What would you like for Christmas?

Christmas is coming and every child in the west is excited – but in Darfur it has been the worst year we have ever known.   Children live in conditions of almost total deprivation and this year they have been hungry too. Failed harvest and the highest inflation in the world meant we have been doing all we can to prevent catastrophes by providing, not just emergency food, but also seeds for food for next year.

What is every child’s dream for Christmas in Darfur this year?   A goat of course!

Give a Goat to transform children’s health and empower women in a region that is in desperate need of help.  Goat’s milk is precious – it is full of protein, minerals and vitamins that mothers cannot afford to give their children in any other way.  Children make great shepherds in Darfur and love their goats.

Let’s see if we can make their dreams come true.

Christmas_Letter

Goats_Empowering_Women

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Receiving her goats Kheirban B (2)

5 Nanny goats

£250.00
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A Billy goat

£66.00
Goat and little boy

A Goat

£50.00
goat and mother and child

A Goat Loan

£272.00
jerrycan

2 jerry cans

£18.00
Mosquito net provided by Kids for Kids

2 Mosquito Nets

£18.00
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A Donkey

£65.00
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Crossbred donkey

£150.00

Terry rises to a Challenge in one of the most difficult years in Darfur

Last month, Terry Neale cycled the 53 miles from London to Brighton to raise funds for Kids for Kids.  That was challenge enough but on top of that he raised a staggering £2,149 – fantastic!  Patricia Parker MBE, CEO and Founder of Kids for Kids said, “It is such a delight to have Terry supporting our work.  This time he has gone above and beyond!  There is so much preparation that goes into a challenge like this, plus the fundraising, and to raise so much is just brilliant and so important now when children are so hungry. What he has raised means we can provide 47 families with an Urgent Need Package of flour and seed that will not only feed them now until the harvest but they will have seed to plant for next year too.   So grateful!”

Sponsored events make up a large amount of the total funds that come in, and are incredibly important to our work because every single penny goes directly to helping children in Darfur.  Are you interested in taking on a challenge? Is there something you’ve wanted to do but haven’t had the opportunity or courage yet?! Check out our Challenge Ideas  or get in touch if you have an idea of your own! We are happy to support you and publicise your fundraising work in any way we can.

Below, Terry shares with us his experience taking on this fantastic cycling challenge.  It is sure to inspire!

“In an impulsive moment in May this year, I decided I would do the London to Brighton bike ride to raise money for Kids for Kids. At least I was not so impulsive to rush into it.  I needed time to prepare, so opted for the September ride instead of the bigger one in June. Luckily for me, the weather for my ride was perfect. Cloudy but mild without any rain and very little wind – just a bit of a headwind on the the last part. The June one was in the middle of a heatwave – phew! A lucky escape.

I had no formal training plan or schedule to prepare for the ride although there is an elaborate scheme on the organiser’s website. It looked fine if you were some sort of highly organised fanatic but I decided to just do what I could. This involved a lot riding on the exercise bike at home much to the bemusement of my wife as the times got longer and longer. At least it is possible to listen to music or read on an exercise bike but a bit hazardous on the road.

I joined a local cycling club and went out with them a couple of times before the ride. It became clear on the first ride that the old mountain-bike I had been lent was not exactly ideal. It was very heavy and had to go. I managed to get a used bike from a local cycle shop which was made of carbon fibre and hence very light – which came in very handy not only for the ride but also at the end – as you will see.

The day before the ride, I discovered that my plan to take the bike on the train from my home in Brighton to Clapham Junction and then cycle to the start on Clapham Common (an extra two miles – aaargh!) was not going to be possible. The train companies decided to ban all bikes on trains out of all stations near Brighton up as far as Gatwick on the day of the ride! Wife to the rescue and Susie was kind enough to get up early on a Sunday morning and take me, and the bike, to Redhill for a train at 7.07.

