Good News! Our New Patron – Miriam Margolyes OBE!

We are thrilled to welcome our newest Patron, Miriam Margolyes OBE! Many of you will know Miriam from her magical Readings at our annual Candlelit Concerts. Behind the scenes she has been doing all she can to provide support for our sustainable work helping children in Darfur, Sudan, especially now with our desperate and urgent appeal for soap as the only hope families have against COVID-19.   Miriam attended our Candlelit Christmas Concert in both 2017 and 2019 as a Guest Reader and has supported our Ambassadors’ Ball Auction for three years straight. Both events are major fundraising initiatives held annually by Kids for Kids, each raising over £20,000 a year.  “I was really touched at Miriam’s response when I invited her formally to become our Patron” said Patricia Parker, our Founder.  “She said she was honoured – and when you think that we are helping children living out of sight, of sadly no interest to the world in general – simple families struggling to bring up their little ones – it is us who are honoured to have someone of Miriam’s stature supporting us.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day those children could see ‘Harry Potter’ and recognise too her magic!”

Miriam has been instrumental in helping us raise the funds to adopt new villages for the past few years and we are so pleased to make her Patronage official!

You can read more about Miriam Margolyes OBE in Victoria Magazine, a piece written by Jonathan Whiley in advance of the 2017 Christmas Concert.

Photo Credit: Title photograph by Jennifer Robertson – Kyte Photography.  Both other photographs by Michael Blyth Photography.

News from Darfur about COVID-19 – Updated

Updates:

  • “Almost a quarter of the population of Sudan are going hungry as conflict, rising food prices and the coronavirus take their toll. About 9.6 million people now face severe food shortages, the highest number recorded in the country’s recent history.” The Guardian, 28th July 2020.
  • “Over 12,500 people had contracted COVID-19 in the country, including 781 who died from the disease, as of 17 August.” A state of emergency was declared in North Darfur on 13th July. “The situation is likely to compound already significant humanitarian needs in North Darfur, where nearly 330,000 people are severely food insecure.”  Read the OCHA Sudan Situation Report.
  • “1.1 million children in Sudan are going hungry as the country faces its worst food crisis in recent years.” Relief Web, July 8th. Patricia says “We must provide goats urgently to families, as their milk provides children with essential nutrients at a terribly difficult time. With inflation 100% as of May, the need is growing. Along with our Appeal for Soap so people can be protected from the virus, goats are needed desperately.  Please will you help?
  • 466,000 bars of soap have now reached El Fasher from Khartoum on the lorry! Delays were caused because of bridge closures across the Nile due to lockdown. We have alerted the villages leaders about the collection and delivery plans. One village leader has already turned up to collect the soap! We are delighted that UNICEF has offered their help to deliver soap to some of our villages. We still need to raise more funds to pay for the soap – please donate now.  Please see pictures here of the soap arriving in El Fasher:

Soap arriving in El Fasher

Fuel Shortages in El Fasher

A Message from the Founder of Kids for Kids:

Bad news is doubly terrible when one’s worst fears materialise.  I have been dreading the news that COVID-19 had reached Darfur.  I received this message from our Programme Manager, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, on 20th May:

Elfasher town has witnessed high mortality rate among old people 50-60 years old , some showing Covid 19 like symptoms and other sudden death. The average death rate is 12 person a day . We have lost friends and neighbors. The rate is expected to increase in the coming days. Although the lockdown is announced but it is not well implemented in addition to there being no proper health measures. Today a committee was formed for investigation about the cause, whether Covid 19 or another disease.  Meanwhile it is advisable to stay at home and use mask and social distancing if for any reason one goes out.”

The ‘other’ disease Salim mentions is because they have no tests.  Any medical tests taken have to be sent to Khartoum.  It is the same when water is tested when we drill handpumps.  There are no ventilators, no oxygen in hospitals.  No treatment.  I think you know that we are appealing for soap.  It is the only defence for villagers.  In addition to deaths in El Fasher there are as many on a daily basis in Mellit – which is a large, very poor, town used by many of our villages, including ‘our’ little 9 year old’s village.  (Ibrahim is of course as tall as my son Alastair, now with children of his own! I met Ibrahim and his family again in February.)   In Darfur, to be old is to be over 50, and there are a large number of people with diabetes in Sudan, making them doubly vulnerable.  I am worried for them all.

