Why Kids for Kids?
Darfur is the size of France but is one of the most isolated and least known regions of the world. Until 1916 it was a kingdom in its own right. It is landlocked in the centre of Africa and extends from the Sahara desert in the north to South Sudan in the south. Since 2003 the region has seen violence which has caused massive displacement causing a region already marginalised to become even more impoverished. By 2015, violence had escalated to a renewed exodus: destroying villages and further threatening families struggling to survive as subsistence farmers. The concentration of displaced people in vast camps has further depleted the productivity of land already impoverished by years of drought.
KIDS FOR KIDS was launched in Khartoum, Sudan on 8th March 2001, before the conflict erupted. It was started by Patricia Parker after a short, but life changing visit to Darfur with her son “To see how children were living”. “I still remember the shock at bouncing across the desert in a 4 x 4 and seeing the distant figure of a little boy. What was a 9 year old child doing alone in the middle of the desert? Although it was only March, the Spring of the year, drought was already taking a terrible toll. This small boy was walking seven hours to reach water, and then carrying it back to his family. This would be an intolerable burden for anyone, and is unacceptable for a child. There is water under Darfur, if only you an afford to drill for it. It was even worse, when you realise that the main aid agencies were there but were doing nothing about it. Someone had to.”
Since that first meeting Kids for Kids has adopted 81 villages and transformed the lives of over 364,000 people. Children who might never have survived are now at university. Families are staying together in their homes. Kids for Kids’ villages are growing. Youngsters are not being asked by their desperate mothers to leave home to find work so they can send funds home so their younger siblings will not starve. There is health care for both humans and animals in our villages, people are being given the means to improve their standard of living and in 2013 the first Kids for Kids’ Kindergarten opened its doors. Most important of all, there is clean water from new and repaired hand pumps. “Water is the key to life” says Patricia Patricia “we try to keep funds available because violence over the years has delayed many of our plans, but when there is security for a time we immediately commission more water projects.”
Patricia now works full time to raise awareness of the problems facing children in Sudan, and showing how their lives can be improved in simple yet effective ways. “I don’t believe in charity” she says “I believe in helping people to help themselves.” Patricia’s aim is to inspired people to help, not just in the UK but all over the world, to tell people how children are living in remote villages in Darfur, forgotten by the rest of the world. “Our motto is One Goat at a Time, and that means one pound at a time too! Every little helps when you have virtually nothing” says Patricia. “If we can tell people about the conditions in which children are being forced to live – and show the way to a solution – to everyone, from the highest in Government to the smallest child at school – then we will be able to transform people’s lives” she said “no one is too young to make a difference”.
- KIDS FOR KIDS’ approach of listening to the people and finding out what they say will have the most impact, and then training village leaders and committees to take control and to be answerable to their whole communities, ensures the sustainability of all project activities and demonstrates that it is possible to transform the lives of children, despite ongoing conflict, in one of the most remote regions of the world
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