I arrived at the start at about 08.00 with some trepidation. Would I be able to keep going to the end? How fast should I ride? If I went too fast initially, I might run out of steam later. Would there be so many riders that accidents were going to happen? Jockeying for position was not something I had trained for. There certainly seemed to be plenty of riders getting ready to set off. We had been told there was no starting order and, as long as we got going between 06.30 (yes, really) and 09.00, that was all that mattered.

We were released in small groups due to the car traffic still flowing around the common and I ended up with a bunch of riders wearing the same shirts – except me, of course. As we wound our way out of London, we got more and more strung out – and not just on the road. After 10 miles, there was a welcome water stop where those who had not had anything for breakfast could get a snack and hot drink. As I had eaten an enormous breakfast and couldn’t even contemplate eating any more, I had a quick breather, and some water, and I was on my way.

I soon saw my first accident – a young woman had not seen a rather indistinct curb and come off her bike. She appeared to have landed quite heavily on her knees. There were plenty of people around her to help so I pressed on.

Another water stop was available after 17 miles and I have no recollection of it at all – must have been concentrating!

A few miles further and there was another accident – a man had come down a steep descent and skidded on the gravel scattered on the road as it turned to go through a railway bridge. I think he must have hit the wall. Again, he had support around him so I carried on with a vivid image of his gravel-embedded grazes in my mind. A timely reminder to watch out for changes in the road surface which generally seemed to have been set up by the Highways Department as a challenge. What is a slight bump in your car is a real hazard on a bike.

After 30 miles, the lunch stop appeared at last! Even though it was still before 11.00, everyone was hungry! I would have got going again sooner but couldn’t resist the choice of puddings (how unlike me, I hear you say!) and joined a lengthy queue. Suitably stuffed, I set off again. Only 24 miles to go – including the dreaded Ditchling Beacon, a mile-long grind up a steep gradient, just on the outskirts of Brighton and after 44 miles of riding.

I had twice ridden out of Brighton up the hill to the top of Ditchling Beacon, down the other side and then attacked the ascent as a practice for the ride – part of my detailed training regime. I made it up on both occasions but that was not after riding 44 miles. I was far from certain I could do it without getting off and walking. The road started to ascend and I heard a young woman call out to her friend “Is this it?” I cheerfully called out “Yes, but it gets steeper!”. Didn’t seem to go down well. The further up I went, fewer and fewer riders were still on their bikes. It did seem to go on forever. Slowly (very slowly!), I crawled up to the top. What a feeling of achievement! I made it in one! A couple of bottles of water, a quick text to my family and huge crowd of supporters (3) to let them know when I was going to finish and I was off again. Nearly all downhill from here.

On the home straight along Marina Drive, a man came up alongside and, for no discernible reason, started to tell me his life story. He seemed very proud to have finished the ride at the ripe old age of 54. I felt it would be unkind to tell him I was 68 and accepted the fact that he must have thought I was younger than he was with grace.

A bit of a sprint towards the finish line and it was finally all over. My cheering family were just beyond the line and I thoughtfully pulled over to do my Lewis Hamilton impersonation and give them all a hug. Unfortunately, a lady on her bike was just behind me and didn’t seem to expect me to stop. She just managed to stop in time but didn’t seem impressed. Little could spoil my feeling of elation, however, and I quickly dismounted to go in search of some amber liquid refreshment. The end of a memorable day!”    Terry Neale

 

Please get in touch if you would like any help setting up your own fundraising challenge!

Archbishop of Wales Honours Kids for Kids

Patricia Parker MBE, Kids for Kids Founder and CEO, was welcomed to Brecon Cathedral on Saturday 15th for a Service honouring the charities chosen to benefit from the Archbishop’s 2018 Lent Appeal. The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies,  welcomed representatives from Faith in Families, Hay, Brecon & Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees, and Carers Wales,for the service celebrating the World Mission of the Church and – Kids for Kids! – affirming their Commitment to Service.

