8 million children in Sudan in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in 2022

A recent report by the World Health Organisation warns that 8 million children in Sudan will need urgent help this year.   “Children are already hungry every day” says Patricia Parker OBE, Founder of Kids for Kids.   “Families need help, and fast.”

World Food Programme (WFP) has announced it is targeting an estimated 900,000 beneficiaries (349,000 children) through integrated food and cash assistance across South Darfur, East Darfur and South Kordofan states. But these figures fall far short of those in need.

There is no mention of remote communities, where Kids for Kids concentrates its help, where numbers are increasing every day. There is unfortunately a staggering shortfall in aid available.

Once again, this is a stark reminder of just how much Kids for Kids is needed and just how much difference your help makes, not only now but also for future generations.

Could you Donate to the Greatest Need and help us provide help that is so desperately needed please?   And please tell as many people as you can.   We cannot do this alone.

 

World Vision – Full article – Originally published 23 Jan 2022

14.4 million people across Sudan -1 in 3 people- will need humanitarian assistance in 2022, an increase of nearly a million people when compared to 2021, humanitarian partners estimate. Children, account for 55 per cent (7.8 million) of the humanitarian needs caseload- according to the 2022 Sudan Humanitarian Needs Overview.

An estimated 9.8 million of the people in need, have been assessed as acutely food insecure and will require food assistance. ……….Malnutrition remains a real threat, especially for vulnerable children under five years old. At least 4 million people (nearly 80 per cent of them children below five years) will need nutrition support and this includes life-saving therapeutic care to avert exposure to risks such as malnutrition. A combination of factors, including: inter-communal clashes and floods in 2021 that drove people out of their homes, and inflation which reduced people’s purchasing power, further deepening food insecurity in households are contributing to driving malnutrition risks. In addition, 4.2 million children are estimated to be out of school- due to the effects of different shocks and hazards on the educational system, while 3.2 million children will need protection assistance.

Localised conflict, ongoing economic crisis and climate change: key drivers of humanitarian needs

Conflict, remains a key driver of humanitarian needs for a majority of the vulnerable population. Nearly 60 per cent of the people in need, are concentrated in areas affected by conflict. Conflict being a key driver of internal displacements, which as of December 2021 was estimated at 2.9 million, a majority of whom are in Darfur, Kordofan and Blue Nile regions considered as epicentres of localised conflict for nearly two decades. The prolonged economic crisis characterised by high inflation and increased food insecurity has been further exacerbated by COVID-19. Furthermore, the ongoing impact of climate change characterised by recurring floods and droughts, among other things, has also contributed to increased humanitarian needs and impacted millions, including the estimated 1.2 million refugees.

World Vision’s planned response

Brian Mashingaidze, World Vision’s Sudan Food and Cash Assistance Program manager says that World Vision in partnership with World Food Programme (WFP) is targeting to reach an estimated 900,000 beneficiaries (349,000 estimated to be children) through integrated food and cash assistance across South Darfur, East Darfur and South Kordofan states. These are: internally displaced persons (IDPs) refugees and vulnerable host populations. 75,619 children across 117 schools in South Darfur state are also targeted to benefit from the feeding programme. To improve affected communities’ resilience, World Vision will engage 63,000 target beneficiaries across South Darfur, East Darfur and South Kordofan states in community assets creation and a diverse range of livelihoods activities, as suggested by them. For further details in the article, visit WV Sudan website, here.

Help Turn the Desert Green and Bring Life to Darfur

Climate change is top of the agenda world wide, but nowhere is it more harshly felt than in Darfur, where the Sahara is creeping south inexorably.
Darfur is at the forefront of global warming with temperatures soaring to over 50 degrees in the summer months. All surface water evaporates by February each year, leaving the land parched and scorched. Land that was green with trees and water early last century is now a desert for most of the year.   How can families possibly survive? What can be done?

Kids for Kids has been planting drought-resistant trees for vital shade for children and animals and community forests in villages since 2007 when we were the first organization to experiment with reintroducing the Baobab tree. One of the first we planted is now called the Love Tree of Darfur as people carve their initials and hearts into it.

We renovated the tree nursery in El Fasher and planted a demonstration garden to educate the villagers on the benefits of trees. Our demonstration garden in El Fasher the regional capital is the only green space with shade where people can go at the weekends – they picnic in the shade of our trees and children play there.  We therefore provided benches too.

Initially village leaders had said they did not want trees as ‘they attracted birds which ate their seeds’.   We therefore planted trees by schools for the children to water and for them to educate their parents.

