Royal Palace, Stockholm
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Dear Childhood family!
Dear Co-founders, board members, major partners
Dear Chairmen, present and past
Dear Secretary General
All of you who helped to build World Childhood Foundation!
Several of you were with me from the very beginning, and I am deeply pleased to see that you are still with me today.
Fifteen years ago I had a vision, a dream to reach out to the world’s most vulnerable children. To give them a real childhood. I had seen them during my travels, I had met them in the poorest corners of the world, and I had seen shocking statistics on the sexual abuse of millions of children around the world.
I knew that there was a need, an urgent need, but I had not a detailed agenda on how to reach out and organize my vision.
Today I am proud and happy to say that we together have built a solid structure. We are a recognized organization working intensively in identifying best practices and supporting projects in 16 countries around the world. Together we are able prevent hundreds and thousands of children from being sexually abused and exploited.
Over the past fifteen years we have achieved more than I ever dreamed possible and I am incredibly proud of the work that we all do. And we have seen today in our meeting that we are making a significant difference.
In Brazil the truck drivers program has reached thousands and thousands of children and the child prostitution along the truck routes has decreased. Brazil has also made an impact in regards to child advocacy centers, and thanks to Anamaria Drummond’s diligent work this model is now being replicated and practiced in Brazil.
In the US, through the hard work of Charlotte Brandin and her team we are reaching children in five states. In particular we have reached hundreds of teenage mothers and their children as well as children who have been abused and need treatment and rehabilitation.
In Germany Susanne Labonde is instrumental in lifting Childhood as a recognized brand and the recent Lindau meeting where students were given the opportunity to support Childhood was an excellent example of the reach we are achieving in Germany.
And finally, in Sweden the international project portfolio is our pride where the more than 100 supported projects serve to help children in 16 countries. In the past 15 years we have risen from a small organization wanting to do good to an internationally recognized, strategic organization whose support is highly appreciated – not only for the monetary support, but especially for the expertise the project department brings.
I could mention many models and methods where Childhood has managed to lift the support to extraordinary heights, such as Half the Sky Foundation who have established a method for children living in institutions in China – Children who now have a ‘mother’ and are being loved and cared for. The model has been so successful that it has been adopted by the Chinese state.
Or the Mama+ program in Russia which ensures that children born to HIV positive mothers can stay within their biological family, go to school and daycare and not be stigmatized by society. A model so successful that it now exists also in Ukraine, Vietnam and Cambodia.
But I will stop here and simply applaud all of you, here tonight, who have made this possible. In particular I would like to thank those who from the beginning has tirelessly worked for Childhood every day and ensured that the organization runs smoothly.
It takes so little effort to help a child. And we can all make a difference. Sometimes it is enough to just listen to a child who needs to talk, or extend a hand to someone who needs support. One adult’s attention could be the whole difference for a child at risk.
If everyone in the world helped one child – what a difference we could make! We wanted to spread this message in an engaging way, and through the leadership of Princess Madeleine, the Thank You Campaign was created where we lift the importance of a loving childhood and what a difference we all can make. Through the campaign I hope that we will be able to raise enough awareness to make an even larger impact!
Let us continue to pool our efforts and secure every child’s right to a childhood.
I look forward to another 15 years!