The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone around the world in many different ways from devastating, life-changing events to more mundane impacts on our daily lives.
One way the world changed in 2020 was with the cancellation of almost every major event happening in every corner of the globe. When gathering together in person became impossible we all lost something incredibly important.
Hopeland Co-Founder, Deborra-lee Furness addressing the High-level meeting on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2019 – events like these haven’t been possible since the COVID-19 pandemic began
At the height of the pandemic emergency we all had higher priorities, for example nonprofits and NGOs like Hopeland had to focus on supporting those who needed help the most.
Nevertheless, gathering at major events can’t be overlooked – it is vital for us to do our best work that we form partnerships, share knowledge, and work together to make a better future for children.
One positive impact of the pandemic has been, as events come back, the ability for people to attend virtually from anywhere on the planet.
Recently, Hopeland’s Campaign Director, Andrew Stone, had the pleasure of being able to contribute to discussion at two major UN events virtually, even though both took place in Switzerland.
Firstly on September 16th Andrew attended the Day of General Discussion, a meeting of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which this year was on the subject of alternative care.
This is an important day for organizations from civil society and other NGOs to influence decision makers and most importantly hear from the children themselves impacted by the choices we all make.
Hopeland’s ‘Child With Kite’ art installation placed in the Lobby of the United Nations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2019
Secondly, just this week Andrew also attended the UN World Data Forum virtually from Bern, Switzerland.
Since the inaugural meeting in 2017 the UNWDF has been an important forum for finding practical solutions to the world’s problems and efforts to deliver on the UN’s 2030 goals.
Hopeland has always advocated for equitable data being the key to delivering these goals – see our campaign from 2016 ‘All Children Count’ which called on the UN to change the way they approach monitoring the SDGs and led to the UN Secretary General calling for an increase in funding to developing countries for statistical collection.
We cannot deliver the SDGs unless every child is recognized, supported and given the safe, loving family they need to thrive. There were a wide range of events including sessions on the response to COVID-19, creating progress for the world’s most marginalized children, and Andrew directly participated in a session on modern slavery on Hopeland’s behalf.
Tackling modern slavery and orphanage trafficking is a key part of delivering Hopeland’s mission and we will continue to work diligently on this subject.
The closing session of the forum included a speech from UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed who had an important message about the importance of delivering the 2030 goals and how robust data is vital to this aim. Hopeland supports this mission and is keen to work with anyone who can help deliver these goals!
On International Women’s Day, Hopeland was honored to be awarded the EPIQ Women’s Advocacy Award in recognition of our work to empower safe, loving families, and the women who play such an important role in them.
Hopeland is a proud recipient of the EPIQ Women’s Advocacy Award
The award ceremony took place as part of the New York City Bar Association’s International Law Conference on the Status of Women at the Bar Association’s Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. The event saw influential female speakers from around the world speaking on what there was to celebrate in the fight to defend and expand women’s rights but also highlighting what more needs to be done.
Hopeland’s CEO Nick Evans (center) with board members Raegan Moya-Jones (left) and Fiona Bassett (right)
Hopeland was delighted to be included amongst some incredible winners, from fighters for justice for Yazidi women to those making waves in the boardroom and the United Nations! We were moved by their stories of injustice, and inspired by their fight to change the world.
As part of the conference, Hopeland’s newest Board Member Fiona Bassett spoke about the gender economics separating women from their children and Hopeland’s work to tackle this. Fiona is a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank’s subsidiary DWS and is widely recognized for her leadership and innovation in the financial services industry receiving acclaim from American Banker, the Institute of International Finance, Mutual Fund Industry and Crain’s New York Business.
Addressing the room, Fiona said “Hopeland is seeking to effect change through policy, through advocacy, and through campaigns that focus on mobilizing a movement to support the most vulnerable to family separation, to deliver better futures to people, and drive long term equality and opportunity”.
Fiona Bassett addresses the NYC Bar Association on Hopeland’s work
Hopeland’s number one policy goal is to prevent family separation. This forum, which focused on the progress of women internationally, was a particularly significant one at which to discuss this issue because if we improve the lives of women worldwide we also can reduce family separation.
Extreme poverty is the major factor in causing family separation and the World Bank tells us it is one that affects women and girls disproportionately. For every 100 boys in extreme poverty there are 105 girls and, extraordinarily, in the key childbearing age cohort of 25-34 there are 122 women in extreme poverty for every 100 men.
Additionally, female-headed single parent families are more likely to be vulnerable to family separation – in Indonesia for example 75% of single-headed families are female-led and those families are three times more likely to live in poverty.
This fact and the high prevalence of family separation (up to 500,000 children are growing up apart from their families) is why Hopeland’s global work is currently focused on Indonesia.
Hopeland and our partners are developing a landmark intervention to evaluate the impact of community support and economic empowerment tools as a cost-effective solution to address the drivers of family separation, and improve the overall wellbeing of at-risk children and families, with a special focus on households living in poverty.
Fiona discussed this work at the conference and encouraged support for it. The initiative is incredibly important because it aims to support some of the most vulnerable families in Indonesia whilst also developing vital data to change the way the world cares for families vulnerable to separation. If successful our first of its kind project can disrupt a centuries old funding model that supports orphanages and other institutions.
For too long international development and philanthropic efforts have promoted efforts that too often hurt not help vulnerable children – Hopeland is working to change that and so we were proud to be involved in such an important event and to have the opportunity to spread the message of our work.
World Children’s Day marks the date in 1989 that the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child and this year’s celebration of the 30th anniversary was an incredible event with Hopeland featured prominently.