“I was thrilled the Archbishop chose to support Kids for Kids this year,” said Patricia Parker. “It has been one of the hardest years in Darfur that I have ever known.  Families endure lives of enormous deprivation but when drought and famine hit them they have little resilience. The magnificent sum of £2,466. 50 raised by the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon during their Lent Appeal for all the churches in the diocese has enabled us to help families in dire need who have had no access to food all year. What a beautiful service.    It was a privilege hearing about the amazing work carried out by the other charities too.   Thank you everyone in Wales.   A special thank you to the Reverend Paul Shackerley, Dean of Brecon Cathedral, for recommending Kids for Kids to The Bishop.   This means a great deal to me”.

If any church would like to support Kids for Kids this Harvest Season, we would be thrilled to hear from you. Do read our Harvest Appeal to find out more about why families need our help right now during the Hungry Months.

 

Totnes Churches Help Children in Darfur

On Sunday 16th September, St John’s Church in Totnes held a service in aid of Kids for Kids at St Mary’s Church, welcoming Patricia Parker MBE, Founder and CEO, as guest speaker. A great supporter over the years, Liz Waterson, has encouraged St John’s to hold numerous collections for Kids for Kids and this weekend was particularly special. “It was beautiful” Patricia said. “Members of the Church and congregation read out the prayers from all corners of this beautiful historic church, creating a powerful atmosphere,  and bringing together people to help change the lives of children in Darfur who are completely forgotten.”

It is truly perfect timing for St Mary’s and St John’s to announce their support for Kids for Kids. Children in Darfur are living through what locals call The Hungry Months because there is rain but no food. After suffering famine all year, there will still not be a harvest for a few more months, if there is one at all. We have been providing Urgent Need Packages for families who have been worst-hit by the famine to ensure that no child starves.  Do take a moment to read the beautiful prayer below, written for Kids for Kids and the children of Darfur.

Funds raised will enable us to provide food immediately to families who have nothing at all to eat, as well as continue adopting new villages in Darfur and bringing our sustainable projects to more communities in need.

If your church is interested in supporting Kids for Kids during the Harvest Season, we would be very grateful. Do read more about The Hungry Months, and see our 2018 Harvest Appeal. Please get in touch if you would like a copy of the above prayer leaflet or have any questions: contact@kidsforkids.org.uk / 07528 194495.

NCS students work with Bucks Goat Centre

We were delighted to learn that students from National Citizen Service (NCS) in Aylesbury Vale were supporting Kids for Kids with their fundraising activities in July.  It was all happening in conjunction with the Bucks Goat Centre, who adopted us as their charity earlier this year and told the students about us.  We are so grateful to their inspired leader Ruth Gaisford for her inspired leadership.

NCS aims to shows young people the significant impact they can make by getting involved in their local community, with a ‘Social action week’ as part of the three week experience.  As well as volunteering at the Bucks Goat Centre, the students raised funds for Kids for Kids over three days, as NCS Project Worker, Nathalie Hogg told us: “They held cake sales and completed a sponsored walk to raise money. They also painted a Hungry Caterpillar themed mural at the Goat Centre in Aylesbury as their volunteer project and managed to get all of their paint donated!  The young people have all worked so hard this summer and it’s great for them to see their hard work pays off!”

The students were formally awarded their certificates at a graduation and awards ceremony in front of their family and friends at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on 12th September. Ruth Gaisford from Bucks Goat Centre was presented with a giant cheque for £833.70 on behalf of Kids for Kids.

The Bucks Goat Centre in Stoke Mandeville is very child focused, encouraging visits from many primary schools and over the Summer holidays they held a Charity Week with a colouring competition that raised funds for Kids for Kids.

We are so grateful to all the students for their hard work in achieving this fantastic result and to Ruth for helping make this happen, as well for all the support she and the Bucks Goat Centre are giving Kids for Kids.

Ampelos Trust continues Ruth Rendell’s support

We were honoured to recently receive more support from the Ampelos Trust, with a generous grant for £5,000 towards our work in Darfur.