Since then we have been planting 14 different varieties of drought resistant trees. All have by-products, such as gum arabic (Acacia Senegal), pesticides (Neem Tree) and citrus fruits, that will add to people’s livelihoods. Citrus trees are thirstier and these are planted by people’s straw huts.   Not only do they provide fruit (Nabuk fruits in June when nothing else is growing) but desperately needed shade for children and animals. It is hard labour to water the trees, with water often miles away across the desert,  but after the first two years the tap roots will have reached the water table, and they will survive.

We also fund the fencing of the community forests (the green belts) and a forest guard for the first two years. He will work with a Forest Committee which we train in the care of the trees, watering the seedlings and harvesting the bi-products. It is important that the village takes ownership of each community forest.  If the water is at a distance we will also fund a water cart drawn by a strong crossbred donkey and a water tank.

A further wonderful outcome is that vegetables are now planted in the shade of our trees.   Often it is the first time vegetables have been able to be grown in a village and the underplanting provides nourishing food for our Goats.

We are now very excited to be planning a Moringa Plantation because there is research showing that moringa seeds purify water. Clean water at last in Darfur.

To date we have planted over 53,000 trees and made great progress but there is still lots to be done! 

Many will have died – as of course can happen anywhere – but the many thousands that have succeeded transform the desert.    We have even planted shade trees at the vast IDP camps.   To see a green canopy over the crowded huts is transformative.

Where our community forests are doing well, animals and birds are returning, which have not been seen for years.  Life returning to the deserts of Darfur.

Can you help us with our Tree Planting projects?

  • £10 ($12.50) plants five seedlings in a community forest
  • £15 ($19) plants three trees outside straw huts in our villages to provide shade and fruit
  • £37 ($46) plants five drought resistant trees to help stop desertification
  • £45 ($56) is enough for 20 fruit trees in a village

Together we can help slow down the spread of the desert, ensure the future of Darfur is green and change children’s lives for good.

Donate Trees for Climate Change today and help children and animals to survive the desert heat, parents to earn a livelihood from the by-products grown and communities to grow green, healthy and flourish.

But trees take time to grow to maturity – and children need help right now.  Across Darfur children are going hungry,  in the wake of drought, crop failure and soaring inflation. Don’t forget, our Goat loan helps families immediately when the poorest families receive 5 nanny goats which provide desperately needed milk, but also in the future when, after 2 years, as the flock grows, 5 nanny goats are passed on to another family to benefit. Help now and you will be helping generations to come.

For every donation made, you can opt to receive a gift certificate to give to a loved one – perfect for an upcoming birthday or special occasion for a true Eco-Warrior!

CANDLELIT CHRISTMAS CONCERT 2021 – LIVE IN LONDON!

We are delighted to announce that our magical, much loved, Candlelit Christmas Concert will once again be live in London at St Peter’s Eaton Square this year on Thursday 2nd December 2021.    The girls at our much loved Queen’s Gate School are already queuing up to rehearse!

This year we celebrate our 20th Birthday: that’s 20 years of helping the forgotten children of Darfur, children facing starvation. Special friends joining us include:

Patrons JOANNA LUMLEY OBE, TIMOTHY WEST CBE and THE LORD COPE OF BERKELEY PC

With a personal appearance of the celebrated international cellist JIAXIN CHENG and husband, JULIAN LLOYD-WEBBER.

Once again, the girls from the choirs of Queen’s Gate School, founded in 1891 will be leading the singing – whilst the lights of hundreds of candles will help usher in the Christmas season.  Always a favourite, Thames Fanfare Brass will raise the roof under the charismatic leadership of Roy Bilham. The evening ends with mince pies and Christmas cheer – what else?!

Please book your tickets as soon as possible as we will be extra specially careful to arrange social distancing as necessary and it will therefore be a first come, first served, basis.   Should Covid prevent us from holding the concert live, we will refund your ticket and restage the event online, as we did last year.

Kids for Kids is the only organisation helping the forgotten children of Darfur living in remote, primitive villages out of sight of the world.  This year droughts, fires, floods, and Covid-19 have combined to create untold hardship.   Many families cannot feed their children, even now when harvest time in Darfur approaches.  Kids for Kids is the only hope for many families to survive.

Please order your tickets today!   We are keeping prices the same as in 2019, our last live Concert.

Adults £35 (minimum donation) children £17.50 (minimum donation)

For more details and to book your tickets now, click here!

 

 

What a night – 20th Anniversary Gala Ball

 

What a fabulous, star-filled, glamorous evening we all had at the exclusive Claridge’s Hotel in London’s Mayfair to celebrate 20 years of helping children!  We wanted a party – after these terrible months everyone deserves one – and it was the best party we have ever had.   We have booked next year’s Ball already, Saturday 30th July 2022.  Put it in your diary!

