You may have heard that Michael Bond’s favourite Guinea Pig, Olga da Polga, inspired by his daughter Karen’s well-loved pet, will be appearing in a new CBeebies series this weekend!
But did you know that Olga da Polga has helped save numerous children’s lives?
Back in 2012, Michael Bond, creator of Olga da Polga and the Queen’s favourite bear, Paddington * (see below) of course, supported ‘Drawn… to Darfur’ for the children’s charity Kids for Kids to raise not guinea pigs but GOATS to save children’s lives.
Michael said “Goats and donkeys are fairly thin on the ground in this part of the world and Olga is the heroine in a series of children’s books I write. It does sound as though they will be in good company. In fact, the whole project sounds extremely exciting and I am doing my best to impress on them how lucky they are. Guinea pigs do tend to take things for granted!”
In 2012, Patricia Parker OBE, founder of Kids for Kids, the only organisation that provides life changing sustainable projects to children living in remote villages – out of sight of the world – in Darfur Sudan, launched a unique art auction ‘Drawn …to Darfur’. She wrote to famous people from across the world asking them to draw a Goat – or their favourite animal – to raise awareness of the plight of these children saying “if you cannot draw for toffee draw a heart and please sign it!”
An extraordinary number of amazing people joined in – King Charles’ painting alone funded the first Kids for Kids’ Kindergarten in Darfur. Other famous people included His Holiness Pope Benedict VII, Sir Quentin Blake CBE FCSD RDI, Prime Minister David Cameron, Dame Joanna Lumley DBE, the much missed Ruth Rendell, plus members of the Royal Academy of Arts – and the Michael Bond!
Patricia was so delighted when Michael wrote to her and donated this most wonderful sketch of Olga da Polga and her friend Vladimir.
Olga says “I’m a guinea pig called Olga da Polga and they say butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth” and Vladimir replies, “My name’s Vladimir and you don’t want to believe all you hear!”
Olga da Polga and Vladimir, together with their famous friends, raised over £72,000 at the auction of these 84 pictures – enough to adopt a whole village and build a kindergarten!
So, you see, Olga da Polga is indeed a heroine! Just imagine how many children’s lives she has helped change – not only here, through the love of her stories, but also across the world in Darfur.
It costs just £15 to provide a sack of emergency seed for planting
£18 provides 2 Mosquito nets to protect children from malaria
£50 for one Goat to provide life-saving milk to a malnourished child
£316 provides 5 nanny goats and a billy goat – A Whole Goat Loan!
And, for every donation, you will receive a unique Gift Certificate to gift a loved one. The perfect gift this Christmas – the gift that keeps on giving!
We are delighted that Karen Jankel, Michael’s daughter and one of Kids for Kids’ biggest supporters, will be joining us as a reader at our magical Candlelit Christmas Concert on 1st December at St Peter’s Eaton Square, London – we do hope you can join us!
Karen invited Bob Alley, the illustrator of the Paddington Bear books, to create a unique picture for Kids for Kids – so Paddington has a new little friend, a GOAT!
We love it and are looking forward to auctioning the original painting at The Ambassadors’ Ball on Saturday 17th June 2023 – do let us know if you would like to place a bid! Just email patricia@kidsfor kids.org.uk.