Children using dirty water from the barrel in El Fasher

Please can you think of people who would help?  Maybe family trusts might consider supporting the soap appeal, as it is COVID-19 that is threatening so many children?  Perhaps they may consider helping even though Africa may not be what they would normally support.  Might there be a way you could help to publicise our appeal?  We cannot do this alone.  As you will know, virtually all our normal streams of funding have dried up, from collecting tins and coffee mornings to our local street collection and all our events.  Please do what you can.

Here is our Soap Appeal for you to read and share. You can also download a PDF of the appeal that you can email to friends and ask them to donate. We need your help urgently.  And please click here for information on other ways you can help during the pandemic. Thank you.

More news:

  • Read this Guardian Article (May 29th) about the absolutely dire situation in North Darfur. Patricia Parker saw for herself in February the lack of the most basic equipment in the Hospital in Mellit Town. There is no point in people going to hospital, and in the villages there are no doctors or nurses. The elderly dying are young, just over 50. 
  •  Doctors and Nurses across Sudan are lacking PPE, and many are contracting Coronavirus as they work in dangerous hospital environments. Many people do not understand what is happening and are blaming medics for spreading the disease. Important news here.

Fires Devastate Darfur Villages – Help Needed!

Last week (27th April) there was a massive fire that swept across Um Hagalig, a desperately poor village which we adopted in 2007. People have lost everything.  150 huts were burned to the ground, over 160 goats and 16 donkeys were killed.  Much of the village is totally destroyed. Fires are a major hazard in Darfur at this time of year because everything is tinder dry – and the huts and the fences are made of straw.  Once a fire takes hold, all people can do is to run for their lives.  It is a miracle that only one person died.  But this is not the only fire  – in Afein Village two families lost everything, in Majoub A – which I visited so happily in February – 22 families are now homeless and in Fardal, three families are in need of help.   On May 7th we were informed of a fifth fire in Um Oshra Village which has burned 61 huts to the ground – and the primary school.  Kids for Kids adopted Um Oshra in 2008, and they had been doing so much better, with brick walls to their houses and a new primary school. Families in all villages affected have lost all their possessions, their savings and their animals – it is heartbreaking.  And there is no one to help them – except us.

Please will you help us help families who have been left with nothing?

It is hard to take in the news of another tragedy on top of all that is devastating people’s lives in Darfur right now. As we feared, the first COVID-19 cases have now been identified in Darfur. When I returned from Sudan in February my fear was starvation for children – already they were only having two sparse meals. As the heat increases to over 50 degrees and the walk for water becomes longer and longer, it was starvation that I was going to appeal for you to help me with.  Then the virus had become the urgency – and I knew that soap had to be top of the list – if only I could provide everything.   To think now of the despair of the families.  It is just impossible to imagine what families in these five villages must be going through as they deal with this recent blow. We are very sorry to share that the fire has killed one person, a 65 year old woman named Maryam in Um Hagalig Village, who had worked to help her community for years. Our thoughts are with Maryam’s family, and everyone in Um Hagalig, Afein, Majoub A, and Fardal villages at this time.

Every two years, since Kids for Kids adopted Um Hagalig Village in 2007, families have passed on goats from the original Goat Loan so that more and more families have benefitted directly. Our Kids for Kids Steering Committee Chairman, Adam Sabil, immediately set off to visit the village as soon as we heard the news. The loss of animals in the fire is absolutely devastating for Kids for Kids –  but imagine what people must feel to know their animals, their often sole source of income, have perished.  People love their animals and it was because they keep them close at night – though there is no danger from wild animals in Darfur because of the loss of trees and vegetation – that so many died.  What hope do they have now?  Many families had saved up money from selling crops and milk and yoghurt at market, and been able to buy basic household goods, bed frames, and more. Extra cash would be hidden under their mattresses, burning up in the fire. Everything is gone now. With 150 huts destroyed in Um Hagalig alone, hundreds of people are left with nothing – no bed, no food, no jerrycans, and nowhere to go. 

“Adam has assessed the urgent need.  We will be providing goats, donkeys, a mattress, blankets, mosquito nets (the rains are desperately needed but they bring mosquitos, and malaria – the biggest killer, until the virus, in Darfur) cooking utensils and jerry cans.  All are urgently needed right now.  Please help by donating here.

It really puts in perspective how bad things are in Darfur. The whole world is dealing with COVID-19 but families living in dire poverty at the forefront of global warming, have it so much worse. Could you imagine a devastating fire right now, tearing down your house, where you are supposed to be isolating?  It is truly unimaginable. We have to help immediately. It just isn’t right.”