The Trust was set up in memory of Baroness Rendell of Babergh CBE, – Ruth Rendell the well known author,  an active supporter and Patron of Kids for Kids, who is greatly missed.  She was particularly passionate about eradicating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which is still common in many countries, including Sudan. One of the consequences of FGM is obstructed labour during childbirth, making it important that trained medical help is available.

Thanks to the generosity of Ruth and many others towards our Village Midwives Training projects, there are now nearly 300 Kids for Kids midwives helping to make childbirth safer in the villages.  A recent field report on a group of 16 of our midwives showed that those alone have safely delivered 4,264 healthy babies. Not one mother died.   Our midwives educated mothers who have had their help in the dangers not only of having themselves resown but make sure their daughters do not also suffer FGM. Because our midwives are local women, respected in their own communities, their teaching of the dangers of FGM is believed and in these villages, it is a dying tradition.

The Ampelos Trust has continued the support given to us by Ruth and has helped to make an enormous difference to what Kids for Kids has been able to do in transforming children’s lives and empowering the poorest of women.

We are especially grateful to them.

You can see a video of Ruth talking about her support for Kids for Kids here.

Ruth Rendell at the House of Lords during a meeting with Trustees of Kids for Kids

Summer Weekend helps feed starving children

We were delighted to welcome the crowds who came along to support Patricia’s Open Garden, Summer Fete & Art Exhibition, when she opened her house and garden over the weekend of 10th to 12th August. It was  Patricia’s personal effort to raise enough money to provide food for 100 families and their children, facing famine this summer in Darfur.  “I couldn’t have done this alone.  I cannot thank all the wonderful volunteers who came to support me.   You were amazing, particularly when we struggled to put up the tent in the driving rain! But it was all worthwhile.   The sun shone and your help gave everyone a wonderful day, and between us we will be spending nearely £3,500 on emergency food to help children right now.  Thank you so very much.  I couldn’t have done it without you!”

Visitors were able to enjoy the range of stalls and explore the gardens in the sunshine, while 100 original works of art were on display in the house. “It was fabulous to have so many people join us” said Patricia. “Knowing the suffering that is taking place in the remote Darfur villages, I just had to do something and to see so many others who felt the same was truly heart-warming.”

While our work focuses on sustainable grassroots projects that enable families and communities to help themselves, the failed harvest for the second year running means we are currently providing Emergency Aid for the first time ever. “Without this help, children will die”,  said Patricia added.

We are pleased to let you know that the total funds raised reached just under £3,500.  “I am so grateful to everyone who helped make this weekend happen.   I think my family and friends thought I was mad!  It is a bit daunting to think that nearly 300 people came here”, Patricia added. “The funds that they and all our lovely stallholders have raised means we will be able to provide a sack of flour for food and bag of seed for planting to 75 families in Darfur, so will be reaching over 400 children. What a fantastic result! However, we still have more to do as many more families are in danger of starvation.”

Our Urgent Need Appeal is continuing to run, as the earliest the next harvest in Darfur will be is still 3 months away and people need help to survive until then. If you would like to support a family at this time of crisis, the Emergency Aid package of flour and seed which costs £45 for a family, can be donated here.

If you would like to buy one of Patricia or Robin’s paintings we will be posting them on this site.

The Thomas Brothers Ride for Goats!

Kids for Kids supporters and avid cyclists Jamie and Patrick Thomas took part in the Prudential RideLondon to Surrey on 29th July.  Cycling 100 miles in total, the route began at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, went through central London, then down to Surrey’s country roads and the stunning Surrey Hills. Jamie and Patrick cycled back to finish on The Mall, managing an incredible time of 5 hours and 47 minutes – and this was including a tyre puncture!  What an astounding effort by them both.

