The gift of hope for starving families in Darfur
This Christmas we have had a lot to be thankful for, but in Darfur children face a very different future. Starvation is a real threat and village leaders report children malnourished in every village. Thankfully, not in Kids for Kids' villages, thanks to your generosity. We are now supporting 70 remote communities in Darfur where mothers know they can rely on the milk from our goats for their children. Because of your support we were able to adopt five villages this year, and we are determined to adopt at least five more in 2015. You can see from the photos here that the grassroots projects you are supporting are transforming lives, right now. Where we have planted drought resistant trees, these are now giving shade and bearing fruit. Where you have donated goats, children have essential protein in their diet. Where you have donated seed, families are able to plant crops. Our donkeys provide the only means of transport across the desert. There are no roads. Our first aid workers and village midwives save lives and prevent small problems from becoming catastrophes because there is no health care in any form in villages. What a difference - desperate families now have hope of a brighter tomorrow - and you made this possible! All of these projects are 'a hand up, not a hand out'. Local people are chosen by their community to receive training and run the projects, so you can be certain that everything you give goes a long, long way. Thank you for bringing hope to 70 villages! Please will you help us to give more children hope in 2015
Each year we watch for the rains in Darfur. Before they come, fires often sweep through villages from sparks from kitchen fires, causing devastation because everything is at its most dry and brittle. Then the rains come, and sometimes with such ferocity that there are flash floods. In fact, 84 goats were drowned two years ago in our villages.
This year, four children drowned in a hole left where people had dug out sand to make bricks. You would have thought that this rush of water would mean that worries for next year's harvest had a chance. But not so. Millet, the staple crop, the stalks of which are used for hut walls and for fences, takes three months to mature. In North Darfur this year, the rains have been late. A successful millet harvest is unlikely. This means farmers need sorghum seed if they are to have a chance of having sufficient food for their families next year, but few have. The thought of another year when children die from starvation, is horrific. I have been asked if Kids for Kids could provide seeds for the hardest hit villages in the north of Darfur. My aim is to provide 3kgs each per family. There are hundreds of families we should help with seed to plant, let alone their need for water, goats, health care and everything else. The market price in Darfur at the moment is £1.75 a kilo, plus transport. Please can you add as many kilos as possible of sorghum seed to your Christmas list?
Violence in Darfur is escalating. It is heartbreaking to think that more villages have been torched this year, than ever before, yet the world is silent, but this is not the worst problem the people of Darfur have to face. Children are starving in the villages but no one is helping. We simply have to do everything possible to prevent people from forgetting Darfur. There are so many other regions in the world who face tragedy but something Kids for Kids can say with certainty is that the help the you are enabling us to give to children in remote villages really is helping us to transform their lives.
Last year there were eighteen villages on our shortlist, when we were having to decide which five we would be able to adopt in 2014. Of course we wished it had been all of them because each village leader reported children dying from starvation or malaria in 2013. Although we could not adopt all eighteen, we have just completed delivery of mosquito nets to all of them, in time to combat the onslaught of mosquitoes with the coming rains.
It is these simple grassroots preventive measures that are the key to so much of what we do. Next month for example, paravets and first aid workers will start their training. The result will be small health problems, in both animals and humans, prevented in many cases from becoming more serious. Anything we can do to help people so far away from assistance makes a difference. Our goats continue to transform the lives of children and their families.
Thank you for remembering Darfur.
In the 65 Kids for Kids villages malnutrition is being prevented but there are many others that need our help urgently. Outside of our adopted villages mothers face the daily uncertainty of feeding their children. There are many days when a meal is just not possible. Inflation continues to soar and much needed protein is out of reach. There are many villages that have applied for our help but sadly we cannot help them all. Those that have applied report children dying from malnutrition and malaria in recent weeks. How can the world stand by and let these children perish. There is a solution but we need more help.
The reason children are not facing starvation in Kids for Kids' villages is because we work directly with villagers to help them to run the projects themselves to ensure sustainability. Crucially too, we teach them how to be accountable to their own communities. Having your support has enabled us to provide our whole package of projects which affect every aspect of their lives. However, funds are of course always stretched and there are hundreds of villages that we cannot yet help.
Our goats provide a family with a chance to escape the desperate poverty that is overwhelming families in Darfur. With the right level of care, six goats can become 20 goats in two years. The family then pass on six healthy goats to another family, and in two years they do the same. The income from these goats, and the protein from their milk, can transform and even save lives. Our large mosquito nets are large enough to protect a whole family, they cost just £16. This is a small price to pay for a life.
The price of goats in Darfur is now £38 – can you help us buy one more?
Last month we were sent a picture of little Suha, aged 4, she has lost the ability to walk because of malnutrition. It is difficult to comprehend how her mother must feel knowing that a lack of food has caused her daughter's limbs to waste way. The World Food Programme has used the word 'famine' in its forecast for Darfur in 2014 yet no-one is conducting a Food Security Survey. This allows the world to feel that it does not need to act. Nobody is helping these children because the media is remaining silent on this forgotten region.
This is heartbreaking because our projects are simple, we are preventing malnutrition through our goat loans and training programmes, and if others did the same, more lives would be saved. Our loan of 6 goats to a family, which then pass on to another family after 2 years, is still being called the most effective microfinance scheme in the world! The long term benefit of goat's milk for children, when they have no other protein, is beyond price, but also the income mothers can earn from their little flocks and donkeys, tranforms their lives.
We spent over £90, 000 ($147, 600) on goats in 2013 - the most we have ever spent! But we do need even more. Children are starving and the gift of a goat can, quite literally, save their lives. Darfur remains out of sight, but the tragedy that is unfolding there is no less tragic because we cannot see it on our screens. 47% of families in the villages have lost not one, but two children under the age of 5 in the past 2 years. This is horrific and we are doing all we can. Thank you for helping and please consider buying a goat or donkey today.
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CEO & Chairman of Trustees