In one of the most deprived regions in Africa, Darfur, children’s lives have been turned around, village by village, thanks to Kids For Kids. whynow is proud to promote and celebrate the charity as it reaches its 20 year anniversary.
Kids for Kids was founded in 2001 by Patricia Parker MBE, when she had a chance encounter with a small nine-year-old boy in the deserts of Darfur. Since then, the charity she founded has been quietly adopting village after village, where children live in arguably the most deprived conditions in the world. Now, with the support of celebrity Patrons like Joanna Lumley and Miriam Margolyes the charity is working hard to increase regular donations to continue to help children like the little boy whose lonely walk for water, became the inspiration behind the charity.
Thanks to our regular sponsors and donations there are now 106 Kids for Kids’ villages where children have a chance. But is this about to change? Violence is again on the rise. Villagers whose homes had been destroyed and who had fled to vast IDP camps had at last dared to start to re-establish their villages – only to be attacked again in the immediate wake of the departure of the peace-keeping forces of UNAMID.
It’s a miracle that Kids for Kids has continued without a break to adopt villages year after year despite conflict which has destroyed countless lives and homes.
Conflict is not something that has deterred Patricia Parker MBE, Founder of Kids for Kids. “It was during my first visit to Darfur in 2001 that I saw for myself the shockingly deprived lives of children. Where else in the world do children live in straw huts, sleep directly on the sand, face hours struggling across the desert under scorching sun for every drop of water, and where there is virtually no health care and only rudimentary education? To date we have changed the lives of over half a million people, and we are not stopping!”
Kids for Kids has been demonstrating for the past 20 years that real sustainable help is possible. This year, the charity celebrates 20 years of providing an entire package of basic grassroots projects run by the villagers themselves. “We rely on volunteers in every village,” explains Patricia “we could never be certain that Kids for Kids would be allowed to continue. We train everyone involved so that work would continue, helping more and more families, whatever happened to us. I have seen how projects die when aid agencies turn their attention somewhere else.”
This has proved to be a hugely successful policy. After the first two years of training and supervision as each project is introduced – from their key project of Goat Loans, to handpumps, village midwives and first aid workers, paravets and veterinary drugs, farm tools, blankets, mosquito nets and even the planting of thousands of trees for the future – communities run the projects themselves. Those who do the best, qualify for the kindergartens and other brick-built buildings.
At the height of the conflict Patricia and her son, Alastair King-Smith, were captured by rebels. Despite being held at gunpoint, the leader ended up offering them safe conduct to install a handpump at the school in the village the rebels had taken as their then-headquarters.
“I had hopes that when the violence was contained, and security was no longer an issue, other aid agencies would return, and especially when the previous regime fell, but there has been little sign” says Patricia. “When Covid appeared in Sudan we launched a major soap appeal. With virtually no health care, no testing and no diagnosis in Darfur, this is the only defence for families who cannot even afford a bar of soap.”
Now, countless families face starvation as inflation soars out of control – and violence is again a real fear.
At Kids for Kids we ask: Can you help? Regular Supporters are the key to enabling us to plan ahead, and especially the three-year commitment of our Children’s Champions. Become a Children’s Champion and you can have a kindergarten, a handpump, or even a village named after you. Please will you consider becoming a Children’s Champion or Regular Supporter? Projects can be named after a special event or loved one, creating a long term memento.
Your support changes the lives of children forever.