Christian Children’s Fund

The second Sino-Japanese War began in Asia in 1937, as Japan once again invaded China , displacing millions of families and children. Meanwhile, the founder of the Christian Children’s Fund, J. Calvitt Clarke, a Presbyterian minister, was determined to spend his life helping children in need. Aware of the plight of children in China , Dr. Clarke successfully set up the Christian’s Children Fund, and it was chartered in Virginia by the fall of 1938.  He was determined to help children in China affected by the war, many of whom had become orphaned and displaced. Christian Children’s Fund was among twelve international children’s organizations that joined together in June, 2002 under the charter and banner of ChildFund International. ChildFund International is a global voice for children. ChildFund addresses issues facing children including the HIV/AIDS pandemic, escalating child poverty, ongoing regional conflicts and major natural disasters.

Christian Children’s Fund supports its programs in various ways. Donations can be given to Christian Children’s Fund in the form a general donation or gifts to specific funds. Gift categories include farm animals, nutrition, healthy environments, early childhood development, skills training, education, children helping children, medical care, and clean water funds. Christian Children’s Fund is sponsored by many organizations, both secular and religious. While Christian Children’s Fund has a religious origin, the organization does not limit services to Christians, and most donations are made from secular organizations. Over the past few years Christian Children’s Fund has moved toward pursing more federal and local grants to support their programs.

Christian Children’s Fund concentrates on child-focused development within the context of alleviating child poverty, vulnerability, and deprivation. The organization features six core programs to reach these ends, including early childhood development, education, sustainable livelihoods, health and sanitation, nutrition, emergency and disaster relief.

The early childhood development program includes toy libraries, tracking health, guide mothers, and preschool programs. Through toy libraries, Christian Children ‘s Fund constructs spaces in schools or other community facilities where children can play with age-appropriate toys and games. This is a valuable developmental tool for children because many do not have toys at home. Toy libraries encourage children to interact with their peers, community members, and organization staff members. Since Christian early health care is essential to the development of children, Children ‘s Fund also tracks children’s health through home visits to ensure that children are immunized and that a record of immunization is kept. The organization also ensures that general health care is provided to children starting at an early age. Developmental delays and problems are identified at an early stage and appropriate treatments are sought. The Guide Mothers program assists mothers who are worried about the health of their babies. This program ensures that mothers receive information on safe motherhood and best child rearing practices. Finally preschool programs help develop the learning skills of children from a young age so they will be better prepared for primary education at school.

Christian Children ‘s Fund’s education program works in a variety of ways. In order to give children every opportunity to excel in school, Children’s fund programs include primary education activities to help children prepare for formal education. Education for girls is a key aspect of Christian Children ‘s Fund educational programs. Educational programs help girls learn to read, learn a trade, and learn to make decisions for themselves. In addition, Christian Children ‘s Fund staff members raise community awareness about the importance of educating girls. And staff advocate on behalf of girls to prevent arranged marriages that take girls out of school at an early age. Literacy programs include mobile libraries and after-school reading programs.

Christian Children ‘s Fund takes a three-tiered approach to fiscal development. Business development services include a range of activities that help vulnerable families increase their income through improved business practices and the acquisition of new and refined vocational or technical skills. These activities allow them to engage in a family-based income producing activity like livestock farming and agricultural production. Financial services for disadvantaged families include assistance with financial education, setting up savings accounts, and obtaining low-rate loans to expand their economic activity. Lastly, Christian Children ‘s Fund provides employment preparation through apprenticeships and vocational training.

Christian Children ‘s Fund promotes health and sanitation in four ways. Working with health providers, the organization strives to protect children and communities from malaria and tuberculosis. Christian Children ‘s Fund also uses a seven- point strategy for HIV/AIDS awareness and education. Water programs help families access safe water to protect against childhood diseases and to manage water resources efficiently. Community-based approaches are taken in order to educate people about acute respiratory infection, prenatal care, immunization, and reproductive planning. Maternal Health programs, including the Grannies Program and the Safe Motherhood Program, ensure that children receive proper care from the beginning stages of life.

Christian Children’s Fund takes a three dimensional approach to nutrition. Nutrition education , teaching people the best foods to use from readily available sources, is a major focus of the organization’s nutrition program. These programs are designed to address lasting solutions to reduce malnutrition and improve children’s lives. Christian Children’s Fund also focuses on improving agriculture, providing income-generation activities, encouraging natural resources management and creation of related infrastructure .

Finally, Christian Children’s Fund focuses on meeting the emergency needs of children worldwide. The organization has been working in northern Afghanistan to help rebuild schools and wells, provide vocational training, literacy training, and other programs. Christian Children’s Fund continues to work with children in Angola  — one of the first countries where the organization implemented its psychosocial program — helping children heal from the wounds of war. After working with Liberian refugees in Sierra Leone , Christian Children’s Fund expanded its assistance by running Interim Care Centers in Liberia for children and youth under 18. Civil conflict in northern Uganda has resulted in increased abductions of children, school closings and a huge increase of Internally Displaced Persons. Christian Children’s Fund has implemented a number of programs to help the victims of this conflict.

Christian Children’s Fund
2821 Emerywood Parkway
Richmond VA 23294
1-800-776-6767 (if calling from the USA )
804-756-2700 (if calling internationally)

Profile prepared by Kristen Smith
November, 2007