Jamie and Patrick raised a grand total of £1,424 for Kids for Kids between them. We are beyond thrilled!   This amount will be enough to provide 16 families with Urgent Care Packages, ensuring that they do not starve during the current famine.  The rains have just begun in Darfur but these are arguably the worst months of the year, and called  ‘The Hungry Months’  by the villages we support.  Families are now planting for the harvest but many do not have any seed because they had to eat it earlier in the year when they ran out of food because the previous harvest only produced 10% of what should have been. These packages, which include 90kg of flour, a goat, and 15 kilos of ground nuts for the animals, will save lives.

Thanks to the astounding effort of Jamie and Patrick Thomas in both their fundraising and this challenging event, we are able to ensure many children in Darfur will not starve.  You are brilliant!

We have two spaces secured in the Prudential RideLondon 100 for 2019 – are you interested? Do get in touch to register your interest, or visit our Challenges Page to see what other events you could take part in!

 

 

 

Ambassador to Sudan becomes new Patron

We are delighted to announce that H.E. Mr Irfan Siddiq OBE, H.M. Ambassador to Sudan since April this year, is now a Patron of Kids for Kids.

Irfan Siddiq was born and raised in London and entered the United Kingdom’s Diplomatic Service in 1998 after graduating with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University.

He has worked in the Foreign Office in London on NATO issues, as Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary and as Head of the Arab Partnership Department, leading the UK’s response to the Arab Spring. He has had diplomatic postings to New Delhi, Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus. His first position as an Ambassador was to Azerbaijan in 2013. He has also spent time outside the FCO on secondments to the US State Department in Washington and to Plan International, an NGO working on children’s rights.

We are grateful for his invaluable support which will make a big difference to how we can help children in Darfur.

 

 

Ambassadors’ Ball 2018 saves lives

Our fabulous Ambassadors’ Ball at the Hyatt Regency – The Churchill Hotel on 19th May was a sell-out and made a profit of an amazing £18,864!

We are so grateful to everyone who came on the night and helped make it such a success, as well as to all those who supported the Ball by donating prizes, sponsorship and advertising.  Every one of you made a difference.    Thank you too to the staff of The Churchill who looked after us wonderfully.

We are delighted to share some photos from the evening below.  Many more are available to buy online from www.antoniapenia.com/kidsforkids.  Antonia Peña, our lovely photographer, very generously donated her time again, and is now giving 30% of any photos you may buy to Kids for Kids – so do see how beautiful everyone looked!

Everything we raised from the Ball is helping children and families in Darfur who are facing starvation this year. Thanks to everyone who supported the Ball we are going to be able to save 1,284 children (and their animals) from the prospect of starvation from now until the rains come, PLUS we will be providing each of their families with a sack of seed, so they will have something to plant next year.   We always try to prevent disasters – and without seed,  yet more children will face starvation next year.   It is an horrific scenario.  Depending on the donations we receive, we are also planning to provide even more goats, so there is milk/protein for the children.  With soaring inflation and the devaluation of the Sudanese pound people cannot afford protein in any other form.

Our Ambassadors’ Ball is helping us make a great difference to so many, but, sadly, we still have a long way to go to prevent starvation in Darfur over the coming months.  Our initial target is to give help to 3,000 families, so your support to help us reach this is needed more than ever.  Each ‘package’ of flour, supplementary food for animals and a goat costs £88.   Seed for planting is an additional £15.   You can donate to our Urgent Need Appeal here.

Our wonderful Ball sold out really early this year so a date for your diary – Saturday 8th June 2019!

 

School Children Set an Example!

School Children have an incredible ability to raise crucial funds to help others – and the best ideas of how to do so!  Over the years, Patricia Parker MBE Founder and CEO of Kids for Kids has given many presentations to eager children who are willing to learn, connect, and take action. We have seen some incredible fundraising ideas, some of our favourites being: cake bakes, crazy hair days, summer and Christmas fairs, sponsored walks for water, garage sales and of course, a real favourite – selling smoothies during the summer months!  Children can do so much to raise funds because every penny counts to families in Darfur who have nothing.

