Patricia Parker MBE (Founder) and Alastair King-Smith (Trustee) aim to visit Darfur and Khartoum at least twice a year, despite ongoing insecurity in the region, which has resulted in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advising against all travel to Darfur. They sit with villagers and hear about their lives.
Since 2012 we have our own office in El Fasher, the regional capital, where our Programme Manager and Project Officer – both Darfurians – work directly with villagers to make sure everything goes where it is intended. They are in daily contact with Patricia via email and Skype. Our database is key to ensuring that everything we provide goes to those in need. It contains the names and details of every beneficiary. Funds are only allocated once approved by Patricia and on the production of a minimum of three competitive quotations. Receipts and invoices are scanned and sent to the UK via the internet. There is a dedicated team of volunteers in Darfur made up of village leaders who have formed the Kids for Kids Steering Committee, which is registered by the Humanitarian Aid Commission in El Fasher, which implements the projects and ensures the accountability of each community. It is this detail which makes the difference and ensures that funds not only do not go astray, but that the projects they are intended to provide are long lasting. The result is that Adam Sebil, village leader in Azargarfa said with confidence “There is no malnutrition in Azargarfa”.
“People do not ask us for help” explains Patricia “they don’t want to disappoint us if we cannot help them. What I do is ask them about their lives and help them identify ways which will enable them to improve their own lives. I do not believe in charity, but I do believe in helping families help themselves”.
KIDS FOR KIDS was launched in Khartoum, Sudan on 8th March 2001, before the conflict erupted. It was started by Patricia Parker after a short, but life changing visit to Darfur with her son “To see how children were living”. “I still remember the shock at bouncing across the desert in a 4 x 4 and seeing the distant figure of a little boy. What was a 9 year old child doing alone in the middle of the desert? Although it was only March, the Spring of the year, drought was already taking a terrible toll. This small boy was walking seven hours to reach water, and then carrying it back to his family. This would be an intolerable burden for anyone, and is unacceptable for a child. There is water under Darfur, if only you an afford to drill for it. It was even worse, when you realise that the main aid agencies were there but were doing nothing about it. Someone had to.”