Who we are
Children Are the Future (CAF) is a European non-profit organization that was built- and has evolved- around an ideal shared by its volunteers: that children and young adults, when given the opportunity to enjoy their rights and reach their full potential, can play a crucial role in putting an end to the negative spiral of poverty affecting so many communities.
By addressing obstacles to the welfare and education of children and young adults in poor communities in India and Cambodia, CAF volunteers and partners aim at making a modest but concrete contribution to the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals set by the United Nations in order to eradicate poverty, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015, notably, “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”, “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”; “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”; or “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.
CAF has been supporting local development projects for the benefit of children and young adults in Tamil Nadu, South India, since 2000. Since 2015, CAF is also providing its support to projects in Cambodia (Siem Reap and Phnom Penh).
CAF aims at creating “people-to-people” solidarity partnerships in support of concrete projects addressing the welfare and educational needs of children and young adults in impoverished communities, using tailored-made programmes which take into account the specific circumstances of the target beneficiaries. Projects are designed and implemented with local partners with extensive experience in work with children in need in the field, and who share the same vision as CAF.
Education is at the very core of our strategy. Too many children never get the opportunity to complete their education. In many cases, poor families depend upon the income from their children’s labour for the family’s subsistence. Without schooling, these children cannot break the vicious circle of poverty.
Children are the Future is a volunteer-based organization with headquarters in Brussels. Its members are volunteers from all corners of Europe and very different personal and professional backgrounds. All members offer their time, expertise and enthusiasm for free in exchange for realizing an ideal and experiencing how small contributions can bring big changes in people’s lives.
One of our most valuable assets is our solid partnership with local organisations. Over the years, CAF has managed to build trust-based relationships with its partners, in complete transparency, tapping on each other’s experiences and competences and with a common work methodology.
We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with all our local partners in order to ensure that their vision, mission and approach match ours.
CAF collaborates with several local partners based in Tamil Nadu, whose outstanding work in the field has been directly witnessed by our volunteers.
They are fully involved in work with various local impoverished communities, in areas such as human rights, health, education, the establishment of Self-Help Groups (SHGs), rural development projects, etc.
THE IRDRP TRUST – SOUTH CHENNAI
For the past 25 years, the IRDRP (Institute for Research and Development for the Rural Poor Trust) has been dedicated to empowering the people living in the villages and working in the stone quarries around Chennai through socio-economic and educational development projects. This NGO helps vulnerable communities, especially women and children, to have access to basic facilities and health services, education, income-generating activities and legal support.
THE CHILDREN EMPOWERMENT TRUST (CET) – CUDDALORE
The Children Empowerment Trust (CET) is located in the district of Cuddalore, 40km south of Pondichéry. This NGO, led by an experienced Indian catholic sister, runs a small home for children. The children are designated by the District Welfare Committee of Cuddalore due to their difficult situation. In this home, these children do not only receive care and education but, most importantly, they live in a family environment. All of these children are sponsored through CAF.
SMILE TRUST was created in 2013 in the seaside town of Cuddalore. This NGO is dedicated to the protection and development of disadvantaged children and women in order to offer them a better future. This is done through different types of work: running a children’s home to provide care and support to orphan and forsaken children, developing community-based activities such as coaching centres to help disadvantaged children in their studies or provide otherwise guidance and support to disadvantaged women and children.
Following two field visits to Cambodia, CAF started to work in 2015 with two local partners in this country: CABDICO and Le Restaurant des Enfants (LRDE). From 2015 to 2019, CAF worked in partnership with CABDICO (a well-established Cambodian NGO supporting people with disabilities) on several Family Micro-Business projects, including the purchase of tuk-tuks to transport passengers for several families of men with a disability in order to allow them to earn better their living by offering their services to tourists in Siem Reap and thereby provide themselves for a better future for their children. CAF counts now with the help of a former member of the staff of CABDICO to support specific projects for the higher education of girls with a disability or with a family with a disabled member in Siem Reap.
LRDE (Le Restaurant des Enfants) is an NGO based in Cambodia which was founded only in 2010 but which is managed by personnel, including its Director, a former teacher, with a long-time experience in helping children in impoverished communities in the country. Most of the staff in LRDE have the first-hand experience on child sponsoring having been sponsored children themselves.
The Restaurant was created with the initial objective of providing a daily meal to street children in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. But the Restaurant offers much more than a meal to children trying to earn a living in the streets of Phnom Penh. This space offers these children also hygiene, health care, support for their education, play and rest time, attention, and all of this in a “family-like” atmosphere. LRDE takes into consideration the family or other reality of the children. LRDE promotes the education of these children by providing food every month to the child’s family to cover for the income that the child would obtain from working in the streets of Phnom Penh if he/she was not attending school.
In 2015, CAF started to work with LRDE under the Child Sponsoring Programme. The sponsorship allows supporting both children basic needs and education, as well as vocational training for young adults that are not able to finish school. In 2018, CAF started to support families of sponsored children that were most in need to start a small business through our Family Micro-Business project. CAF also works with LRDE thanks to the WELED Fund in providing extra help to sponsored children as needed, for example through extra-classes to help them improve their performance at school or English courses.