–  Patricia Parker MBE, Founder and CEO 

Kids for Kids is currently using funds raised to fund our Urgent Appeal for Soap for villages so people can wash properly and prevent COVID-19. We are also continuing to provide our long-term sustainable projects to all our villages at this time.  This means we need to raise more money, and urgently, to help families immediately who have been left with nothing. We are hoping to have a store in the future of urgently needed items so we can help even more quickly when disaster strikes. We have also ordered an investigation to find out how we can help villages with fire prevention going forward. In the meantime, please can you help us help families right now?

You can donate now to our ‘Rebuilding Um Hagalig’ Fund.  Anything you can give is so appreciated. Thank you.

Drawn to Darfur Children’s Picture Gallery

Thank you all for your submissions to Joanna Lumley’s Children’s Challenge – Draw a Goat for Darfur.  Winners will be announced soon so do check back on our event page here.  In the meantime please scroll down to view the gallery of pictures drawn by you! And don’t forget to give a goat to a child in Darfur if you can!

Back in 2012 an unique one-off auction of works of art by celebrities from all over the world – DRAWN … TO DARFURraised over £72,000 to help families in Darfur.  The celebrity pictures enabled Kids for Kids to adopt an entire community in Darfur AND build a Kindergarten.   Check out the gallery of fantastic work and see the Goat pictures done by the celebrities – including Joanna Lumley and Head of the Armed Forces no less!  There are pictures by HRH The Prince of Wales, Prime Minister David Cameron, and even The Pope!

Please enjoy these drawings by famous celebrities and explore the complete collection here, then scroll down for the new gallery of pictures drawn by children for Joanna Lumley’s Children’s Challenge – your chance to join in and DRAW…FOR DARFUR! 

Want to support Kids for Kids and make a difference to a child’s life?  Learn all about our Goat Loan and then donate a goat today to improve a child’s health. And to learn how else you can help families during COVID-19 please read Three Things You Can Do Right Now.

Joanna Lumley’s Children’s Challenge: Your 2020 COVID-19 Drawings for Darfur

Ages 6 and Under

Ages 7 – 9 

Ages 10 – 12

Joanna Lumley’s Children’s Challenge – Draw a Goat for Darfur – Free!

Our wonderful Patron Joanna Lumley OBE, challenges children to draw or paint their very own Goat!  Please note: This competition is now closed. All submissions can be viewed here.

Joanna says: “Try to see what a goat really looks like: I copied the dear little creature shown by Kids for Kids, a charity I love with all my heart. Why not join in: do your best and it will be perfect!”


Fun competition during isolation
– Joanna Lumley has drawn the first goat.  Now it’s your turn to get involved!  Get out your pencils, crayons, markers, paint and start creating a lovely little goat of your own. There will be three age groups to enter in:

A) 6 years and under  B) 7 to 9 years, or C) 10 to 12 years.  If you are under 6 years old and would like to colour in a goat, instead of drawing your own, click here to print one off!

First Prize: A Family of Three cuddly Goats
Second Prize: Cuddly Mummy Goat
Third Prize: Cuddly Baby Kid Goat

Deadline for entries: May 29th 2020


Free to enter! 
In fact, you will all be winners because every piece of artwork will be posted on the Kids for Kids Drawn…to Darfur website.   Why Goats?   Because goat’s milk will help build up children’s strength in Darfur to withstand the COVID-19 virus.  Malnutrition is a real threat, and if the virus takes off in Darfur many children will succumb.  Let’s provide as many goats as we can!  And we all love goats!

To learn all about our Goats, click here.  Kids for Kids lends five goats to families in a village and after two years when the small flock has grown, five goats are passed on to help another family in the village. The best investment ever.  You can give a Goat to a child in Darfur by clicking here! 

If you would like to see what else Kids for Kids is doing to stop the virus spreading and help families at this worrying time for us all, see Three Things You Can Do Right Now to make a real difference right now.

How to enter the competition:

Once your goat is finished, make sure to email it to us (scan or JPG please) at contact@kidsforkids.org.uk or send it by post to: Joanna’s Children’s Challenge, Kids for Kids, P.O. Box 456, Dorking, RH4 2WS.  Please do not fold your drawing, and for safeguarding purposes please can you include the below details on a separate piece of paper:

  • Your name – as you would like it to appear with your drawing on our website
  • Your age
  • Name of your School
  • Your address – so we can send the winners their prizes! (Addresses will not be published)

Please note: Submissions will only be accepted via email or post. We will not acknowledge receipt of your submission but you can search for it on our Drawn…to Darfur Gallery here.

On Sunday 26th April, Patricia Parker was interviewed about this competition on BBC Radio Surrey and Sussex:

And…here are some goats in Darfur to inspire your drawings!

