There is very special news from Darfur. Yesterday I was sent 175 photographs from Azargarfa, the village almost destroyed by fire. This time people were smiling! Kids for Kids not only said we would help - beds for every family, blankets, cooking utensils, a pot for water ..... exactly the things the families so desperately needed - we have done it! Of all the aid agencies now in Darfur Kids for Kids is the only one to help, quickly and dramatically. People have a roof over their heads again, homes for their children, some way of cooking their food, a bed to sleep on. I find it immensely moving.
I still find it hard to believe that even the donkeys could not outrun the flames. Everything was destroyed in the fire. Now the basic have been replaced thanks to your generosity. Huts have been rebuilt. I have never seen a newly built hut in Darfur - people nurse their homes, patching and making do for years. Now in Azargarfa thatching has been replaced, fences built anew. This is an area where people can make bricks - water is not miles away. The walls of the huts, blackened by smoke, have been brushed as clean as possible. People can go back through their low doors, into the small round room, under the roof of millet stalks - back home.
And our goats are on their way. They have to walk from whichever market they have been bought at, and we have made sure these are good goats so that our Goat Loans can continue successfully to give milk to the children, and once again to provide mothers with an income. Life will start again in Azargarfa.
It is a damp grey Monday morning in Dorking, but my house is alive with colour!
17 incredible artists have given me over 250 paintings to display in my house and garden. Yes the house is no longer our home - it is a beautiful Art Gallery! If you have a chance to come and visit me here I will be 'at home' every day for the next 16 days from 10 a.m until 5 p.m welcoming people to see - and to buy - wonderful paintings.
I am stunned at the talent I have attracted. The Private View on Friday, was a wonderful party of supporters and new friends and we sold many pictures - but the next morning more and more pictures arrived for me to display. This is a changing Exhibition worth a visit every two or three days!
I was particularly proud of the comments from friends who came straight from the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in London who said "that was good - but these pictures we would like to hang in our own homes, and the prices and so cheap!"
If you would like to come to our Summer Lunch here on Thursday, give me a ring, and indeed if you would like to paint, perhaps for the first time, join me for the day on 21st! (Have a look at the Latest News page for details by the way.) I have always said one day, when Kids for Kids no longer needs me, I will go back to painting full time - but not yet, so this is a rare chance to see what I do too!
I am really proud of this wonderful Art Gallery - but I am not looking forward to turning it back into our home - it was an enormous job! Think of me!
Your response to my urgent appeal - something I have never done before - has enabled Kids for Kids to give immediately help to the homeless families in Azargarfa. NO OTHER AID AGENCY has responded to their desperate appeal. The villagers told me they took their photographs and went away.
Thanks to you we have given funds to every family who lost everything so they can have the basic essentials - most important of which is a jerry can for water. The Animal Loan Committee we trained has worked hard on our behalf to help each family. And now our goats will be in the village any day. They had a long walk but the families know they are coming.
I am more grateful than I can say to everyone who sent me such desperately needed funds.
You will know that I started Kids for Kids because of a little 9 year old's seven hour walk for water across the desert to a handpump. Wonderful, and touching, news from Sudan! ASHRAF is a new member of our voluntary committee in Khartoum. He told a friend why he is helping Kids for Kids - and YASIR MOHAMED SALIH HANTOUSH has donated a handpump in memory of his mother EHSAN who has sadly passed away, as a living memorial to a mother's love for her children.
Water running in the desert, close to children's homes, in a small village in Darfur ..... what more wonderful life giving gift can you give. A child's Walk for Water, becomes Water for Life.
KIDS FOR KIDS is committed to funding a minimum of 150,000, for each of the next three years, to help families stay in their villages. Many families which were already facing great hardship, are hosting people made homeless because of the conflict. CAPITAL INTERNATIONAL is the first to help these families. "I cannot thank the Trustees enough" said Patricia "This support means a great deal - please can you help us give more families a chance?"
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