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!

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 on line, as we did last year.

JOANNA LUMLEY WILL BE WITH US!   

I am of course inviting all our Patrons – it was such a joy last year to have them all with us but on line.  You will remember us being able to talk to Timothy West from his home with Prunella in Wandsworth, and speaking to Miriam Margolyes in Italy.  This year the plan is to be together in person.

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

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.

a4-goat

News from America – Children at International School of Brooklyn Go that Extra Mile

Children at the International School of Brooklyn set us all a good example when they held their sixth Walk for Water.   They were determined to do something to help families in Darfur, inspired by a 6 year old American boy called Owen and between them they have raised thousands of dollars to provide clean water in the villages of Darfur.

“A handpump does not only provide clean water” said Patricia Parker during her visit to the school,”but water close at hand means that children can go to school.   Education is the way out of poverty and in Darfur not having to walk miles across the sand means women and children are no longer at risk of attack. ”

Since they went those extra miles round and round the block where their school is situated, funds have been pouring in.    To date they have raised a staggering $13,623 – the best yet!

ISB is a school that is going places.   In six years it has moved from a small six room building to a spacious centre in Brooklyn where there is a hive of activity.  Even the youngest children are taught in Spanish and French.   “The 9 year old whose 7 hour walk for water inspired the foundation of Kids for Kids only started school once we had installed our first handpump in his village.   He has found studying very hard because of starting school so late, but he is determined to succeed” said Patricia  “The children of ISB will not only be giving clean water to children, they are giving them a chance to go to school, and a better future. We are so grateful to Nancy Woodruff and her family, and the Parents’ Committee of ISB plus those wonderful inspirational teachers.     You set us all such a wonderful example.”

Rebecca founder of ISB with Delphine, Head of Junior School

Rebecca founder of ISB with Delphine, Head of Junior School

nancy-at-home-brooklyn thumbnail_img_2429 thumbnail_img_2449 warm-welcome

Gig for Goats – teenagers decide to help

When Ciaran Doyle (14) heard how children were living in Darfur he decided to do something about it.   “I performed a song at The Ambassadors’ Ball in London in May, an event that raises money and awareness for the children of Darfur.  It made me realise that in my own way, I could do something, raise money and make my own contribution to help.  They don’t even know if they will get breakfast in the morning or a dinner and we have so many opportunities, so our drummer in The V8’s, Maxim and myself decided that we would put on our own show and see what we could achieve.”

The Gig was amazing.   The V8’s were joined by Home Feels Foreign and Station-47. The Hall in Slindon was packed.    Now Ciaran has been invited to take the Gig to London.  Watch this space! Ovation

St Bede’s House Worth Abbey to support Kids for Kids – again!

Wonderful news this week!   We have just heard that the students of St Bede’s House, Worth Abbey, have adopted Kids for Kids for another year.    The world has forgotten Darfur, but not St Bede’s.    House Master Mike Mathews told us that this year the plan is to row the Atlantic!   Not literally, but with the help of rowing machines, and it is not going to be plain sailing.     In 2015 they ran to Africa (round the school grounds)  – raising £3,466 – and in 2014 they climbed Everest (up and down the house stairs!) when they raised £2,055 on top of funds they had already donated that year.     I am told Rowing the Atlantic is going to be the best yet.

What these young people are doing is showing the rest of the world that they believe in sustainable development, aimed not just at ensuring children no longer suffer from malnutrition, but helping Kids for Kids to enable people to stay in their homes and not to be forced to leave, becoming migrants across the world in a desperate attempt to find work and save their families.

Worth Abbey is a very special place as are the students of St Bede’s House.   st-bedes-8