URGENT COVID-19 APPEAL FOR SOAP

A PDF of our full Appeal for Soap is available by clicking here.  Please will you send it to your friends and ask them to donate?  This is the most desperate appeal we have ever made and we need your help urgently to provide families with soap. Please also visit our News Page, with updated information about COVID-19 in Darfur.

Prevention and social distancing are the only known ways
to stop COVID-19 from spreading.

There is no health care in villages in Darfur, Sudan, but I believe we can help.  Please will you enable us to provide five bars of soap to each family in the Kids for Kids villages?  We need it right now, if there is to be a chance of making a difference.

We must help to stop the spread as quickly as possible.  We are told social distancing and washing properly with soap and water works.  Soap breaks down the structure of the virus.  We must provide soap, now.  The Government of Sudan is targeting towns and markets, but their message will not reach remote villages.  We can. We also intend to give each family an illustrated instruction sheet showing them how to wash their hands properly.  With so little water this is imperative.  We will of course continue to do all we can to provide more handpumps.  Water has always been our first concern.

£20 will provide 5 bars of soap, illustrated instruction leaflets, and transportation to the village – for 10 families.  Just £380 per village; an average of 225 families in each. There are 105 Kids for Kids villages, but over 900 in Darfur.  Every family needs our help and every single bar of soap will make a difference.  I would appreciate any help you can give by donating soap.

Please watch this video.  Really clear advice from Dr. Clifford Mann OBE, the NHS lead for emergencies, being interviewed by Dr Omar Bagadi, about the implications for Sudan, and the rest of us.  Please look after yourself and your family.  We are not going to be clear of the danger for many months.  The virus has reached Darfur now and people are dying in El Fasher and Mellit towns.  In rural villages of Darfur where water is scarce, where people are struggling to eat, the danger is very real.  We must provide soap – urgently.  And all our other help – if you would like to learn more about our water projects, please click here.

“People ask me how families can isolate in Darfur.  I’m afraid the simple answer is, they cannot.  They eat together, sharing a dish and eating with their right hands.  That is why washing is imperative – and washing properly, not sparingly as is normal because of the absence of clean running water close at hand in any village.  We are doing our best to drill more handpumps but there is a lack of fuel across the whole of Sudan which means the drilling rig cannot move at the moment.  They cannot store food for more than a short time because of the heat and the lack of electricity (fridges etc) so shopping in markets – if they have the money – means again, it is impossible to isolate.”  – Patricia Parker MBE, Founder. 

As you know I have already been asking help to provide goat’s milk for children and eggs for the elderly, to help them build up resistance, as anyone who is malnourished will have even less of a chance against the virus.  But it is equally important to stop the virus now, before it is too late.  Soap will save lives.

Listen here to learn more about our Appeal for Soap as on BBC Radio Sussex, 18th April 2020:

Please donate if you can, at this link here.  To donate from outside the UK, please see our Project Appeal on GlobalGivingVisit our News Page for regularly updated news about COVID-19 in Darfur. Please can you also download our Urgent Soap Appeal as a PDF and send it to your friends asking them to donate?  To learn more about Kids for Kids, please watch this recent interview with Patricia Parker MBE.

And if you prefer to support by sending a cheque, please mark it ‘Soap Appeal’ and send to the following address: Patricia Parker, Kids for Kids, P.O. Box 456, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 2WS

Thank you all so much. For Questions and Press Enquiries please get in touch: contact@kidsforkids.org.uk / 07957 206440

Easter Egg? Send Chickens and Goats Instead!

It is a difficult time to ask the help of our supporters, when we know many of you are facing problems and will be as worried as we are about family and friends. With Easter weekend this weekend, we understand it might be difficult as we cannot be with all our loved ones, and even unable to send them an Easter egg.  However, it is a testament to the love we have for one another that we stay safely in our homes, protecting everyone from this horrible virus.  (We can at least help with your egg problem – see our Easter Certificate below!)

Despite shortages we are facing here in the UK, we are incredibly fortunate compared to those living in Africa, and, especially, in the remote villages of Darfur.  If people are ill they have to rely on rural hospitals. Our Founder, Patricia Parker, visited the hospital at Mallit in February, and was horrified at the lack of even the most basic equipment. There is no chance of a ventilator – there is not even oxygen.  We are planning to take stethoscopes and other basic equipment on our next trip to Darfur, but urgent help is needed now.

