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Foundation Spotlight: World Childhood Foundation

The World Childhood Foundation (WCF) is a non-profit organisation that supports children who are victims of abuse and sexual exploitation, street children, children in alternative care and families at risk in more than 100 programmes annually in 17 countries. Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden and 14 family foundations founded the World Childhood Foundation in 1999.

The World Childhood Foundation has a very clear mission: “Childhood’s mission is to defend the rights of the child and to promote better living conditions for vulnerable and exploited children at risk all over the world. We fight to give children the opportunity to develop into strong, secure and responsible human beings.”

Queen Silvia at the UN in April 2016 regarding evidence-based drug prevention for the well-being of children and youth. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Queen Silvia of Sweden and 14 family organisations founded the charity in 1999. Since that moment, Childhood has grown enormously. Now, 17 years later the charity has headquarters in four different countries: Sweden, Brazil, US and Germany. Childhood acts as a liaison between donors and community-based organisations. The foundation “identifies, reviews and supports existing projects, as well as, new initiatives and efforts that are aligned with the Childhood mission; to defend the rights of children and to promote better living conditions for vulnerable and exploited children at risk all over the world.”

Queen Silvia and Princess Sofia meet children’s rights organisations, including the World Childhood Foundation, at the Palace. Photo: H. Garlöv/Kungahuset.se

When asked what Queen Silvia’s role in the World Childhood Foundation was, she said: “My situation is a bit special. I want to be very careful with what I do. First, you should know what Childhood does; you should know that Childhood is working in a good way and in a proper manner. The money goes where it is needed, and so on. (…) The reputation and the brand are very important. I have to take care of it and be very, very strict. I hope that you understand that I am.”

Princess Madeleine speaking for the World Childhood Foundation’s 15th anniversary. (Photo: Kungahuset.se)

Queen Silvia is not the only member of the Swedish Royal Family who has very been involved with Childhood. Princess Madeleine started working for the WCF’s office in Stockholm when she was still studying in 2007. Since the autumn of 2010, Princess Madeleine worked at the World Childhood Foundation in the United States as a project manager. She helped with the coordination of humanitarian operations and projects, as activities to prevent trafficking and sexual exploitation of young girls, and helped to outreach activities to raise public awareness of these issues and fundraising work. 

Madeleine went on various field trips in the US, Europe and Latin America to visit the projects. When the Princess moved to London, she had to quit her job as the project manager in New York. However, she still regularly meets staff from the charity and visits gala dinners, workshops, etc. for the foundation. Furthermore, Princess Madeleine also launched different campaigns such as the “Thank You” campaign and “Eyes Wide Open”. She also recorded several video messages to start these campaigns and uses her Facebook page to promote these causes.

Queen Silvia has praised her youngest child for her dedicated work to the World Childhood Foundation in a recent interview with reporters in Munich.

Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill chose the World Childhood Foundation as one of the charities to support in celebration of their wedding in 2013 and the christenings of their daughter, Leonore in 2014 and son, Nicolas in 2015.

There are various ways to support the charity. One of them is to purchase the famous “Childhood bracelet”. Every bead on this bracelet represents one of the many articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. People can also donate via their website.

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