The Hungry Months, goat loans and praying for rain It is hard to grasp the fragility of life in Darfur unless you have lived it. The Hungry Months, as our beneficiaries call them, mark the seeming eternity that stretches from the day last year's crop runs out, to the day the next crop is harvested. One of our village committee leaders tells us: "We know that our seed grain must have rain to grow, and so we have to wait, not knowing when we can plant, and when there will be food again." These are harsh times in Darfur, where inflation means families cannot afford to buy food, and the risk of attack makes it very dangerous to go out and forage. Children all over Darfur are going to bed hungry. They are malnourished and weak. Some have already starved. Parents need urgent help to save their little ones. Kids for Kids is helping. When the rains do come, we will see only a few precious minutes of rain, and it will sink into the sand, but for a few short weeks it is enough for basic crops like millet to grow. Our farm tools and water harvesting training help villagers to be prepared, and make the most of the opportunity when the rains come. In the mean time we wait, and with no other protein available it is our little goats and their precious milk that save lives. With your support we can provide goat loans for milk to feed starving babies and nourish hungry children right away. We have adopted 8 villages in 2015, and we are going to need 1,992 goats to help the poorest 15% of families with a goat loan. Will you help us please? $62 provides a goat for milk to feed hungry children $372 provides 6 goats - a goat loan for a family (and they pass on 6 kids to the next family after 2 years) $45 provides water harvesting training $45 provides a set of farm tools so they don't dig by hand $75 provides 20 hardy tree seedlings for a new food source close to home $45 provides training to care for the animals (we only give goat loans after training) $600 trains a paravet - there is no other animal care Thank you for your support.
Diversity Matters – How your help has transformed a family:
You may already know that our aim is to help the poorest women in the remote villages of Darfur, Sudan, who are struggling to care for their families singlehandedly, in a region which not only suffers periodic droughts but continues to face debilitating conflict. Sometimes however the communities ask us to help people in special need. Meet 55 year old Mohammed (name changed) whose children have seen their lives transformed thanks to your gifts through Kids for Kids. His wife Nawal received our Goat Loan and a donkey in 2007, because his disability meant the family was in real difficulty - “We had nothing, life was a daily struggle” he said "But then we were included in the Kids for Kids Goat Loan project. To receive 6 goats plus a donkey was almost unbelievable. We had never been given anything in our lives before. In fact, no one in the village had. It was a dream."
It would normally be the job of the women to look after goats and take them out to graze but, despite his mobility problems, Mohammed was determined to support Nawal in making the most of this incredible opportunity. He decided to help by cultivating crops for fodder and ensuring the animals were vaccinated and regularly wormed. With money they earned from selling milk they sent their children to school and when they came home they helped by grazing the goats at a dried up riverbed. It was a real family effort. By 2009 Narwal had 19 goats and was able to pay forward 6 goats to another family. Now, in 2015, they have 25 goats giving the family an income. "I never imagined we would ever be able to own animals" said Mohammed. "Just to survive was our ambition. Now look - I have even been able to buy my children new clothes last Eid." The family celebrated the birth of a new baby with their neighbours and invited them to a meal, with meat. "I never imagined this would be possible" said Mohammed. Their baby was safely delivered by the local Kids for Kids midwife! Mohammed reports “We are very proud parents - our eldest daughter has now been accepted at ElFasher university, and the sale of a goat has enabled us to fund her studies”. What a transformation, in just a few years. These gifts really do keep on giving.
Kids for Kids has adopted 70 villages over the past 14 years and we are determined to adopt 5 more in 2015. Our integrated package of simple grassroots projects is proven, and it works because we have developed it hand in hand with local people, listening to what they tell us truly makes a difference. Water keeps people and animals alive, and frees up time for education. Goat Loans provide immediate milk for children and a chance of a family income, often for the very first time. Women empowered in this way prioritise their spending on food, healthcare, education – all of which benefit their children. Tree planting holds back the desert and provides another food source for the community. Kindergartens give children their first chance of education at a vital developmental stage. All of these, and more, stop starvation in its tracks and transform the whole community for good – and it is working even now, despite the troubles and challenges in the region. There are over 900 villages in Darfur, most facing desperate hunger this summer. Thanks to you, we are making a difference, but many more families, like Mohammed's, need our help. Thank you for your support!
$62 buys a little goat to provide milk for children
$45 provides a set of farm tools, so they won't have to dig by hand
$95 provides a donkey to carry water for people, animals and crops
$165 pays for 100 vaccinations to keep goats healthy and productive
$372 provides 6 goats for a family, and their offspring will provide for another family in 2 years time
$535 supplies a revolving veterinary drugs fund to help sick aimals
$600 trains a paravet - the only animal care in the region
Every penny goes a long way in Darfur. Thank you for your support.
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.
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