COPE is pleased to announce that the recent schools-based fundraising initiative through GlobalGiving has been quite successful, thanks to the generous donations from supporters. Over $6,700 of the $7,500 goal has been raised, allowing preparations to get underway for the 2017 edition of COPE’s awareness-raising campaign “Not my crime, still my sentence”. The campaign, to be launched in June, will allow COPE to reach out to children of prisoners in schools across Europe, in an effort to ensure that these children receive the adequate, timely and meaningful support they need.

Thanks to donations through the online fundraising platform GlobalGiving, COPE’s campaign this year will focus on raising awareness in schools, among school staff but also directly among children impacted by parental imprisonment. The aim is to reach those children not yet in contact with COPE’s partner NGOs and therefore potentially missing out on the support they could need. COPE is currently working on child support packs, lesson modules and visuals for school staff. Eye-catching posters have already been designed, with the varying emotions of children with imprisoned parents in mind. They have been translated into eight languages and sent to COPE’s partners across Europe to be distributed in schools.

Many children with imprisoned parents do not know that there are people to whom they can turn for support. Reasons for this can be diverse: they do not know that these types of NGO exist; their non-imprisoned parent or caregiver is not aware of the support and so they are not encouraged to ask for it; they may not even see a need for support. These simple campaign visuals will increase COPE’s reach to children with imprisoned parents. We will be able to provide them with support in the form of resources, psychological and psychosocial help and, above all, a safe place to express their feelings.

The posters above aim to provide an easy way for children to contact COPE’s network members who are working in or near their schools and to show that they can talk to a school staff member they trust about their experiences. With the generous outpouring of support that has been received, COPE has been able to increase the number of multilingual posters provided to schools and broaden the reach in schools across Europe. Translations into other languages are underway, and QR codes have been added to the posters so that children who prefer to learn more online can connect right away.

Author: Hannah Lynn