So can we help?   Yes – we believe so.   If we can help both young and old to build up their resources and immune systems at this crucial time, they will have more of a chance of withstanding the virus. In the UK we are told it is the elderly who are most at risk. In Darfur, children who are malnourished are extremely vulnerable from even the simplest illness – what hope do they have of withstanding this terrible pandemic?  We are therefore asking for help to enable us to provide families with what they need to build up their strength – through goat’s milk to provide essential protein and vitamins for the children, through eggs from our chickens for the elderly, and through helping families build an income.  “I was shocked at how families were struggling when I was in Darfur in February,” says Patricia Parker, “and now the summer months are almost upon Darfur when conditions will be even worse.  If families cannot afford the essentials, what hope do they have?”

Our Easter Appeal is two fold:  for Chickens for the elderly. Just £15 buys three Hens and a Rooster. Eggs these chickens will lay are a vital food source.  And Goats for Children – £50 for a Nanny Goat – to provide milk full of protein and nutrients needed to improve children’s immune systems right now. You can always give a Donkey too – the 4 x 4 of Darfur!

Please let us know if you would like an Easter Certificate for your gift?  It’s a lovely way of reminding our loved ones we are thinking of them too. More information on how to request a certificate is available here.

 

“Please forgive me for asking for your help when you too – like me – are struggling,” says Patricia. “Isolation is something I am finding very difficult to cope with, but I know there are people far worse off than me.  It is hard remembering all those people whom I met in Darfur in February who were desperate to tell me what a difference Kids for Kids is making in their lives, with our simple but long term projects.  They told me that we are their only hope. I am determined to do my best. Happy Easter and please, stay safe.”

Click here to Give a Goat for a Child and here to give Chickens for the Elderly. Thank you.

DARFUR VISIT – AFTER 9 LONG YEARS ABSENCE

In February of this year Patricia Parker MBE, the Founder and CEO of Kids for Kids, visited Darfur for the first time in nine years. Due to the past Government we have been unable to get visas to enter Sudan since 2011, but because of the change in administration last year and ousting of President Bashir, we are now allowed back into the country. Our small team in Darfur are the reason we have been able to continue our projects in our existing villages, and adopt more every year. Today we are proud to have 100 Kids for Kids villages in Darfur where sustainable projects are helping people to transform their lives.

I would like to invite you to engage with our most recent news, hearing straight from Patricia about her trip to Darfur in ‘News from Darfur’ and learning exactly what Kids for Kids did with your donations in 2019, and our plans for 2020 here.  We have improved our Gift List for 2020, which includes details of all our sustainable projects. As Easter is coming up, we invite you to join in The Real Egg Project and make a real difference to the lives of the elderly living in rural villages by donating chickens. We have started a five year tree planting project in Darfur to ‘Combat Climate Change’, and here you can join us in reforesting the desert. And for other ways to support Kids for Kids, please consider becoming a Regular Giver or Children’s Champion – your support will change lives for years to come. Oh, and if you fancy a hand at winning the Lottery, what better Lottery than the Kids for Kids 100 Club where every ticket you purchase helps improve the lives of children living in extreme poverty in Darfur.

The documents mentioned are included in our 2020 Spring Mailing and Emailing. If you haven’t signed up already for our news mailings, then please get in touch. We only send two mailings a year, and we would love to include you!

2020 Spring Mailing Documents (all in one place!):

Climb Kilimanjaro 2021

The Challenge of a Lifetime: 24th September 2021 to 3rd October 2021

Get sponsored to take on the highest mountain in Africa in aid of Kids for Kids!  Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the largest free standing mountains in the world.  Follow the spectacular Marangu Route to the rocky summit – a popular path with impressive views and wide variety of habitats. This is a very challenging trek at high altitude but the rewards are immense. Marvel at dramatic lava towers, glaciers and ice cliffs along the way. On reaching the ‘Roof of Africa’ as the sun rises, you’ll feel an incredible sense of achievement – not only for accomplishing this incredible trek, but also for all the money you’ll have raised for Kids for Kids!

View the Complete Itinerary here (scroll to bottom of page!)

To take part in this challenge there is a registration fee of £380 and a commitment to raise £3,900 in sponsorship. As the cost of the tour is £2,268, this means £1,632 (or more depending on what wonderful amounts you raise!!)  will go directly to helping children and families in Darfur, Sudan, living in the most unimaginable conditions of poverty. Included in the tour cost is your return flights, accommodation (hotels before and after the trek, camping equipment whilst on the mountain), transfers, full medical support, experienced guides, porters, support team, water and all meals except on one free day!