I was so delighted to be able to celebrate at Claridge’s Hotel – I have wonderful memories from my teens, working opposite and living down the road in Hanover Square.  Yes – the truffles were as good as I remember!   We were looked after so well by everyone. The Ballroom is beautiful but our guests outshone even that! Thank you Martyn Nail, Executive Head Chef, for our wonderful dinner – a true celebration.  To see so many people having a wonderful time is so very special.

I was touched to be offered handmade chocolates for everyone of our guests by the wonderful Raphia Chocolates.   Do you know them?  https://raphia.co.uk/  Flavours of Morocco.  They are fabulous!

Thinking of fabulous – I was over the moon when Howard Peacock said his fab band Funktonite would play for us.  The Kids for Kids’ Ball just would not be so brilliant without them.   The dance floor was packed every minute they played, and everyone who stayed until the wee small hours was on that floor.  Me too!    It was brilliant. And yes, they are booked for next year’s Ball too!

How to start thanking all our friends who donated the fabulous prizes in our Auctions, Raffle and Locked Box? The Raffle alone raised almost £2,000 – funds that will provide children with milk from 40 goats.  Yes, that is how direct all profits and donations from our Gala Ball will be spent.  Once we have done our sums I will tell you how many families will have milk for their children, and a livelihood to help them in the months to come.  I am so proud of Kids for Kids that we do what we say.   And this year we are need more than ever before.  The families in our 106 villages, over half a million people, are managing better, but conditions in Sudan are worse than you or I can begin to imagine.   Hunger is a dreadful thing.  Seeing a child starving is not something you will ever forget.

But we are making a difference, real and tangible – it is hard to believe that one little boy’s lonely struggle across the desert, with his heavy load of water, should lead to us changing the lives of so many families, lifting them out of abject poverty.  Thank you for your wonderful generosity, in donating the prizes, in buying the raffle tickets, in competing to take home our cuddly goats.   We had a fabulous party – I danced the night away, truly! – but even more wonderful, children will be healthy – because of you.    Thank you.

JOIN US AT OUR GALA BALL!   SEE WHAT FUN WE HAD!

Below there is a taster of the evening.   We were really fortunate to have Billy Tourle as our photographer.   Thank you Billy for donating your time and expertise – I really hoped for atmospheric pictures, and these are fabulous.   If you would like to order photographs please contact lily@kidsforkids.org.uk but the payment needs to go directly to Billy, please, not to Kids for Kids.   You will get a digital file of each picture so that you can print as many as you wish!  It is really generous of Billy.  He is an amazing photographer with a burgeoning career in film making and you can view his website here.  Watch this space!

Join us at our next Events – Fishing Day – Saturday 9th October (link to purchase tickets)

Candlelit Christmas Concert – Thursday 2nd December (link to purchase tickets)

 

 

Queen’s Birthday Honour for our children

Queen’s Birthday Honour – remembering the forgotten children of Darfur – OBE for Founder of Kids for Kids

 

Patricia Parker MBE, the Chief Executive and Founder of the Kids for Kids has been awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen for her dedicated work over the past 20 years helping children in Darfur.

“This is a fantastic honour to receive” said Patricia. “I can hardly believe that Darfur is being honoured in this way. It is certainly one I never expected. Darfur is one of the most forgotten regions of the world. When I first went to Darfur 20 years ago with my son Alastair King-Smith, who was working at the British Embassy, I was shocked to find how children were living. Even friends in Khartoum had not realised how bad conditions had become. The level of deprivation was beyond imagining, and sadly it has hardly changed in all this time. Water is the most basic essential for us all, yet children were walking hour upon hour across the desert under the unforgiving sun to reach a simple handpump, because there was no water anywhere near their homes.

Yet under Darfur there is one of the biggest aquifers in Africa. The big aid agencies were there but no one was drilling for water near villages. That was 20 years ago, and it is still the same, 20 years on. Many villages have no water, or electricity, no health care for humans or animals – virtually no infrastructure of any kind, even roads. In fact they have almost none of the things we would all consider the basic essentials of life.

I’ve been delighted at the commitment of the new Government of Sudan to end the conflict in Darfur and to make a priority of poverty instead of only focussing on national security. That is crucial if Sudan is to make a reality of sustainable development and build the future prosperity everyone in Sudan deserves.

Since 2001, Kids for Kids has helped over 550,000 people and has introduced our integrated projects to 106 villages in North Darfur, Sudan, creating a sustainable and lasting change.”

This honour means that Darfur is not forgotten. It means that what Kids for Kids has been doing quietly, out of sight of the world, has at last been noticed. The children in Darfur are no longer forgotten.

