Save the Children to link donors with disadvantaged
LONDON - Save the Children is using the internet to get supporters involved with a slum community in Sierra Leone as part of its new global campaign, which aims to recruit 10m donors over three years.
The charity has created an interactive website for the campaign that will directly connect internet users with children living in Kroo Bay -- a slum in Sierra Leone built on a rubbish dump on the banks of the filthy 'Crocodile River', where one in four children die before their fifth birthday.
The project is a high-tech evolution of the developing world charities' traditional method of getting donors to sponsor a child or person. This normally involves the one-to-one exchange of letters and photographs.
Users can ask the residents of Kroo Bay questions to find out what life is like living in the slum and also navigate around 360-degree images of the area. Users will have access to the latest news through regular "webisodes".
The charity aims to show that by making a small donation, people can make a difference and as the months go by, the public will be able to watch the changes that their support has made for the residents of Kroo Bay.
A reported 10m children die needlessly each year, according to Save the Children. Therefore, the charity is aiming to encourage 10m people around the world to pledge their support by 2010 to prevent these children dying.
People can join the campaign by signing the charity's global petition, which is demanding world leaders play their part in saving children's lives.
Alternatively individuals can text "Nut" to 81819 for £1.50 and Save the Children will deliver one day's supply of micronutrient peanut butter to protect a child from malnutrition. Another option is to text "Net" to 81819 for £5, which will give a mosquito net to a child at risk of malaria.
Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children, said: "Technology allows families to engage with Save the Children in a completely new way and make a difference easily and directly, as part of their everyday lives.
"We know millions want to make a difference. From today, they can do something about it - they can help save a child's life."
The campaign is being backed by a range of high profile supporters, including TV presenter Davina McCall, Amanda Mealing, David and Carrie Grant, Fran Healy and the cast of the theatre show 'Afrika! Afrika!'.
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said: "It is crucial the world gets on track -- there's no clearer indicator of progress than keeping children alive."
Save the Children will be campaigning globally, which will include activity in India, the US and Sierra Leone in the first year.
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