Empowering Women

Hassina is 40 years old and has six children, three of them under the age of five. Last year there was drought in Darfur, which meant Hassina and her family had very little food to eat, and sometimes went days without any food at all. With no food, no way to earn an income, and the closest source of water miles away, Hassina has not been able to send her children to school.  Her youngest daughter is malnourished. Lack of nutrients at such an early age, when children are still growing, can be devastating. The colour of her hair has turned from dark to light because of the absence of protein.  This is just one of the visible signs, but with no help, she is at risk of suffering physical and cognitive impairment for her whole life.

“When it rains I can grow millet, okra, vegetables, watermelon, ground nuts, and sesame” says Hassina. “My family can eat these items and sell some to purchase other food. When it does not rain I cannot get milk or meat for my children, and we must eat very poor food.  Now we have been eating assida, which I make from sorghum and haven’t had anything to add to it.   No milk, no vegetables and no meat.   I worry for my children’s health.”

Earlier this year, in addition to focusing on providing aid to help families in our villages suffering famine, Kids for Kids was also able to adopt five new villages in Darfur. Hassina’s village, Teiga, was selected, and Hassina was named one of our first generation beneficiaries.

2018 has been a year that Hassina will remember forever. After completing inception meetings in Teiga village, animal husbandry training took place where Hassina and all the other beneficiaries were taught how to care for the goats and donkeys, keep them in good health, and identify any illness or injury.

Hassina has now been loaned five goats and given a donkey and farm tools to help increase the amount of land she can cultivate, plus two mosquito nets and two blankets.  She was too poor to replace the plastic jerry can she had used for collecting water and had been sharing her neighbours, but that meant sharing the water too.   It is hard to think of families so desperately short of water in the heat and sand of Darfur.  We also now provide two jerry cans for each of our beneficiary families.  In addition Hassina will be sharing the use of a donkey plough with two other families so they can cultivate more land, enabling them to grow vegetables as well as the basic crop of sorghum, and, because billy goats are now so expensive we provide a good billy goat to be shared between them too.

With these basic essentials, Hassina will be able to provide goat’s milk for her children, ensuring they are no longer malnourished, and sell excess milk and yogurt. It takes just one cup of goat’s milk a day to transform the health of a child.  As her little flock grows she will be able to build up an income for herself – something beyond her wildest dreams.  It is planting season now, so when at last she has a harvest, she will also be able to sell any excess she grows at the market.  Hassina is now able to plan for her family.  Her priority is education for her children and she will now be able to send them all to school. Our help is enabling her to help herself and her family, improving their lives long term.  Hassina, and other mothers like her, show us every day exactly why what Kids for Kids does is so important.

Hassina is just one of the women that has been chosen as a first-generation beneficiary in our five new villages.  Each community has democratically identified the families (15% of the total families in each village) that will benefit first from Kids for Kids projects. 154 women across these five villages have now been given a package of basic essentials just like Hassina: Goats for milk, a donkey as the only transport, blankets to keep warm in the cold desert nights, farm tools to cultivate more land, mosquito nets to prevent malaria, and more. These items will enable them to begin helping their families out of poverty and changing their futures.   The community also selected those volunteers that will become midwives, paravets and first aid workers, providing sustainable help to the whole village.   Childbirth is no longer something to be feared.

Now that Hassina and her friends have ‘household assets’ and are able to earn an independent income, they have status and at last are listened to in village meetings. Hassina no longer wakes up each day with the fear of not knowing how she will provide food for her children to eat.   Who would think that goats, blankets, farm tools and the other simple things Kids for Kids provides with your help, could change women’s lives so dramatically?    Hassina is looking forward to the future, not just for herself, but for her daughters too!

Your support is making it possible for people like Hassina to create a better life for herself and for her children. If you are interested in supporting our projects that empower women, please visit our Gift List to choose what you would like to donate. If you are outside the UK and would like to support Kids for Kids, please visit our project on Global Giving.

By supporting and sharing our work, you can help us help more women to feel empowered, giving them the tools to change their futures for good.

