Dr. Belinda Bennet shares her first impressions of CCFC
Interview by Lipi Jobson, communications manager, India
Our dream at Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is to create a future of hope for children, families and communities. It’s a goal Dr. Belinda Bennet is already reaching for in her new role as country director in India.
The values-based, passionate leader, with 30 years of experience in international development — specifically child rights, excluded communities and women’s rights — sat down to tell us her first impressions of our work in her home country. Here she shares her feedback and hopes for the future of vulnerable children in India.
Lipi Jobson: How are you feeling about CCFC’s mission following your first visit to our program areas in India?
Dr. Belinda Bennet: I believe there is great need to work with children. That mission was very much validated by comments I received in the communities — stories from empowered community members acting as agents of change by securing safe drinking water, among other victories. The poor deserve the best. I believe that. And not because they are poor, but because they are in greatest need. That is the mission of CCFC.
LJ: What did you learn about CCFC and our work?
BB: Our staff bring great passion to their work. They believe change is possible. That is the mark of CCFC that I see everywhere. Partners we work with are leading this from the frontline — living among these communities. They’re making impact; the need of the community is clear to them…. [They’re] developing strategies along with the community and developing structures that create more accountability. And, I have seen community members and leaders who are leading this change process without support from partners. That’s a great achievement.
LJ: At first glance, what do you see as our areas of strength?
BB: We are working with the most excluded communities of this region. That is something I’m very proud to see.
LJ: Conversely, what are some areas you’d like to improve?
BB: I bring with me experiences of working with the private sector, and there is a great space there for us to influence as well as be influenced to improve the rights of children, so they can realize their full potential. Of course, we have to see whether they are aligned with our values and vision, but there are many organizations willing to work with CCFC who have experience working with [vulnerable] societies.
LJ: What surprised you most about your visit to CCFC program areas?
BB: Visiting Tamil Nadu. I had wondered whether there were indeed any more unreached communities in Tamil Nadu. But I was convinced. We are working with the most excluded communities of these regions. I’m very happy we’re meeting that need.
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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works globally to support children and youth who dream of a better world. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together diverse people and partnerships, driven by a common belief: education extends beyond the walls of a classroom and is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. We focus on breaking barriers preventing access to inclusive, quality education for all, especially girls.