Five amazing individuals from around the world received 2016 World of Childrens on the evening of October 27th at our annual Awards Ceremony. Once again this year, we gathered over 400 guests at 583 Park Avenue in Manhattan for an evening of stories and celebration. We also presented two non-monetary Awards to Lily Aldridge and Stephanie March, in recognition of their incredible support for vulnerable children around the world.
Twelve years ago, Jimmy Drekore met a ten year-old girl at a hospital. She was abandoned at the hospital after she was brought in for treatment of injuries sustained in a car accident. She’d been living in the hospital, entirely alone, for seven years. Jimmy met other children just like this girl, with no one to love them or advocate for their medical care.
Determined to help, Jimmy called upon his community in Simbu Province, Papua New Guinea to help them and other children in need of medical care. Since the founding of Simbu Children Foundation, Jimmy and a network of volunteer fundraisers that spans Papua New Guinea and Australia have provided financial support and facility repairs to a local hospital, a power project for a local orphanage, travel expenses for many children to receive heart surgery in a larger city, and even funded research that successfully developed a new treatment for a painful bone disease suffered by many Papua New Guinean children.
Learn more about Jimmy at: http://worldofchildren.org/honoree/jimmy-drekore
Iyyappan Subramaniyan’s older brother was born with Down Syndrome. Growing up, this made Iyyappan especially sensitive to the challenges families of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities face, including severe social stigma. These challenges sometimes result in children with these disabilities being abandoned by their families and left to fend for themselves.
When he was just 21 years old, Iyyappan decided to do something to help these children. He founded Sri Arunodayam Charitable Trust to provide the first home in Tamil Nadu dedicated to caring for, protecting, and rehabilitating abandoned children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Fourteen years later, this well renowned state-certified reception facility is a model home that other institutions emulate. The children living at Sri Arunodayam receive food, shelter, clothing, medical care, developmentally appropriate education and rehabilitation programs. Most of all, they regain what they have lost – a home and a family.
Learn more about Iyyappan’s work: http://worldofchildren.org/honoree/iyyappan-subramaniyan/
Ponheary grew up in a family that emphasized the importance of education. When the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia they abolished education and killed many of the intellectuals and educators in Cambodia, including Ponheary’s father and thirteen of her family members. In the aftermath of the regime, Ponheary and her surviving family members worked hard to rebuild their lives. With only a 7th grade education, Ponheary became a teacher. It is during her teaching years that she began supporting students and extra programs at the schools where she worked.
Ponheary eventually formalized her support for children’s education through the Ponheary Ly Foundation, which is dedicated to holistically providing for children’s education and continuing to help the country rebuild and move past the long shadow still cast by the Khmer Rouge. She plans to use World of Children funding to provide access to primary school to thousands of children who live in remote Cambodian villages where there is no government support for education.
Learn more about Ponheary’s work at http://worldofchildren.org/honoree/ponheary-ly/
When she was just 13 years old, Claire Wineland was in a coma for three weeks following a “routine” surgery related to her cystic fibrosis (CF), an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system. Determined to do something for other children living with CF, Claire founded Claire’s Place Foundation shortly after her recovery from the coma. Claire’s Place Foundation provides grants to support children living with CF and their families and also connects these families to others facing similar issues. These programs ensure that previously isolated families facing CF build up a caring and compassionate network to support them through everything from medical issues to everyday life. Claire also wants to educate others about CF and engages in public speaking and media appearances to raise awareness of the disorder and the needs of children living with CF.
Learn more about Claire’s work at http://worldofchildren.org/honoree/claire-wineland/
Together with a group of women trained in mental health issues, Dušica Popadić worked in Belgrade as a counselor to survivors of sexual violence during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. She continued to provide support services to these survivors in the aftermath of the war.
Around this same time, she learned that child sexual assault, especially by family members, was a large and unaddressed issue in the country. She committed to providing psychological support services to these youngest victims and their supportive persons, as well as working towards large-scale change to protect all children. Through her work at Incest Trauma Center – Belgrade (ITC), Dušica helps to provide care and support to over 7,000 child survivors of sexual assault each year. She has also helped to educate thousands of adults in government offices, NGOS, and police departments, as well as thousands of children through school programs and successfully lobbied for the national Ministry of Education to adopt programming directly addressing the prevention of child sexual assault.
Learn more about Dušica’s work: http://worldofchildren.org/honoree/dusica-popadic/