Of course, this is a collective effort. The most important people are the villagers themselves. Kids for Kids works through the locally-registered Kids for Kids Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of Adam Sebil in North Darfur, who bring village representatives together to run the projects we support. In each village we train a village development committee, an animal loan committee and – crucially as it is the children who look after the goats and donkeys – a children’s shepherds committee. We work in partnership with the North Darfur State Government, such as the Ministry of Health and School for Training Midwives, the Ministries of Agriculture and Animal Resources to train our paravets and grow seedlings for community forests plus the Water and Sanitation Department who drill our handpumps. We have received fantastic support from our Patrons, including successive British Ambassadors to Khartoum and Sudanese Ambassadors to London. But none of our work would be possible without our volunteers, particularly our voluntary chairman in Khartoum, Hatim Abu Sineina, and our voluntary Honorary Treasurer, Omer Shomeina, who work tirelessly, with no recompense, to make a difference in Sudan. I thank them with all my heart.

Kids for Kids is supported by people of all different ages, many of them small children who realise they really can make a difference to children their own age. One thing they have in common is that they understand how important it is to enable people to help themselves. So many agencies do what they feel is good for people, without respecting their dignity and involving them in whatever improvements can be made. Donors come with a preconceived idea of what people need. What makes a real difference is taking time to find out about people’s lives and working with them to identify solutions. I learn more all the time, and amend our approach every year to make the projects even more truly sustainable. I was delighted when I was at last able to visit Sudan again, in February 2020, that the new Humanitarian Aid Commissioner in Sudan told us that Kids for Kids is the model he wants all organisations to adopt and follow.

During the previous regime and conflict, there was a real threat that Kids for Kids could have been prevented from continuing our work in Darfur. My most harrowing moment was being kidnapped in 2005, along with my son Alastair King-Smith, but we persevered in visiting the villages. I was later refused visas for nearly 10 years, so we had to hold our Programme Meetings in other countries in Africa. We continued to adopt villages, but this was only possible because – unlike most international NGOs – we encourage people to help their own communities as volunteers. Indeed, we only pay for two people in Darfur, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim and Hassan Mehisi who work immensely hard, and whose loyalty over the years has been outstanding.  But it is the volunteers who are as determined as we are, to improve the lives of the children who ensure the sustainability of all we provide. I think our projects are so successful because we take time to listen and to discuss how we can help and support their hopes and dreams.

That is why we now provide kindergartens. So many mothers told me that their greatest ambition was education: “We do not want our children growing up like us, unable to read and write”. You need to respect people’s dignity, listen to them, help them by providing training, and then ensure they have put what they have learnt into practise. It takes time and patience, but leads to real sustainability. To lift a family out of abject poverty, where there is no alternative but to live hand to mouth, you need to provide a whole package of basic essentials, to help them to get onto the first rung of the ladder. I have learnt too that incentives work – not money – but things that benefit the community that they can earn by running the projects well.

It was an incredible experience at last to return to Darfur last year and to be able to visit the first village that we had adopted in 2001, Um Ga’al, and to meet the communities there and in other villages. Most special of all, was to meet Ibrahim again, the little 9-year-old boy whose walk for water in 2001 had been the inspiration for me to set up Kids for Kids, and to meet his family. Now 29, he did not need words to express the joy he felt because his youngest child is attending the first of our kindergartens and will have a brighter future.

With our simple philosophy of helping people to help themselves, and our motto, one goat at a time, there are now 106 Kids for Kids’ villages in North Darfur where children are not malnourished, where their mothers have a livelihood and where water is close at hand. People support us because they have seen our villages expand, and they know that children grow up healthier in a Kids for Kids’ village.

This extraordinary journey I have been on, in a region so remote, beset with so many disasters, so much violence, has also enabled me to open the eyes of children in the UK and with the help of our volunteer in America, Mary Jane Kupsky. I talk to as many children as I can, showing them how children their own age live, in conditions so very different, yet so very similar in the basic essentials of life, and to show them too that no one is too young to make a difference.

This amazing recognition from Her Majesty The Queen will mean that Kids for Kids will be able to do even more to transform the lives of children. I am incredibly proud that I should be honoured in this way, that Kids for Kids should be recognised, and most important of all, that the children of Darfur are recognised. Let’s see what we can do in the next 20 years!”

What the press are saying:

Official Announcement The Gazette UK

Sudan News Agency

Sudanow Magazine

Next Century Foundation

Radio Dabanga

Al Sudani News

All Africa

All Africa 2

Panapress

 

Have a listen to Patricia’s interview with James Cannon on BBC Radio Surrey below!

 

Further information and current photographs: lily@kidsforkids.org.uk or patricia@kidsforkids.org.uk +447957206440 / +249912162770

 

URGENT: Three Things You Can Do Right Now

“Life is at its most precarious in the villages of Darfur this year. Floods, droughts, Covid-19 and now inflation soaring to over 200% means the situation is now more desperate than ever. The risk of starvation to countless families is real and we are determined to do all we can to raise awareness of such terrible hardship and we are asking for your help,” said Patricia Parker, MBE Founder of Kids for Kids. 

