10 STORIES - 10 STONES

This year Childhood celebrates its 20th year as a foundation. Read a few of the stories from Childhood's 20-year-old long dedication in helping children all over the world, meet some of the people behind the stories and hear their important voices.

The Story of our collaboration

Sophie knew from the very beginning of her career that she wanted to initiate a charity collaboration and so she contacted the World Childhood Foundation in 2007. The foundation was founded by Her Royal Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden in 1999. The goals of Childhood are that no child should be exposed to a violent or damaging environment, but instead have the opportunity to grow up with memories of a safe and loving childhood. In 2007 Sophie designed the Childhood bracelet with 10 precious stones, where each stone represents a paragraph in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Today the bracelet has become a collection and for each sold jewellery 10 % is donated to Childhood.

"We are so excited for Childhood who celebrates 20 years as a foundation this year. So many children they have helped and so many endless stories. We are proud to have been part of 10 of those years. Read some of Childhoods stories and get to know the people behind the missions."
Sophie Gyllenhammar Mattsson, Designer and Founder Sophie by Sophie

Childhood's 20-year history contains so many important moments, invaluable stories and people whose lives they have influenced. I am very proud to be involved and contribute to their important work.

Sophie Gyllenhammar Mattsson, Designer and founder

1. Lucinda Evans, Cape Town

From the beginning, Childhood has proactively looked for individuals and initiatives that can bring new ideas and methods for preventing violence against children. Passionate pioneers who, just like Childhood, are driven by a vision that all children have the right to a childhood free from violence and sexual abuse.

One such example is Lucinda Evans from Lavender Hill, a suburb of Cape Town where gang activity, rape and murder are commonplace. Lucinda lives in the middle of all this and is a driving force who has dedicated her life to fighting violence. She has opened up her home to protect women and children and confronted authorities as well as gang leaders. With many of years of support and mentoring from Childhood, Lucinda has been able to strengthen and scale up her operations.

2: Girl Zone, Sweden

The internet is often cited as a threatening place for children. But the internet also opens up possibilities for children and youth to talk about difficult things. Research shows that children feel more comfortable talking to adults about difficult issues when they can do it online. They can take their time and express themselves how they want, with words, symbols or emojis. Childhood realized early on that the internet and new technology can be used to reach children and youth who would otherwise be unable to seek help.

Childhood have been working for ten years with project partners who create digital safe spaces for difficult conversations. One of them is Tjejzonen (Girl Zone), whose focus is on improving mental health among girls. Through our support, they have developed and adapted their Storasyster (Big Sister) mentor model into an online model, making the programaccessible to girls all over Sweden.

3: LGBTQ, Ukraine

LGBTQ youth are more likely to be victims of violence and sexual abuse. Homophobia is widespread in many countries. Young people who do not feel safe being open about their sexual orientation often avoid seeking help or reporting crimes because of the risk of stigmatization and discrimination. Those who come out as LGBTQ risk being thrown out of their homes and are vulnerable to hate crimes both in school and in society. This is why Childhood actively supports initiatives in places like Ukraine to reach LGBTQ youth. Childhood's project partners work with school counselors and social workers to ensure that they can offer safe and non-discriminatory support for LGBTQ youth.

4 :A world without child abuse

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals established by the UN in 2015 represent the first time the entire world has set a goal to stop all forms of violence against children. The abuse of children is not an insurmountable problem – it is something we can prevent together. For Childhood, who have been addressing the issue for 20 years, this is an enormous step forward – meaningful action is being taken at the global level. Over time, the sexual abuse of children has gone from being an invisible, hushed-up and all-too-often denied problem to being something we recognize and collectively promise to stop. This is an ambitious goal. But it is not impossible.


5. Angkor Hospital, Cambodia

Generally, it is best for a child to grow up in their own family. But all over the world, hundreds of thousands of children live in orphanages, even though their parents are alive. The reason cited is most often poverty. Childhood works to ensure that children are not placed in orphanages unnecessarily and that this should only occur if other alternatives are tried first.

When children were abandoned at Angkor Hospital for Children in Cambodia, they were often sent straight to an orphanage without anyone trying to find out why the child was abandoned or the identity of the child’s family. But the hospital decided to develop a solution to deal with the often unnecessary separation of children and parents. With Childhood’s support, a social worker unit was established that offers support to children and parents who arrive at the hospital. In 2017, Angkor Hospital located the parents of 20 abandoned infants and reunited them with their families, who are also receiving long-term support.


“That just doesn’t happen to boys!”

