By Muriel Cooper
THE LITTLE GIRL opened her money-box and counted her savings. They came to thirty pennies. She sent them in with a letter: "Now you will be able to feed lots of hungry children".
THE OLD AGE PEN. SIONER came in person. Out of her apron pocket she produced all she could afford-2s. 6d.
But their gifts were just as much welcomed as the big cheques that sometimes come through the post to the headquarters of the "Save the Children" Fund.
Just forty years ago, its founder, Miss Eglantyne Jebb, drew up " The Declaration of the Rights of the Child ". Two years later it was accepted by the Assembly of the League of Nations. Finally it was incorporated in the now famous Declaration of Geneva.
In the official language of the Declaration: I. " THE CHILD must be protected beyond and above all considerations of race, nationality or creed."
11. "THE CHILD must be cared for with due respect for the family as an entity."
!IL "THE CHILD that is hungry must be fed; the child that is sick must be nursed—the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succoured."
IV. "THE CHILD must be the first to receive relief in times of distress."
V. "THE CHILD must enjoy the full benefits provided by social welfare and security schemes."
Here then lies a pathetic part of the problem that confronts humanity today—a problem that would seem well-nigh hopeless in Its world-wide tragedy. But as Pdre Foucauld says so simply, Jesus est le Maitre de Pimpossible.
Much has been accomplished. I Generous help has been given. Sympathisers in every walk of life have contributed financially, often far beyond their means.
From the beginning the Catholic Church has played an exemplary part in work for the suffering childhood of a war-scarred world. On one memorable occasion, Pope Benedict XV received the Founder of the "Save the Children Fund ", in private audience at the Vatican Palace.
He listened intently to the story of Europe's suffering children. He called his advisers; he gave generously in support of the Fund. Moreover he made history by issuing an Encyclical letter commending the work of the Society --the first non-Catholic organization ever to be so honoured. As he rose to say good-bye to Miss Jebb, with tears in his eyes he said, "Having put your hand to the plough—do not turn back ". And she never did.
Yet a vast expanse of the refugee problem remains to be solved. Thousands of children are still being born in squalor, to live and die in abject poverty. In Austria, Hungary and Greece millions of boys and girls, caught up in the destructive machinery of war. are still separated from their parents —the victims of world-wide chaos.
Bewildered, ill and crippled, many die uncared for, often from sheer starvation. One twoyear-old orphan was rescued by the S.C. Fund, when discovered lying on the floor; abandoned because when a child is known to be dying his rations are cut off to be given to the living.
A supreme effort is clearly imperative to sustain the interest. the generosity needed to alleviate the sufferings of millions of God's Children, The philanthropists of today must recapture the Vision, the faith and hope, that is so sorely needed to stem the tide of misery, to heal the heartache of the world.
(Save the Children Fund, 12 Upper Belgrave Street, S.W.1.)