  There are three things you can do now- please help!

1 – Provide soap.  We are told that washing hands properly with soap and water is the best, and perhaps the only, realistic defence against this terrible virus. Read our Soap Appeal now and Donate Soap Here!

2 – Provide mosquito nets. The recent floods have left behind areas of standing water, this makes the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. North Darfur is seeing a huge increase in cases of the often fatal disease with 60,000 people currently suffering. We have just sent 3000 nets to our communities but thousands more are neededplease donate here to the greatest need.

3 – Provide emergency food.   With inflation now over 200% the people of Darfur are struggling to feed their families. Mothers and fathers are unable to afford even the most basic staples to feed their families. Our team on the ground have said that mothers are unable to feed their babies milk due to themselves being malnourished. They are barely surviving on one meal a day, consisting of just flour and water to make a paste. This is not living – this is not how life should be – please donate to the greatest need. 

We are not an emergency aid organisation but we will never turn our backs on the people we support in their time of greatest need. By helping us raise funds and spreading the message of the current situation, we can help make 2021 a brighter year for the people of Darfur!

If you would like to learn more about how our long term projects transform the lives of whole communities, please do look at the About Us pages – all the 100 Kids for Kids villages are stronger and our families have a better chance of surviving the virus.

Thank you,

Patricia

Together at last – best Candlelit Christmas Concert ever?

After  so long apart, our Candlelit Christmas Concert this year was more moving than ever!  Tears and smiles mingled as celebrities and supporters alike celebrated 20 years of Kids for Kids and our 20th concert!

If you missed it, here is a little snippet to whet your appetite and the link to the full concert is further below…!

Joanna Lumley OBE, Timothy West CBE, the Lord Cope of Berkeley PC, Julian Lloyd Webber OBE and his amazingly talented Cellist wife Jiaxin Cheng all helped raise £2,723.35  on the night.   This is an important figure – if we can raise a further £9,777 BEFORE 11th DECEMBER two anonymous donors will DOUBLE IT.    Please help!   This would be an astonishing £25,000 in total – and would enable us to adopt an entire village, helping over 500 children to a better future long term.   Please please help.  Every pound will make a difference!

“It was so special to be able to celebrate the start of the festive season together once again at the beautiful St Peter’s Church in London,” said Patricia Parker, Founder of Kids for Kids.  “Just think of the lives we will change! This has been made even more special as two fabulous supporters very kindly enabled us to double all your wonderful donations received on the night and up to 11th December!”

The concert, which was sponsored hugely generously by Delamere Dairy, was sold out well before the night.  Volunteers decorated the  church so it was filled with candles, garlands and of course donkeys and our reindeer!   The atmosphere was euphorically festive as supporters from far and wide came together to celebrate 20 years of changing children’s lives.

Thanks to Delamere Dairy covering all expenses, the concert so far has raised £17,956.50 which will be spent directly in Darfur.  “And we still have the Zoom and Concert on 14th,” said Patricia, ”Can we raise more for those children – do let’s!”

“Lesley Magee welcomed everyone on arrival with her beautiful harp playing,” says Patricia “the angelic voices of the choirs of Queen’s Gate School filled the church as the children sang their hearts out, Roy Bilham and Thames Fanfare Brass were wonderful as always and this year we were delighted to be joined by Julian Lloyd Webber OBE and his wife Jiaxin Cheng, whose beautiful cello playing had the audience spell-bound.”

We are so grateful to all the amazing people who support the concert, from the volunteers lead by the inexhaustible Ann and Richard Lienard and to our Musical Director, Ian Webb-Taylor.

As a lovely touch at the end, Patricia Parker OBE was gifted a goat by 5 little girls from the Queen’s Gate School choir. “You must see this!”, said Patricia, “My Christmas Certificate is a highlight of our fabulous Christmas Concert. How moving to think how that goat will help children in Darfur. You too can have one! Just visit our website to order. It truly is the best Christmas present ever. Thank you girls”

See below a report on Darfur in 2021.

 

Founder’s Christmas Message 2021:

This year we have been celebrating an astonishing twenty years. Twenty years of helping children, because of one small boy, whose lonely exhausting walk for water across the unforgiving deserts of Darfur, seemed to me in 2001 to be totally unacceptable.

It was, and is, unacceptable, because something can be done about it. There is water under Darfur. Why was no one drilling for it, so that no one should go thirsty? And 20 years on, very little has changed. Children are still struggling for hours across the desert with heavy jerry cans. A jerry can full of water weighs 25 kilos.