Hopeland’s Co-Founder Deborra-lee Furness speaking in the un General Assembly Hall marking World Children’s Day
Hopeland was delighted to be a part of the celebrations this year which saw UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors David Beckham and Millie Bobby Brown speak about the importance of Childs’ Rights and Hopeland’s inspiring Co-Founder Deborra-lee Furness introduce our friend Keala Settle who sang her anthem ‘This Is Me’.
As part of the event Hopeland unveiled a sculpture that is standing in the lobby of the UN General Assembly Hall – where tens of thousands of people can see it every day as they come to work at or visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The sculpture of Hopeland’s ‘Child With Kite’ logo was timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child because the images of families on the eight kites recognizes the many families that can provide a safe, loving home to vulnerable children around the world.
There are at least 25 million children globally separated from their families but many millions more who with the right support can care for these children. Hopeland works to support these children and mobilize the world’s families to take action.
The installation was created by local artist Jon Mulhern and the photographs were kindly provided by the renowned fashion photographer, Nigel Barker. Special thanks go to our friends at UNICEF and the countless families that support the work of Hopeland and children around the world.
Hopeland’s Co-Founders Deborra-lee Furness and Nicholas Evans also took the opportunity to catch-up with UNICEF’s Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, about Hopeland’s work with our friends at UNICEF.
It was an honor to be involved in such an important day which highlights the inspiration we can all take from the world’s children and how vital it is that we listen to them when making decisions that will impact children the most.
Hopeland is excited to announce that it has been working with Paramount Pictures to promote awareness of issues related to foster care, adoption, and reunification in the USA following the release of their new movie, Instant Family.
The movie is directed by Sean Anders and stars Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne and was inspired by the true story of Sean and his wife Beth’s journey of adopting three children and the trials and joys that came with it.
In conjunction with Paramount Pictures, Adoption Share, and MDC Productions, Hopeland hosted a screening of the movie in NYC followed by a Q&A with Sean and Beth Anders, Hopeland’s Co-Founders Deborra-lee Furness and Nick Evans, and Adoption Share’s Thea Ramirez.
As well as being a hilarious comedy the movie tackles difficult issues such as the trauma children experience as they move from foster home to foster home, the damaging effects that substance misuse has on families, the fear and rejection that children experience, and the difficult decisions courts have to make as they decide outcomes for children.
After the screening, Nick Evans said, “The movie powerfully tackles the subjects of foster care, reunification, adoption, parenthood, and what it means to be a family. I have not laughed and cried so much in a while!”
If you want to learn more about the making of the movie you can watch a featurette about Instant Family here:
Hopeland’s 2018 Gala was a beautiful, and powerful, event bringing together some of NYC’s biggest hitters to hear how Hopeland is finding better ways to keep children in families while enjoying performances from Ari Afsar and Keala Settle.
The room was packed in spite of one of the earliest snowstorms in New York City’s history that brought six inches of snow and many downed trees.
The crowd heard from Dr Bertice Berry, the host for the evening, who’s powerful story of how she adopted her sister’s children to prevent them from ending up in the foster care system moved us all. This was of course not an easy task for her but she told the gala, “We have the power to make a difference in a child’s life – that’s why we’re here tonight.”
The first musical performance of the evening was from the up and coming artist Ari Afsar who is best known for playing Eliza Schuyler in the hit musical Hamilton. She performed ‘Dear Theodosia’ which was particularly apt for the evening as it is a song in which Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr speak to their children about their hopes for the future. The lyrics “If we lay a strong enough foundation, We’ll pass it on to you, We’ll give the world to you, And you’ll blow us all away”, speak perfectly to how children, with the support of a safe, loving family will thrive and do incredible things. This is exactly why Hopeland works to ensure every child has the support they need.
“Just because you didn’t cause the problem, doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the solution.” Hopeland’s CEO and Co-Founder, Nick Evans, used this call to action to rally those in the room to support our cause – based on donations on the night the call was heeded. Nick ran through Hopeland’s achievements in 2018 – read more here – and it is already looking like a great 2019 for Hopeland thanks to our many generous family members.
“Hopeland is about making sure every kid has someone that is fighting for them” were the words of Hugh Jackman as he introduced the star of the evening, The Greatest Showman’s Keala Settle. Keala spoke about what Hopeland means to her and then sang Mariah Carey’s ‘Hero’ and of course ‘This Is Me’ – the inspirational hit of 2018.
Keala’s incredible voice got the whole room on their feet and sent Hopeland’s supporters home with Dr. Berry’s mantra in their ears: “when you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny”. We all came together with the purpose of keeping children in families and thanks to our collision at the gala we have a stronger Hopeland family for 2019.
What happens when you’re unafraid and willing to lift the voices of vulnerable children around the world? Well, add some passion, charm, and a genuine desire to ensure that children have safe loving families, as well as a few secret ingredients and you have our Co-Founder: Deborra-lee Furness, who was honored earlier this week at the 2018 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards.
The ‘Disruptor Awards’ honor those who are unafraid to go against the grain to fight for the causes they believe in. This year’s honorees included 11-year old March for Our Lives activist, Naomi Wadler, influential music journalist and late night TV drummer, Questlove renowned HBO Documentary film director and female activist, Sheila Nevins and our very own Deborra-lee.
“There are 157 million orphans in the world and of these numbers 80% have at least one living parent. We’re going to the root of the cause and getting creative with solutions that will derail negative trajectories.” she said as she walked to the stage to accept her award – a bright red hammer, meant to symbolize the unabashed confidence each of the disruptors exhibit when standing for their causes.
“We are working on prevention, reunification, and mobilization because we believe every single child deserves to belong in a loving family and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.” she continued.
You can also watch this video of Deborra-lee on the red carpet after accepting her award. She jokes: “I used to be disruptive as a child, I got detention, and now they’re giving awards for it!”, but we all know that she really deserves this award and are so proud of her and her amazing work!
You can find more about the Disruptor Awards here.