The Hungry Months Are Here

Right now it is what are frighteningly called ‘The Hungry Months’ in Darfur, but this year people have been facing starvation for many months.  Thankfully the rains have started.   After drought and a failed harvest, families that have managed to save seeds, are beginning to plant, but, this year, the drought has been so extreme that many families have had no alternative but to eat seeds they should be planting.  We have to help.

Darfur is a place of extremes: the rain, which is so needed, also causes floods, sometimes flash floods, which sweep away people, their animals and the new seeds. In one village four children were drowned recently because, having no experience of deep water, they had no idea that there was a large crater dug to make bricks.  No one can swim in Darfur.  When the rains halt, the standing water brings mosquitoes. In a country where malaria is still the biggest killer, we have to ensure there are mosquito nets available for children and their parents.

For many families this is the most challenging time of year, when there is rain but no harvest as yet. The grass is beginning to grow and the animals will at last have fresh food – our goats will produce kids, and milk for the children to drink.  Kids for Kids’ goats are more important now as many children will have had no protein for many months. It will be another three months before people will have anything they can harvest and then have food to eat, and hopefully a surplus to sell for other essentials.

We need to continue to provide our Urgent Need Packages to those that are worst off, especially to ensure they have something to eat for next year.

It is just £30 ($40) for 90 kilos of sorghum flour which will last a family for the next three months; £16 ($21) to provide Two Large Mosquito Nets to keep a family safe from malaria during this dangerous time of year; and £15 ($20) for One Sack of Seed that can be planted immediately.            If families receive no help, the situation will become even worse.

Could you please consider donating today?  Help us help as many families as possible through our website, mailing us a cheque,  Global Giving, or another method of donation. Thank you.

The worst year ever in Darfur?

During our recent Programme Meetings with our Darfur team we were shocked to learn of the extent of the failed harvest which means families, particularly those in out of sight villages, have nothing to eat until the next harvest – which is not due until the rains come in late summer. The result is famine. Yet the world has not responded to a call for aid. We must help. We are not an emergency aid organisation, but the thought of families struggling, and children, and their animals too, dying, is appalling. We are already sourcing flour and fodder, plus seed for families to plant for next year. Please can you help?  You can donate to our Urgent Need appeal here.

To see how we will be tackling what are some of the most challenging times that villages in Darfur have ever had to face since Kids for Kids started in 2001, please take a look at the following links. The links include information on the current situation and how we are planning to help. There is news of what has been happening at Kids for Kids over the last year, all the different ways that you can get involved now to give your support, and invitations to our Events.

Those of you who have joined us will know what treats are in store! This year they range from a Spring Supper and Wine Tasting, to our wonderful Ambassadors’ Ball and Candlelit Christmas Concert. I am opening my garden in Surrey to a Summer Caribbean Festival where we will also be holding our Friends Event when I have a chance to give you a full briefing on why Kids for Kids is so different from other charities, and so effective. You will be pleased to hear that our team in Darfur said that our Goat Loans are ‘The Gold Standard’.

We are determined to get help to as many families as possible, in time to avoid the worst ravages of starvation.  Your support was never more needed.  Thank you. Looking forward to seeing you.

Urgent Need: Starvation is a real risk this summer

Urgent Need: Starvation is a real risk for Children in Darfur this Summer.

Summer has barely started, yet temperatures in Darfur are soaring. Children and animals are likely to die if we do nothing. The whole of Darfur is now reported to be in crisis and in those areas where there is no humanitarian aid available, which includes the villages, the level of need is even higher.  This is an emergency.

Please donate to our Urgent Need Appeal now.

Famine Disaster Relief reported as long ago as October last year that areas of Darfur were in crisis even then. Failed harvest, for the second year running, has left people with virtually nothing to enable them to survive the coming months. Combined with soaring inflation and the drastic devaluation of the Sudanese pound to a third of its value, every village is asking for help. Starvation is a real and frightening spectre for the coming months. The Government of Sudan does not normally ask for help, but earlier the Governor of North Darfur called for urgent assistance. This is an indication of just how serious the situation is.

We cannot stand by and do nothing, so we have launched an appeal that will enable us to give help in this emergency. This will be in addition to providing sustainable help through our programme of integrated grass roots projects. Our long experience has shown that enabling people to help themselves, especially to help them diversify from sole reliance on the subsistence crop, with our goats, gives them the resilience to withstand disasters. But even in our villages people are worried. Those with no animals have little chance without help. But not one organisation has responded to the appeal for aid.