Since that chance encounter in Darfur, Kids for Kids has introduced our whole range of grassroots projects to an amazing 105 villages – more than half a million people benefitting from what you are helping us to provide, by supporting Kids for Kids. I have not heard of one person leaving any of our villages to become a refugee, seeking help somewhere across the world. Our earlier villages are now two or three times bigger.

I get embarrassed because what we provide seems so very simple, think what you and I would consider essential. In Darfur, the loan of five goats, a basic handpump, mosquito nets, blankets, farm tools and so on – those are their essentials. A family’s only chance of survival is if the grains they have planted grow, but this year there has been drought, then floods, and, in some places, camels trampled it into the ground. The difference that our unique package of projects makes to a young family, is dramatic. They are life changing. We are showing that training communities to work together, to support each other, so that the projects are successful, helps everyone, not just the poorest families to whom we provide direct assistance.

Can you imagine the impact a properly trained midwife has, in a village where there has been no health care? I still cannot bear to think of rope delivery. Yes – when there is obstructed labour then that is what has to happen. The only way a baby can be born – rope delivery. The mother is lucky to survive such brute force, the baby is unlikely to live. OUR midwives deliver healthy babies, and ensure mothers with complications get to hospital. If we only provided village midwives we would be saving countless lives. But of course, we do much more.

Recently I was invited to speak to the smallest children at Cheam School in Newbury. I had to get up and
head out in the dark and freezing cold, to get to them in time for their Assembly at 8.30. On the way, I was saying to myself I must not agree to do this sort of thing in future. But it was a privilege to show those little ones how children their own age live, right now in a very different land so far away.
Yet is it so different? Mothers there have the same aspirations for their children as mothers here. But in Darfur children sleep directly on the sand, in huts made of straw, no bed, no bed clothes. They are bitten by sand flies which make them sick, and by mosquitoes which carry not just malaria, but dengue fever, chickungunya, yellow fever – all curable. Everything is in short supply, even bread. And their mothers cannot afford to send them to school. And those little children in Newbury understood how important it is to help.

There IS no other organisation dedicated to helping the forgotten villages of Darfur. You will know that there has been a military coup in Sudan. In an effort to win over the international community, and its own people, the Prime Minister has been reinstated, but it does not give me confidence with so many uncertainties. What I can assure you of however, is that we will do all we can, to continue to help families in desperate need, as we have done throughout all the years under the previous regime.

We work directly with the communities – this is what makes all the difference. Everything we fund is designed to be sustainable. Real sustainability. When we build a kindergarten, we ensure there is a committed PTA to take it over. Our village midwives are funded in partnership with the state Ministry of Health, so that the Ministry will support them after their training. And most important of all, we train the communities to run our Goat Loans, so that in time, the whole village benefits from our initial provision of goats. Indeed, so successful are our goat loans in the impact they have on the health of the children, and the livelihoods they give to the poorest women, that our Goat Loan has been called The Best Micro Finance Scheme ever.

This year however, conditions in Darfur have been the worst I have ever known. Floods, drought, soaring inflation, and yes, violence, all have taken their toll. And Covid. Mothers cannot afford soap as you know – that is why we are still raising funds to be able to give five bars of soap to each family in all our villages. With no income, poverty is unimaginable.

I was also shocked at the poverty of the landscape when we first went to Darfur. Darfur is the size of France so as in France the vegetation differs from region to region. I saw baobabs in South Darfur. So why not in North Darfur? In 2007 we planted our first Baobabs. They grew. We renovated the tree nursery in El Fasher and planted a demonstration garden to educate the villagers on the benefits of trees.

Since then we have been planting 14 different varieties of drought resistant trees. All have bi-products that will add to people’s livelihoods. It is hard labour to water the trees, but after the first two years the tap roots will have reached the water table, and they will survive. In one village they have been harvesting Gum Arabic now for over six years. One of our first baobabs is called the Love Tree of Darfur as people carve their initials and hearts in it. And I am planning a Moringa Plantation because there is research that is showing that moringa seeds purify water. Clean water at last in Darfur.

You will know that trees are essential if we are to stop global warming. Darfur is at the forefront, with the Sahara creeping south inexorably. We have planted over 53,000 trees, so far. Many of course have died in the searing heat, but the success of our tree project was brought home to me when a man told me last February that rabbits and foxes had been seen in their community forest. They had not seen any for decades. And I myself saw a pair of hornbills. I had never dreamt that, because of Kids for Kids, animals and birds would return.

Do you see why Kids for Kids has to plan for the next twenty years? I have been determined from the start, never to let anyone down in the villages of Darfur. To promise help to the poorest of the poor, and then to fail, would be unforgivable. If you would consider becoming a Children’s Champion, choosing projects to support for three years, you would make my job so much easier.

