This Saturday, 15th August, marks the celebration of the birthday of all the children in our care at our schools around the world. We call it ‘Every Child’s Birthday’.

When the poorest children come into our care so many of them have suffered the obvious deprivations of poverty. They are malnourished, affected by early years of neglect and abuse and as a consequence are under developed. But they also suffer in less obvious ways. They lack communication skills, have no confidence and have missed out on the luxuries of childhood; playing, making friends and celebrating the milestones that so many of us take for granted – like birthdays.

When we are able to fund school places for the poorest boys and girls most of them don’t know their birthday, many don’t even know their ages and so Every Child’s birthday is a chance for a worldwide celebration of the birthday of all the children at all our schools – that’s 20,000 boys and girls!

The children look forward to the day for months and with the support of our donors, the Sisters plan thoroughly to ensure every child can enjoy a celebration. It is a day free of lessons and the excited children wake early to make the most of the event. There are sports competitions and games. The children dance and put on shows for the Sisters and at the end of the day each child has the chance to celebrate with a school party, cake, candles and ice-cream. Most importantly they also receive a small, individually wrapped gift.

These gifts, funded by our generous donors, are not luxurious but will be essential items for play or for school, like shirts, socks or shoes. They are so modest by our standards but a source of unimagined joy for these children who have known so little in their lives.

This year, which has been such a challenge for us all, the day will be even more special. The kindness of our donors in supporting our children for the birthday will make the celebration even more memorable. It will help make memories for these children that will last them a lifetime.