One of the problems is making sure families have enough stored food to keep their animals alive throughout the summer, until the rains come. When the harvest fails, the grass is also sparse and it is this which they save and turn into hay, plus crops such as watermelon. I have already asked for a report of which villages are likely to be hit the hardest. The list is long. We need to provide flour for the families and fodder for the animals right now.

Please help now by making a donation –  ‘The Greatest Need’

Donations can be made in set amounts between £10 and £100. If you would like to give more, please transfer online to the Kids for Kids’ account with the reference ‘urgent need’. For more methods of payment, please see How to Donate.

Thank you.

Darfur in ‘crisis’

2018 has not started well for the villages we support in Darfur.

The harvest has failed and we are worried how families will cope.  In fact, Famine Disaster Relief has put out a warning that areas of Darfur are in ‘crisis’.

We have to make sure we are in a position to  provide seed and fodder if needed and so, as we start to plan our projects for 2018, we are asking for help through ‘Donations for the Greatest Need’.

Your support is vital; we cannot just stand by.

Thank you.

New Water Yard opens

We are beyond delighted to announce that we recently completed construction of our Water Yard at the village of Kulkul!

This Water Yard is providing clean water for over 5,000 people who were previously walking up to 7 hours each day just to reach water – but not fresh and clean drinking water. People in Kulkul and the surrounding villages were taking water from unprotected ponds and wells, water that was not clean, and that animals also used. The dam, about 10km away, broke down and there was a real water shortage in Kulkul. “Can you imagine walking even a mile for every drop of water?” said Patricia Parker, our founder. “You have to remember too, that in Darfur temperatures soar in the summer to over 50 degrees. How is it that no other organisation is funding the drilling for water? I simply do not understand it.”

The Water Yard has a submersible pump, meaning that people will drink, wash and cook with clean water that is not a risk of infection. The Water Committee in the village has been trained how to run the generator so that any breakdown can be repaired, and the pump does not sit idle.

This is Naima with her son, Gamar, visiting the water yard at Kulkul. Naima has 8 children- 3 boys and 5 girls, with 4 of her children under the age of 5. Before the Kulkul Water Yard, Naima and her family were walking to the dam 10km away from their village to get unclean water to drink and bathe with. With this new submersible pump in the village, Naima says her family is much healthier, as they have pure and safe drinking water.

We are grateful to our supporters for helping us to in build this incredible Water Yard. Sadly there are many more villages where everyone living in them is forced to walk miles for water. Please help us to improve both the quantity and quality of rural water supplies in Darfur. We have set up a Water Fund so that we have money available as soon as the drill is in North Darfur. We don’t want to delay if there is a chance to change children’s lives so dramatically.

Donkeys For Our New Villages!

We have adopted our five new villages and our beneficiaries have been chosen! It has been an exciting summer. Absharback, Fardal, Geleidat, Um Jadoul, and Hashab Baraka have been adopted and we have held our Inception Meetings with each community to ensure that they understand the importance of democratically electing not just those who will run our projects, but also the beneficiary families. These are the poorest in the community and we now have all the details of the first 15% of the total families in the village who will become our first beneficiaries. It has been shocking learning how little these families have to live on. It is worse this year than ever before.

Our wonderful Project Officer Hassan in Darfur has put together the table below which outlines the way in which we determine how many donkeys we need for each benefitting family in the village. You can see that 15% of the households will be receiving a Donkey! Can you imagine what this means to a family whose total income for the year is less than £80.

Target 5 villages 2017
# Village name population children hh 15% Total Donkeys
1 Absharback 1375 700 215 32 32
2 Fardal 1559 841 265 39 39
3 Geleidat 999 587 171 26 26
4 Hashab Baraka 1631 874 233 35 35
5 Um Judoul 1114 616 186 28 28
  Total 6678 3618 1070 160 160

We will be buying these donkeys in the markets as close to the villages as possible, and along with the donkeys, Kids for Kids will be providing vaccinations, branding, and a shepherd who will be bringing the donkeys to the villages, giving them food and water on the way. Each Donkey costs £60 and with the additional necessities listed, our total spend needed for these 160 Donkeys will be just over £5,000. Here is where we need your help! Donkeys are so important to families in Darfur because they are the only form of transport, carrying water, firewood, and people. We want to get them to our families as soon as possible.