Many schools have adopted Kids for Kids as their long term project, knowing that we are fanatical about spending the maximum possible on the ground in Darfur, not on overheads.  We are determined that every pound raised, often with real personal effort, makes a real and lasting difference to children in desperate need.  Schools that continue to support us include Southbank International School, Hampstead; St Paul’s School, Dorking; KICS, Khartoum; Bishop Thomas Grant School, London; Edgeborough School, Farnham; Worth School, Turners Hill; Queens Gate School, London; Cheam School, Newbury,  and more.

We welcome invitations to come to speak personally to students so they can have an unique chance to learn how children their own age live in Darfur.   Patricia has been delighted to speak recently to two exceptional schools. The first was morning assembly at St Swithun’s School Winchester at the invitation of Chaplain Paul Wallington,  where 500 students and their teachers learnt about the work that Kids for Kids does helping children in Darfur who have no hope.  The girls will be selecting three charities to support in the coming academic year, 2018-19.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that Kids for Kids will be their international choice.   Children face famine this year.   We need all the support possible.

The second school Patricia visited was Dunottar School Reigate where she met the school charity committee.   Patricia said  “What an inspiring group of young people – it was such a pleasure seeing their enthusiasm and empathy with others so far away, leading very different lives.” We are delighted to hear they are organising a Mufti Day and Rounders Match in support of Kids for Kids!

These are only two of the visits Patricia has been making to schools in England. Back in January she presented the work of Kids for Kids to the City of London School, where the students had previously raised over £86,000 to support the charity. Patricia was able to tell the students exactly how the money they raised was spent, and how many people they have helped, and will continue to help, through the charity’s sustainable long-term projects.  There is now a village and a new kindergarten in Darfur adopted by City of London Boys, and named after the school as a permanent reminder.     No other school has – so far! – done so much in such a short time.  Thank you everyone at City of London.

It is rare for a charity to be able to account for every penny a school raises, and even rarer for the Founder of a charity to be able to speak to a school. Learning about Darfur from Patricia’s first-hand experience is a very special treat for children who are just exploring the world’s many charitable causes.

“It is so rewarding showing children how others, their own age, are living, so far away! Patricia said. “These are the next generations who will be able to truly change the situation in places like Darfur. No one is too young to make a difference.”

If you would like to invite Patricia to speak to your school, please get in touch! We want to show as many children as possible the situation in Darfur and what children in the UK can do to help.  contact@kidsforkids.org.uk

 

Beavers’ Water Relay Challenge

Children from the 24th Cheltenham Beaver Scouts found out just how hard it can be to carry water long distances, when they held a Water Relay Challenge in aid of Kids for Kids last month.

As part of their ‘My World Challenge’ badges, the Beavers had learnt about Darfur and the impoverished conditions in which so many of the children there live, including the long daily walk that they must make to fetch water. Once the Beavers heard of the difficulties children faced in Darfur, they were keen to help raise awareness and funds to support the work of Kids for Kids.

So, on the 21st February, 24 children and their Leaders braved the cold weather of the UK to take part in their Water Relay Challenge.  Daniel Hortop, Beaver Scout Leader, said “The Water Relay was fun, but it had a very serious side too.  The Beavers were shocked to find out there were children about the same age as them who actually couldn’t go to school and have an education, because they were having to spend so long each day to get something as basic as water.  We knew that once they heard about it, they would want to help in some way.  And we were really proud of the way they took on the Challenge we set them.”

We are so grateful to all those who took part and gave such fantastic support to our work.  Congratulations to the Beavers for all their effort which, we are delighted to report, has already raised over £600.  There is still time to donate to the Water Relay Challenge by visiting their on line donation page here.

If you or your group would be interested in holding your own water fundraiser to give help to children in Darfur and their families, please get in touch: contact@kidsforkids.org.uk  or 07971001904.