It is now time for perhaps the hardest part of the year for me. Time to choose which villages we will adopt next year. The joy of the village leaders is beyond words when their village is chosen. You see the leaders are not appointed because it is hereditary. They are chosen because of their wisdom and philanthropy. But then there are the villages that we cannot adopt, that I have to turn down. That upsets me beyond words. One year I was in Darfur with Alastair, and we held a workshop. A leader stood up and told us that he had walked for two days to get to the meeting, because he wanted to thank me for adopting his village the previous year. He said he had applied to Kids for Kids for five years before I had selected his village. In every one of those five years, children had died from preventable illnesses. He said not one child had died since Kids for Kids had started to help his people.

Twenty years of Kids for Kids. Twenty years of doing all we can to help children no one else is helping. It would be tragic if we stopped now, now when so many children are facing such appalling conditions. We MUST continue, we MUST do all we can, and yes, we MUST go on for another twenty years. We are needed.

The little 9 year old, who first inspired me, Ibrahim, is now 29. He told me last February, that his son is at our Kindergarten. He is not walking long hours for water. He is at school. He is healthy. He is happy. He will not become a refugee. To Ibrahim, and to me, it was a miracle our meeting in the desert 20 years ago. Let’s make more miracles happen.

Children need goats, so they have milk to drink. The land needs trees to grow green again. Those are what I hope Father Christmas will give me this year!

Happy Christmas everyone!”

 

To download and share a copy of our Founder’s 2021 Christmas Message please click here.

 

Want to watch our wonderful Candlelit Christmas Concert once more?  And for those of you who couldn’t join us, catch up on the magical evening in it’s entirety here.

 

All photos below of the event from the brilliant Michael Blyth Photography. 

Job Vacancy

Do you want to make a real difference in children’s lives?    The children of Darfur are born into a life of unimaginable deprivation and hardship.    We have shown that our simple grassroots projects transform children’s lives.   Would you like to join us?  Our Founder/CEO needs a Personal Assistant to help reduce her work load.  Can you help?   Please do get in touch    Admin Fundraiser – final MAY 2017 

Volunteer?   We need help with research and awareness and fundraising.   All ideas welcome. We don’t advertise, so anything you can do to raise awareness of the desperate need of the children in Darfur will make a difference.

Like to join our London or Surrey groups, or make your own?    Make new friends, have fun – and help the forgotten children of Darfur, all at the same time!

Please do contact us.  We would love to discuss your ideas.

In the UK please contact@kidsforkids.org.uk

In the States please get in touch with our volunteer Mary Jane

 

 

 

 

 

 

Candlelit Christmas concert

Best ever Candlelit Christmas Concert last year – The Photographs

Our Candlelit Christmas Concert has always been the highlight of the year, but this year it took our breath away.  The St Peter’s Eaton Square itself is always beautiful but this year was somehow extra special.

What we have achieved thanks to the wonderful support we have received is going to be extra special in Darfur too. We raised a spectacular £19,056 after all our expenses.    Thanks to the generous support of Delamere Dairy and our wonderful advertisers in our Concert Programme, which covered our costs, every penny raised in donations and on the night are going to help us make a real difference to the lives of countless children in Darfur.   It is not only that, our beautiful Candlelit Concert reminded people what Christmas is all about.  From the moment we walked into the church it was obvious it was going to be a special evening.   Thanks to Chrissie Patterson and her team of helpers, the church was transformed  – not easy to do – and, of course, our wonderful volunteers behind the scenes from Surrey not only welcomed us warmly but warmed us afterwards with delicious mulled wine!

Everyone who took part put their whole heart into everything – from the hilarious and touching reading by the lovely Joanna Lumley, who told us how beavers enjoy Christmas, and Timothy West‘s empathy with the dilemma of the shopping by the Three Kings, giving up because “Ah well, He was only a Kid!” – how wonderfully appropriate! – and then the soaring thrilling sound of the posthorns by Roy Bilham and his Quintet from Thames Fanfare Brass.  Surely that was enough for any concert, but no, we were treated to the most sensational performance by Margaret Keys.   Her next major performance is at Carnegie Hall in New York.   I think we caught her just in time! Holding it all together was the magnificent Egon Liepa whose choirs from Queen’s Gate School were so beautiful, singing their hearts out.  I’m sure they loved hearing their Headteacher, Ros Kamaryc,  reading of ‘The Friendly Beasts’.  The children of this wonderful school are very special.  Special thanks to our new Patron, Julie Etchingham, anchor at ITN, who lead us through the concert and encouraged everyone to Give a Goat This Christmas.

I feel so privileged that such talented people join us to help raise awareness – and much-needed funds – for our children in Darfur.      What an evening.

It was a very special concert – captured in these atmospheric photographs by Jonathan Timpson – Jonathan Timpson Photography – to whom a very big thank you.