Can you support us provide these 160 families with a donkey each? Every penny helps us get closer to our goal, there is no amount too small.

New Trees Planted at our Kindergarten in Um Ga’al!

 

Such wonderful news from our very first village Um Ga’al, where baby trees have been planted at the new Kindergarten! You’ll remember Ibrahim, the 9 year old boy Patricia met in the desert of Darfur over 16 years ago walking hours to get drinking water for his family. Well now his village has a Kindergarten and beautiful new trees planted just as the rains are starting. Thank you so much to everyone who has made all this possible.

Last year in Um Ga’al there were floods, which washed everything away, and showed us just how harshly climate change is affecting this region of the world. Darfur is experiencing drastically changing conditions, with desert creep a prime example as the Sahara spreads south. It is so important that we are paying attention to the realities and doing all we can to help those living at the forefront of global warming. Planting these trees will be instrumental in holding back the desert, and of course providing shade to the children at Kindergarten!

We are so hoping we can build another Kindergarten this year in another one of our Kids for Kids villages. Please can help us achieve this? Children everywhere deserve an education. You can adopt a whole Kindergarten and have it named after you but no donation is too small. Something you might be interested in is becoming a Children’s Champion and choosing Education as your special project. We are inviting you to commit to a three year’s guaranteed support which means we can plan ahead. Childrens Champions Leaflet 2017 FINAL (002)

 

The long awaited rains arrive!

At last the rain has come in Darfur, but it is not too soon for families in Hashab Barakat, one of the five villages we have adopted this year.  After two years of drought people are desperate.   This is the first time we have heard of so many families asking for help to buy a jerry can. They are vital for life in Darfur – jerry cans are the only way to carry water from the water supply to home–something we don’t even have to think about where we have clean water on tap. Without a container, water, a basic essential, cannot be carried and stored. It is worrying that families in 2017 do not even have enough money for jerry cans. Can we ask your help this month to provide 2,000 emergency jerry cans to villagers?  

Good news, following our last report in May, we are delighted to announce the opening of the first Kids for Kids mini water yard and submersive water pump in the village of Kulkul.  The pump has taken two years to complete and has the capacity to produce 1,000 gallons an hour – this will be life changing for the families living in Kulkul and the neighbouring villages.  Kulkul has suffered very much from a severe shortage of water.  Many families have been walking 20 miles to reach a handpump.  Now Kids for Kids has intervened to solve the problem to produce safe drinkable water for humans and animals.

In Hashab Baraka the 230 families living there are struggling to survive.       Neama is 22 and has four little children.  Last year they were only able to produce one sack of grain for food for the whole year.   In desperation Neama and her husband were going to leave the village, as their only hope, and go to the regional capital, El Fasher, to try for work.  “I cried every night” said Neama ” I did not want to leave my home, or my mother, but what could I do?”   Luckily Kids for Kids announced it had chosen Hashab Baraka for all our integrated projects this year.    Now Neama is staying at home and has real hope for the future. She said “You make the rural areas more attractive by many projects,  livelihoods, health, water, education and women’s development, and that indicate the goats loan project is best program for stability in rural areas.  I am so happy to stay at home.”

With your help, we can continue to help these families that the rest of the world has forgotten.  If you think you would like to help more, please consider making your donation a regular donation for the next two years so that we can make sure no child in a Kids for Kids village succumbs to cholera by providing more safe water supplies.

They can’t wait to start school!

Kids for Kids has been working on building five new kindergartens this year and it is going well!

In Darfur it takes time to ensure that everything is in place before we can start.    The commitment to build a kindergarten in a village is based on how well the village is delivering the other Kids for Kids programmes. Patricia Parker, our CEO explains, “First, we must choose the village – this is a difficult choice because the need is everywhere, but we look to our well established and successful villages who have achieved at least 90% with their goat rotations to another family, and are monitoring their tree forests carefully.  If the committees are good then we know there will be good PTAs”

Kindro is one such village.  The VDC leader in this village is Adam and he gave us an update on their kindergarten project.