This challenge is fully supported by Classic Challenge throughout the trip, Here, they show you exactly what is entailed in taking part in this challenge:

If you have any questions about how to raise funds, please take a look at the fundraising ideas on our Get Involved page, or get in touch with us directly at contact@kidsforkids.org.uk.  We would be more than happy to send you promotional materials, and support your fundraising efforts!  Our supporters often find that holding an event to raise funds brings in more money than just simply asking for sponsorship from family and friends.  Why not host a quiz night and charge an entrance fee?!

More information about how to sign up can be found on the Classic Challenges website here. 

Our Achievements – See What We Have Done in 12 Months

“We believe that you should know how we are helping, the difficulties we face, and what we have achieved, with your support.”

–  Patricia Parker MBE Founder and CEO of Kids for Kids

At the beginning of every calendar year we publish a complete list of the projects we carried out in Darfur during the previous 12 months. This allows our supporters to see what their donations have made possible in our now 100 villages.

In 2019 Sudan experienced a mass uprising of people crying for help for the very basics of life. Shortages, even of bread, made people despair.  General Omer Bashir, who held Sudan in an iron grip for 30 years, has been deposed. There is now a civilian Prime Minister, and he is calling for help for his country. Last year was one of the worst years we have known with soaring inflation, restrictions on access to our funds in the bank which has delayed projects, and a serious lack of fuel which has affected every single aspect of life across the entire country.

Despite all this, along with providing our sustainable projects to eight new villages – 14,278 men, women and children, plus supporting the 92 villages we have already adopted – we have launched our five-year Forest Tree Plantation Project. Over the course of five years we plan to plant 6,000 seedlings, rehabilitate three existing community forests and establishing two new community forests in Darfur, Sudan.

For details of what we did this year please read our 2019 Achievements. This document also details our plans for 2020, which include adopting five new villages where we will provide our full package of sustainable projects. More details of what we plan to accomplish this year will be added after February 18th when Patricia Parker returns from programme meetings in Darfur, Sudan – so stay tuned!

Thank you all, so much, for making all that we have accomplished possible. We will only promise help if we can be sure we have the funds needed so if you can support us by committing to give a regular set amount this year, you will allow us to plan ahead.  The support from our Children’s Champion and Regular Supporters is vital to our work. We hope that you will continue your incredible support in 2020, and encourage others to get involved!

Feel free to Contact Us with any questions or to express interest in supporting Kids for Kids in some way. We would love to hear from you.

Live from Sudan – February 2020

Patricia Parker MBE, Kids for Kids Founder and CEO, visited Sudan for the first time in nine year this February. Here we shared live updates from Patricia during her trip.

To read about everything Kids for Kids Accomplished in 2019 and our plans for 2020, please click here.

Patricia’s First Impressions of Darfur After Nine Years

Meeting Ibrahim Again – Wednesday 12th February

“There is so much to tell you – but I have to tell you some most exciting news first …. I met Ibrahim yesterday! He is the little 9 year old whose 7 hour walk across the desert inspired Kids for Kids and has improved the lives of over half a million people. He is tall, good looking – and shy. I met his wife and two of his three little children, his brother and sister – and his lovely mother Asma. It was her extraordinary generosity in offering me their only food – a bowl of goat’s milk – that made me realise we had to try to help. Ibrahim’s eldest is now at our first Kindergarten!  I met too Abdallah Salih who has taught himself English and sends me news astonishingly on FaceBook from their village Um Ga’al. It was my first visit for 17 years.

Meanwhile think of me tomorrow at our Workshop in El Fasher with members of the new Government, who too are determined to help their own people – how refreshing is that! – and, most importantly, representatives from our 100 villages.”

Interviews with Patricia Parker – Monday 10th February

 

Meetings – Monday 10th February

Visit to Dor Fazy Village – Sunday 9th February

Families greeting Patricia and the Kids for Kids team at Dor Fazy Village where the brand new health centre here has just been named for Robin Radclyffe, Patricia Parker’s partner who passed away suddenly last month. Robin was a huge part of the Kids for Kids team and we are happy we can dedicate the health centre to him, creating a lasting memorial in his name – a place that will provide essential and life-saving health services for families for years to come.

Field Visits to Abu Digeis, Majoub A, and Abu Sinait A – Saturday 8th February

 

Congratulating the excellent paravet Nassir for all his hard work looking after the health of the goats and donkeys, which keep the children healthy in Abu Digeis Village. He is exceptional as he also teaches others how to care for the animals, extending our reach beyond our own villages.

Here Nassir is proudly holding his Kids for Kids certificate!

