Cradle is an Irish non-governmental organisation that looks after children in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Kosova, Moldova, Cambodia and Thailand. It was established in 1992 in response to the atrocities of the war in Bosnia & Herzegovina and later went on to incorporate Albania, Kosovo, Thailand, Moldova and Cambodia into their humanitarian efforts.
Cradle’s main aim is setting up and developing children based support programs. This includes support of schools, health centers, orphanages etc in order to ensure the welfare, education and development of the people caught up in situations that are out of their control.
Cradle is primarily funded through donations and profits from fundraising events and has been grant-aided by the government in the past.
Cradle prides itself on helping people to help themselves, in other words it encourages people to become self-sufficient. They operate a managed exit strategy, training local personnel to take over the ongoing running of the projects after a specified period.
The following are some of Cradle’s projects:
- Supplied over 1000 tons of aid for children in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania, to the value of over 12 million euro.
- Medivac Program - this program is responsible for the transport of children and adults to Ireland for urgent lifesaving medical treatment.
- In co-operation with the EU rebuilt a school for 700 children in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Set up a new emergency ambulance service in the Shkodra region of northern Albania
- Rebuilt and equipped a maternity unit at the main hospital in Shkodra, northern Albania which included providing incubators to the hospital.
- Built seven houses for homeless families in the town of Shkodra in Albania, sponsored by Mr. Vince Power and the Mean Fiddler Music Group Plc.
- Rebuilt a dormitory for 190 girls between 15 and 18 years of age, in Shkodra, northern Albania. Before Cradle took on this project, the EU monitors described it as one of the worst examples of living conditions they had seen in Europe.
- Re-established a handball Club Lokomotiva in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Lokomotiva Handball club is not only a sports club for girls but it is a vital tool for community development and social inclusion in an otherwise divided city. Handball being a team game, is crucially important for promoting equality and mutual respect for all nationalities and minority ethnic groups
- In response to the Tsunami disaster, Cradle decided to bring their well established projects to the areas affected most in Southeast Asia. Cradle has established an office in the Province of Phang-Nga north of Phuket in Thailand, where they have local representatives working to implement Cradle’s emergency aid programs. They have established their family support program which provides aid to selected families on a regular basis.
- The Children’s Violin Project (Mostar): This project began in 1996 to help ten severely traumatised children work through their feelings through music. The school has now expanded to cater for over 50 children. They perform every year in front of a live audience in the local music centre and some of the children have even achieved high enough standards to go on to attend music school.
- Medical Program: This program provides medical assistance to children in the Mostar region. Cradle has been supplying 100’s of tons of aid to hospitals in Mostar which has been generously donated to them by hospitals and health centers in both the UK and Ireland.
- The Art workshop: This workshop was set up to bring children from all ethnic groups throughout the city together and to teach them basic art elements, to free their imagination and to teach them how to be spontaneous and express their feelings through art. The project caters for a group of students between the ages of 4 to 14 years and is held outside of school hours. Additional to the Art Workshop, Cradle also holds an Open Art Workshop in the summer months. This project is particularly important for those children whose parents cannot afford to pay for other extracurricular activities, it takes children off the streets and enables them to spend time in a safe and friendly environment where they have the freedom to create, relax, play and learn.
- Built two new schools in the Phang-nga province in Thailand, supported by the Festival Republic: Ban Bang Muang and Pakklong schools catering for 130 children each. Also they have rebuilt and supported Thahan, Kapong, Ban Pak Weep and Ban Bang Thong schools.
- Cradle is currently fundraising with a view to building two new schools in Cambodia: Krola School is located 15 minutes drive from Kampong Cham City, in the Phnom Penh direction. At present, Krola School caters for 305 students and the students study in grade one to six which means this school is a Primary school. In Krola there are at the moment one old building made out of wood that is more or less attacked by white ants (termites). The white ants eat the wood and sooner or later the roof will fall in. There is also one other building that luckily is made out of concrete and this building is in much better condition. At Krola they also have a teachers office located in a separate little house on the school yard. Krola School is asking for a new 5-room building which would hold 4 class rooms and also hold a library. At Krola they have morning classes as well as afternoon classes as they don’t have enough space to have all the students in the morning, as is the norm otherwise in Cambodia.
- Pung-Ror School (Cambodia). Pung-ror school is located around 30 minutes drive from Kampong Cham towards the Vietnamese border. Pung-Ror school has 225 students. The school is mixed and has both elementary students and Junior high or students studying on secondary level. At the school yard there are 3 buildings. The newest one is made of Concrete and that’s where they have some classrooms and also the teachers’ office. This building is not very old and it’s the only one that is in decent condition. The second building is also a concrete building but slightly older. This building is OK. The last one has 5 classrooms and is in very bad condition. The wood is being eaten by white ants and walls and roof might fall any day. The floor is just packed soil and there is no electricity at all in this building.
Cradle’s new and ongoing projects for 2012/13 are:
- Continuous support for Lokomotiva Handball Club for girls in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina
- Establishing Dental Health for Kids Project in Cambodian.
- Building two schools in Cambodia
- Refurbishment of Thahan School, Thailand.
Since its inception Cradle has been supported by the international music business. Their main benefactors since 1994 are Festival Republic Music Company, through their festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Hop Farm Festival and London Feis and Mr. Vince Power, formerly of the Mean Fiddler Music group. In the past they have been actively supported by Hothouse Flowers, Shane McGowan and Pogues, Nick Cave and U2. In 1994 they received proceeds from U2’s single Miss Sarajevo, which was re-released this year and they received proceeds from it again. It has been acknowledged on U2’s fan website that Cradle received U2’s support and also on U2’s most recent album. Recently they also have been supported by Aslan and Jack L.
All funds raised by the “Cradle Cycling Tour of Ireland 2012” will be used to support these projects. The organisers of the Cycle will be involved in the management of the building projects and as such can guarantee that all funds raised are used for the intended purpose.