He said, “We are currently getting the building materials for the school, some communities are able to make their own bricks, which takes time but saves money. We have tried but the sand in the earth and the limited access to water makes our bricks too soft and so we have to buy the bricks.”  Adam has been incredibly committed to the school committee from the beginning.  Patricia says, “Support from people like Adam is vital to the project management of the build.  We know this is a successful approach and through it, we are able to create sustainable change.  The problem is, there are 87 Kids for Kids villages so far, but these five kindergartens will take the total to just nine Kindergartens. We need more.   This is why your help to secure the next Kindergarten is so important.”

 

 

 

 

 

Although we are now nearing the completion of all five new Kindergartens, which is incredibly exciting, there is still work to do!

1.  Carts to help transport children to school.

2.  Water carts  to transport water to the kindergarten for kids to drink, and irrigate the trees at the Kindergarten in the playground

3. Recruitment of volunteers teachers and guard and office cleaner.

4. Create a PTA.  Under Adam’s leadership we are optimistic that like at our first school at Abu Nahla, the new PTA will make sure all the children enroll.  At Abu Nahla families clubbed together to provide bursaries so even the poorest children and orphans could go.    From Beneficiaries to Benefactors!

Why are kindergartens so important? It is as Mary Clark, UN Poverty Alleviation Consultant, says, “The absence of education for young children means that they lack essential stimulation during the crucial formative years of their lives. Opportunities are lost which can never be regained, and which diminish the development potential of the children forever.” 98% of women in the villages of Darfur are illiterate, yet they know that education is the best way out of poverty. Through education we can transform lives and improve lives for everyone.  Thank you for helping make their dream a reality.

 

 

Touching support within villages of Darfur

Eid is a special time in Darfur, especially when Ramadan has been as demanding as this year when temperatures soared.     At the end of the Holy Holiday we were touched to hear about a very special offer of  support that villagers have decided to make to ensure our projects are on course.

It is as hard for animals to survive in Darfur as it is for humans in the harsh conditions.    It is therefore essential to get veterinary care in place before our animals arrive.    But our goats and donkeys are needed urgently.  Any delay means children go hungry.    Each year there is a challenge to finish our Animal Husbandry training for the beneficiaries and our Childrens’ Shepherds’ Committee, and the Paravets training so that it doesn’t clash with the arrival of the rains and the planting season when everyone is needed in the fields.    Working the land in Darfur is concentrated on just a short period and is crucial because a successful crop means you can feed your family.

All our new villages this year have offered to help the volunteers, who are being trained as paravets, with their planting, so that the training will not have to be delayed, and their families will not suffer.  This year they will be back in their villages in time for us to buy the goats at the right time – when the grass is starting to grow and yet the price of animals has not soared. It means too that the goats will have settled into their new homes before they become pregnant and are likely to have an easier, less stressful pregnancy,  and successful births.    Everyone is watching anxiously for the rains.

It really shows how the whole community is behind our projects and determined to make them a success for the whole village.    “This is an example of real community involvement and shows why our projects are sustainable” said Patricia Parker MBE Founder.    “Life is incredibly hard in Darfur with even the simplest job – to light a fire to cook you walk miles to find firewood, to have a drink of water in the summer it could be a walk of 20 miles.   This offer to help another family means a great deal.    I am so impressed and encouraged.   I think this year’s villages may be the best ever!”

Latest News from Kids for Kids

All the latest news about our work in Sudan, events, fundraising and how you can get involved.

A letter from Patricia

A personal letter from our Founder, Patricia Parker MBE, with special recent news coming from South Sudan.

Read Patricia’s letter

Our Upcoming 2017 Events

Our annual list of events for 2017 – Come and join us at a fundraising event soon!

Read about our events

Our 2017 Newsletter

Download our latest newsletter.  Read more about the impact on Darfurian villages and our amazing community fundraisers, plus ideas for how you can get involved and help fundraise.

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Please also see our updated gift list and donate now to help those in need.