 

 

 

“Our first field trip was grueling, exciting, nostalgic, familiar.  Alastair stayed behind because the FCO ruled it was dangerous – but they appear to treat the whole of Darfur as one. It’s vast. We drove fast bouncing across the tracks in the desert, only slowing for holes and bumps. We saw a big grey ground squirrel running fast and a large mouse with its mouth full. Little flocks of fast moving orange and red birds shot past the car. Abu Digeis was our first village, and met Nassir one of the wisest and best paravets!  We saw the kindergarten built well but needs paint and equipment. But the health centre is as I wanted it – beautiful paint and well kept. The first aid worker and midwives are very proud of their work. We went on to Majoub A where they are building a kindergarten. The community is so proud and the leader Abu Baker was prepared with a list of requests. The Forest was wonderful. Then off to see our first new village: Abu Sinait A where the needs are huge.”

– Patricia Parker MBE, Kids for Kids Founder and CEO

First Full Day in Darfur – Friday 7th February

“Awake in the middle of the night – such a day of emotions. Our first meeting in the Kids for Kids office and a banner ‘remembering Robin’ – and the years rolling back as we start on the first of many briefings about life in Darfur. For the first time in 19 years there is a feeling of freedom, relaxation, and hope. Hope at last.

Afterwards we headed off – back at last to the tree nursery. In 2007 it had been sand, a few empty seed beds and half a dozen trees at the edge. Look at it now. Thousands of tree seedlings grown there then transported to villages to turn them green too. My Demonstration Garden looks as if it has always been there. Do you see the shade ….. in a land turned to hot desert this is a dream for us all. Help us to plant trees. It is not too late. My giant baobab reaching high to the sky speaks for us all. Please give me another.”

Pictures below of Patricia visiting the El Fasher tree nursery that Kids for Kids completely renovated in 2007 – since then we have planted 53,000 trees across North Darfur!  Still going strong producing new seedlings – and a lot of shade. The baobab tree was re-introduced by Kids for Kids to North Darfur in 2007 . They are life-bringers, storing water in the trunks and using their seeds for tabaldi juice – great for blood pressure, and tens of other practical uses.

“Driving through El Fasher was as if the years had rolled back – hot sand, lovely light, the market beginning to come awake. At our little office at the back of the town the guard was an old friend. I felt a little like the queen – smell of new paint everywhere. As we waited for the meeting to start they quietly put up a huge poster commemorating Robin. He would have been in his element – but shocked and embarrassed to be honoured in this way.

Our first meeting could not have been more successful. Praise yes, thanks yes but also a great feeling of optimism with a new Government which has already declared itself determined to help people long term.

My notebook is full of ideas for further ways our help is needed already.  Our challenge is to try to convince people they can talk openly about the hardships they face. The previous Government did not want people to know the problems. We need to be able to find ways to help. Tomorrow we head out to make our first field trip in nine years.”

 

– Patricia Parker MBE, Kids for Kids Founder and CEO

We’re Back! – Thursday 6th February

“My little room in El Fasher. This is light years better than 9 years ago – but I’ve still taken the precaution of putting my universal plug across the hole in the floor. Please no visitors in the night!

Overwhelmed to be here again. Hatim tried to warn me that there might be people to welcome us – but I thought it would only be our wonderful Salim, Hassan and Adam, I had not expected all the ladies, lead by our darling Fowzia. Their messages of condolence were difficult to hear. Fowzia too had lost someone dear to her.

 I was so pleased to see our first supporter and volunteer Ibrahim Hamid HAC Commissioner after 9 long years – and then our old friend Mohammed Sidiq- now with the UN working on the environment and some of his former colleagues from Practical Action. It was so moving.   We’re home!”

– Patricia Parker MBE, Kids for Kids Founder and CEO

Update from Sudan, and the UK! – Wednesday 5th February

“My THREE little grandchildren. Toryn and Oscar and my new little granddaughter born today! Guess where I would like to be!  But it’s the Reception in a moment and I make a big speech to all the Great and the Good.  Our Patron The British Ambassador briefed us on security today and is hosting us at the Residence tonight – in his garden. It is beautiful weather here for me – cold for the Sudanese! Off to El Fasher for meetings with the new State Government friends from 9 years ago – and many many villagers. If only Robin could be with us.”
– Patricia Parker MBE, Kids for Kids Founder and CEO

 

Encouraging Meeting with the new Commissioner of the HAC Sudan – Tuesday 4th February