6: First Step, Cambodia

Girls are the primary victims of sexual abuse but boys can also be vulnerable. Still, there is less open discussion about their abuse. But for boys to be willing to talk about what happened to them without shame or guilt and to seek help, it is important that we see them as a risk group for sexual abuse and make more of an effort to include them in public discussions about vulnerable children. This is an issue that Childhood has worked to address for a long time.

When Childhood's project partner First Step began discussing the abuse of boys – the first organization in Cambodia to do so – many did not take them seriously. “That just doesn’t happen to boys!” Now, with Childhood’s support, they have established themselves in Siem Reap and are slowly building a larger network of partners. In Germany, Childhood supports several organizations that work with boys who are at risk for abuse.


"We are very excited to have been part of Childhood's continous effords for the past 10 years and hope to continue with our collaboration many years to come."
- Sophie Gyllenhammar Mattsson, Founder and Designer

7: More support for children with disabilities

Childhood are often asked who is at risk of violence and sexual abuse. Sexual abuse and exploitation exists in every society, social class and culture. No child is immune, but some are more vulnerable. In general, offenders often seek out children who, for various reasons, are easier to abuse and where there is a smaller risk of being discovered – such as children with disabilities.

Childhood therefore actively works to increase safety for children with special needs. Together with three project partners in Cambodia, we provide rehabilitation, education and social support for children with disabilities. They also make sure that their parents, instead of feeling alone and isolated, meet other parents and exchange experiences with each other so that they are better prepared to protect their children.


8: Support for children who fall between the cracks.

Identifying and supporting groups of children and young people who, for various reasons, have fallen between the cracks and are not receiving the help they are entitled to is one of Childhood’s core issues. Vulnerable children without a supportive adult on their side can find it difficult to assert their rights in dealings with government agencies. Being that supportive adult was the goal for the Bureau for Children’s Rights when it was founded in 2013, with Childhood as its first funder.

The Bureau is Sweden’s first low-threshold service for the rights of children, offering legal and psychosocial support to children and young people. Three years ago, a government inquiry presented its report on making the Convention on the Rights of the Child part of Swedish law. This report mentions the Bureau for Children’s Rights as a practical role model for working with children’s rights and recommends its expansion to cover all of Sweden.


9: Truck companies, Brazil

In Brazil, nearly four of ten children live in poverty and uncertain social conditions. Many poor children live along highways, where they are sexually exploited in exchange for money, for example by truck drivers who have stopped to take a break. Childhood Brazil realized that it needed to cooperate with industry organizations to solve the problem together with the country’s companies and truck drivers.

After over ten years of persistent work, Childhood Brazil has reached a special agreement with companies that commit themselves to take an active stance against child prostitution at highway rest stops in Brazil. Since 2007, thousands of companies and more than a million truck drivers in Brazil have been educated in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children. Drivers who were previously part of the problem now have training in children’s rights and can instead be a positive force and protect children who end up along the highway.


10: Philani’s program, South Africa

Childhood’s focus is always on supporting vulnerable families because we know that caring adults close to the child offer the best protection against abuse. Early support for parents means long-term and sustainable protection for children – that is why Childhood have worked with different initiatives over the years to support and strengthen parents.

One example is Philani’s program for mothers in South Africa, where “mentor moms” are trained as a type of pediatric nurse, available for house calls. Another example in the same country is the parent training from Seven Passes, where participants are provided with tangible tools to help create the conditions for more loving, positive and consistent parenting. Through Childhood’s support, Philani’s operations have grown and a research project has shown a clear improvement in families that have gone through training from Seven Passes.


10 precious stones - 10 important conventions

Each of the 10 stones in the Childhood jewellery represents 10 paragraphs of the United Nations’ children’s rights convention.

Rose Quartz

Every child shall have the right to
protection from all forms of sexual
exploitation and abuse.

Carnelian

Every child shall have the right
to education.

Amethyst

Every child shall have the right to
freedom of expression.

Blue Chalcedon

Every child has the inherent right to life.

Lapiz Lazuli

In all actions concerning children,
the best interest of the child shall
be of primary consideration.

Yellow Agate

Every child shall have the right to benefit
from social security and safety.

Green Agate

Every child shall have the right to rest
and leisure and to engage in play and
recreational activities.

Red Agate

Every child victim shall have the right
to physical, psychological and social
rehabilitation, reintegration and
recovery in cases of neglect,
exploitation, abuse or inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment.

Cherry Chalcedony

States shall take all appropriate national,
bilateral and multilateral measures to
prevent the abducation of, the sale of
or traffic in children for any purpose
or in any form.

White Agate

Every child shall be protected from all
forms of physical or mental violence,
injury, abuse or exploitation.