Kids from Darfur up in Lights!

WHAT AN AMAZING END OF YEAR –  Kids for Kids received its most generous in-kind donation ever, donating the equivalent of £500,000 worth of billboard advertising from ClearChannel UK, thanks to Sally Dickerson of BrandScience.

Last week, I was delighted to present a Golden Goat brooch, on behalf of Kids for Kids, to Sally Dickerson to thank her for her phenomenal support and for asking ClearChannel for the amazing billboard campaign on behalf of Kids for Kids.

Firstly, they donated HUGE billboard publicity for our wonderful Candlelit Christmas Concert and then asked people to donate a goat for Christmas!  Although it seems that Darfur’s plight is neglected by the international community, individuals across London were able to engage and support these families through the simple act of gifting a Goat. The Give a Goat plea resulted in goats being donated from all over the world.

What an incredible way of reminding people at Christmas about the children and families continuing to struggle on in Darfur, Sudan!

We have never had so many goat Certificates to produce – all are individually designed – from all over the world.  It is difficult to express how much this has meant, not just to those of us in the UK who saw this incredible publicity, but especially to the families in Darfur.  The children we are supporting live in villages where there is no electricity.   Can you imagine?   They have no idea what a light switch even looks like.   The families are so poor that children have never seen a toy.  Now they are up in lights.

Our Founder, Patricia Parker, went to Piccadilly Circus – Yes that iconic site of all Billboard sites across the world – and could not believe her eyes.

“I had expected to see our advertisement perhaps every 30 seconds or so, and then for only a few seconds at a time.   Instead, we stood in wonder as it was up there in lights for hours at the very height of the evening rush hour in London’s West End.    Words cannot express my gratitude to Adam of ClearChannel UK.  What an incredible way to raise awareness of the plight of the forgotten children of Darfur.”

Sites that raised awareness of Kids for Kids and the children of Darfur – asking people to Give a Goat for Christmas – were all round London:  Barnet, Croydon, Ealing, Hackney, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Kingston Upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southward, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth – and London’s West End from 26th November right up until 24th December.

“How can I begin to thank ClearChannel for this incredible support.  Did I say that the world had forgotten Darfur – well, they were reminded in an unforgettable way!    If only our little kids in Darfur could have seen themselves up in lights!”

JULIE ETCHINGHAM – our newest Patron

We are enormously proud to announce that TV News presenter Julie Etchingham who presents and reports for ITV News at Ten, and the Tonight programme for ITV has accepted our invitation to be a Patron of Kids for Kids.   Julie was the first woman to be named Royal Television Society Presenter of the Year in 2010.

“We are hugely proud that Julie accepted my invitation” said Patricia Parker MBE Founder of Kids for Kids “I was very nervous asking her.  She has two young sons, like me, and fitting something else in on top of all she does already was a big ask.   But Julie is amazing.  I asked her because I know she loves children and there can be few children who need help as much as the children of Darfur.    I am enormously grateful that Julie is hosting our Candlelit Christmas Concert again this year.   It is very special to have such a glamorous new Patron.   I sometimes think that Darfur is entirely forgotten, but when something like this happens, it gives me hope.”

Julie joins Joanna Lumley and Eamonn Holmes as Celebrity Patrons of Kids for Kids.    Other Patrons include The Lord Cope of Berkeley and former Ambassadors Sir William Patey, Dr Hassan Abdin, Abdullahi Al Azreg, Dame Rosalind Marsden, OmeSiddiq and current British Ambassador Michael Aron and Mohammed Eltom the Ambassador for The Sudan to the Court of St James’.

GIVE A GOAT – HELP NOW, AND FOR THE LONG TERM

There could be no more spectacular way to make a real lasting impact than giving a goat to a child in Darfur. Giving a goat (or donkey!) to a family in Darfur saves lives. But it is better than that!   We will send a personalised Gift Certificate for you.    We need 994 goats for the children in the Kids for Kids’ villages so that they will no longer go hungry.   Goat’s milk is full of protein, minerals and vitamins and for a child whose mother cannot afford protein in any form, this is a life changer.

Donate a goat and know that a child will have a cup of goat’s milk each day – and you will save her from starvation.     Lack of protein leads to damaged bones, teeth, nails and even a child’s brain cells – yet one cup of goat’s milk every day will prevent that.   Please help.

If you would like us to create a Certificate specially for you, once you have have donated online, please send us the donation number and the details of the wording you would like – your name, and the name of the recipient, and tell us if you would like us to email or post it for you, or to send it to you for you to give yourself.  Please email us.  We will enclose a newsletter explaining how miraculous and life changing a goat is and how special their present is too.    If you would like to add something else do look at our Gift List, for other life changing gifts.

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