Launching the 20/20 Campaign

To mark Universal Children’s Day, Each Inc. is very proud to launch the 20/20 Campaign: An innovative effort, starting the week of November 20, 2013, to positively impact 20 lives, with the collective power of your support.

THE YEAR – It’s been an exciting second year for Each Inc. and our 20/20 vision to provide technology support to organizations working with vulnerable children, globally.  After sharing a demo of our data management systems in East Africa last year, we were encouraged by the excitement it generated.  Securing funding for a full pilot, however, has been a challenge.  Happily, we are about to begin the first pilot of our digital case management tool with a client non-profit organization in Guatemala.

THE PROJECT – This pilot project includes customizing technology to provide an improved data management system for social workers to use as they move young children out of the largest government orphanage in Guatemala City (the ‘City of Children’) into foster families, who will provide each of them a safe family environment.   The toxic stress created in an institutionalized child, especially a young one whose brain is rapidly developing, is a serious health issue that has destructive long-term consequences.  Any child suffering the lack of a consistent caregiver with whom they can bond may experience severe developmental delays, and a lack of family support makes them more vulnerable to violence, exploitation, trafficking, and crime as they grow into adulthood. Early intervention and placement into family care can prevent abuse and dramatically improve the life prospects for each child.

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Happy Birthday Each Inc.!

Today, August 24th, is Each Inc.’s one year anniversary of incorporation! It’s been a great year. As I look back over it I am, simply, grateful. I’m grateful for the many people (including children and youth), governments and organizations that have affirmed the importance of Each Inc.’s vision and contributed to its productive first year. To our wonderful team members who have exceptional skills they have contributed to Each Inc., thank you. To our Board members who have provided needed guidance and wisdom as we plan and strategize, thank you. To our seed donors who provided the resources we needed this first year to confirm that demand is high for Each Inc.‘s products and services, thank you. To our technology partners, who helped us build a demonstration of our proposed technology to test with our clients, thank you. To our child welfare partners around the world, both individuals and organizations, that have shown us what is needed most to effectively reach and protect the world’s most vulnerable children, thank you for the work you do and for allowing us to join you.

This first year has been one of refining our vision, planting seeds and laying foundations. We have come a long way since 2011 and 2012 especially has been a productive year. In 2011 we incorporated, established our brand, began building a community of support, and even did an initial technology field test of a rough demo in Kenya thanks to PAYG solutions and their belief in our cause. Later in 2011 we joined forces with Transcompute who are committed to helping Each Inc. build an enterprise class, secure global technology architecture that can link child protection organizations and stakeholders through data management and aggregation on behalf of children in need of care.

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One Each Story x Millions

Joseph’s last memory of his mother was of her holding him on her lap and giving him a piece of sugar cane. His mother died shortly after of AIDS, leaving him in the care of an aunt. Having too many children to care for herself and hoping that Joseph could have a better life, his aunt took him to an orphanage outside of Kampala, Uganda. There, at the age of 3, Joseph was stripped of his family, any knowledge of his history and of his identity.

Starving not just physically, but emotionally, Joseph craved a loving family. A high-energy little boy, he felt imprisoned within the walls of the orphanage. One out-burst after another led to merciless beatings by the caregivers. At the age of 11, Joseph escaped the orphanage, hoping for freedom on the streets. This was short-lived, however, after he was caught stealing.  Having no birth registration or family history, Joseph was sent by police back to the very orphanage that abused him. Today, Joseph waits, with many others, to belong to a family.

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“Don’t block philanthropy; unleash it”: An open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron

An open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron from Dame Stephanie Shirley, Co-Founder of Ambassadors for Philanthropy (an Each Inc. partner organization)

Dear Prime Minister,

Philanthropists are often individualists, taking their own path of hard work and good fortune to create wealth and invest where they see the greatest opportunities and needs. But they are united by their desire to contribute their talents and resources to achieve a real impact for the better.

And to do that, they look for a framework of regulation and taxation that encourages philanthropy without legal delays or financial obstacles.

Thus we are deeply dismayed by the proposals from the UK government in its recent budget to enforce a restrictive cap on tax efficient giving.

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