“We were delighted – but a little apprehensive – to be invited to a meeting by the new Commissioner of the Humanitarian Aid Commission in Khartoum. I need not have worried. HE Abbass Fadelallah already knew about our goat loans and of course Hatim, Alastair and I briefed him on all of our integrated projects. It was exciting, and so encouraging. They are registering new organisations to be run by local people and he would like our Project Implementation Manual in the hope, even if we cannot expand, that others will take up the mantle. For the first time HAC will also deliver humanitarian aid, especially to encourage people who have been displaced from their homes for so long, to return. As he said – they need exactly the sort of package of integrated projects that we provide – not least goat loans!
Tomorrow we travel to Darfur with his blessing.”
– Patricia Parker MBE, Kids for Kids Founder and CEO

 

Arrival in SudanMonday 3rd February

 
“As we set off for Sudan from London, still no visa for me from the Embassy but Khalid Mekki, a friend of long standing, assured us all would be well. Alastair and I flew via Addis Ababa then on to Khartoum. We realised I was at risk of deportation- but there at the airport we were whisked off to the VIP lounge and at last, after nine long years, I am back on the soil of Sudan with Khalid and our wonderful friend Hatim Abu Sineina to greet us. My passport had its visa.

We are staying with Hatim’s family as we have done for so many years in the past and for the first time for days I have slept somewhat better.
 
We are in Sudan at last and today I see Omer Shumeina who has been our Honorary Treasurer for all these years. Without him and Hatim safeguarding our funds, Kids for Kids could not have survived. So much has changed – and so much is the same. I feel as Sleeping Beauty must have felt when she awoke. Robin, who came with me for so many visits, is not here but there are friends awaiting us and soon we head to Darfur.
 
I have spoken to Salim and my plans for a workshop are going ahead. Villagers are filling in my Questionnaire already. But it will not be easy. Security is volatile and the Foreign Office advice is not to go to Darfur – even for essential travel.”
 
– Patricia Parker MBE, Kids for Kids Founder and CEO

2019 GlobalGiving Superstars!

We are pleased to announce that Kids for Kids is a Superstar Organisation going into 2020!

All your kind donations to our projects on GlobalGiving have led to the most magnificent results: a total of $85,056 (roughly £64,845) raised on the platform in 2019!  This amount is a combination of your support giving goats, donkeys, trees, water, and more and $24,618 in Bonus Prizes and Matching Funds generated by the GlobalGiving team throughout the campaigns you all participated in. What a huge amount of essentially free donations that you helped us get!  ….And you know what else?   This total amount raised in 2019 is almost $20,000 more than what we raised on GlobalGiving in 2018  It can’t be said enough – you all are really the Superstars here!

Kids for Kids is proud to be recognised by GlobalGiving with the following badges for 2020:

A huge highlight for Kids for Kids last year was Giving Tuesday on December 5th, where 105 people donated a massive $18,500 in one day alone!  Not only is that huge, but we also received $5,398 from GlobalGiving in matching funds and $5,000 from an anonymous donor who matched donations up to that amount at 100%!  That meant a total of $28,898 (just over £22,000) raised in ONE DAY on GlobalGiving! Can you believe it?! It was the best Giving Tuesday Kids for Kids has ever seen and we are so eager to do even better in 2020.

We must also thank our fantastic regular donors, who have committed to support Kids for Kids by giving a fixed amount of their choosing every month through GlobalGiving.  Regular donations are the lifeblood of Kids for Kids as they provide an amount that we know we can count on, and therefore allows us to plan ahead for our projects. In 2020 GlobalGiving will be matching new monthly donations at 100%, after they have been active for 4 months. This means if you commit to giving $50 every month, after 4 months you will have given Kids for Kids $250 – with the last $50 being an added bonus from GlobalGiving! Any amount you can spare each month would be greatly appreciated in 2020 as we support our eight newly adopted villages in Darfur, as well as focus on our 5 Year Tree Planting Project. Set up your monthly donation here! 

We are so thankful to you all for continuing to support our work through everyday donations as well as participating in the GlobalGiving Bonus Days and Week-long Campaigns. In 2020 there are Four Campaigns that we are eager to take part in, which are listed below for your convenience.  As you can see from the above information these dates are hugely worthwhile!  Thank you.

Campaign Dates for your Diary:

  • March 23-27: Little by Little Campaign (Donations of up to $50 per donor are matched at 50%)
  • September 14-18: Little by Little Campaign
  • December 1st: Giving Tuesday (More info to come)

To visit our Projects on GlobalGiving, please click here.  Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information and updates about the above campaigns nearer the time.