Save Women and Babies from Dying During Birth

by Kids for Kids
Help us to help mothers and babies in Darfur
Help us to help mothers and babies in Darfur

"When I am asked what is the most important project that we fund, it is always difficult to answer. How do you choose between providing lifesaving goats milk for a mother who is too thin herself to feed her baby, a hand pump so that water is at hand for small children, or a midwife so that young mothers and their babies have medical help close by in their own village. It is almost impossible to prioritise, as all are desperately needed.  However, the philosophy of Kids for Kids is to prevent problems from becoming catastrophes. Can you imagine a greater catastrophe than a young girl suffering the pain of childbirth, and the older women in the village - untrained and with no knowledge of hygiene or sterilisation - telling her the baby is stuck? Somehow they have to get her to hospital across desert terrain, with no shade in the blinding heat. The baby stands no chance of surviving. If the mother does not die herself, fistula may be her best hope.  No-one can live with someone with fistula - double incontinence - in a country as hot as Sudan. "   Patricia Parker MBE 

We are proud to say that 37 young women from Kids for Kids villages have all graduated with honours in 2015 from the midwife training school that we funded in El Fasher, thanks to generous supporters. The training for a village midwife is arduous. Many of the volunteers will never have visited the regional capital.  It takes a progressive village leader to allow these young ladies to leave their village for 14 months to train. They do not return during this period. They live in a compound where their only relaxation is on a Friday when they go to the mosque and wash their clothes. Within weeks of arriving in El Fasher they will be assisting at births. Many have helped deliver healthy twins. The experience they gain during these 14 months is extraordinary but essential.  

Why do they do it? They do it because they are all altruistic, caring young women, who are determined to help women they know in their own communities and are brave enough to undertake the training. When they return to their village they will become one of the most respected people there.  Kids for Kids always funds the training of 2 village midwives in each community This is so they can support each other, sometimes in very difficult situations. There will be times when a friend whom they have known since childhood does not survive despite their skills. To have a colleague to support them is essential if they are not to suffer burnout.

The success rate of Kids for Kids midwives is extraordinary. In her first 12 months Halima delivered 800 healthy babies, 4 of whom were twins. Important too are the statistics that show that they have the authority to convince women to travel to El Fasher to the main hospital there if there is a risk of a difficult birth. This also has saved many lives. 

Please will you help us to train and equip the next team in 2016?  

$35 funds a food tray to keep food clean so that little ones do not become ill

$100 provides the kit a village midwife needs to help her work - including a small tin trunk to keep it safe

$230 funds a solar lantern to help with night-time deliveries - there is no electricity

$245 provides a strong crossbred donkey to enable a village midwife to get to her patients quickly (donkeys are the only transport)

$612 provides a donkey cart ambulance for emergency cases to get to hospital 

$3,050 funds a new midwife in a village

Thank you for your support.   


Midwife and her equipment
Midwife and her equipment

Saving mothers and babies from dying during childbirth in Darfur - latest update from the field

Childbirth is a dangerous and frightening prospect for young girls in Darfur.   There is no health care in the villages of North Darfur.   The vast majority are miles from the main towns but even the hospital outside the regional capital, El Fasher, have limited facilities, with virtually no equipment or ways of controlling pain.  Girls marry young, and because Female Genital Mutilation is still widespread in remote villages, there is a very high risk of obstructed labour.  You may know that when our Founder Patricia Parker asked what help was available, one of the mums-to-be answered:  "We have no hospital nearby and no money to pay for health care.  There is a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) in our villages.  She has survived childbirth, and if there is a problem, she can assist with rope delivery".  Can you imagine what a terrifying prospect childbirth must be for these young women?  When there is obstructed labour it is imperative that the mother to be gets to hospital in time, but many don't make it. 

Kids for Kids midwives are making a lasting difference.  We have built a training school for midwives and - funds permitting - we train 40 midwives each year.  Our aim is to have 2 midwives in each village, so they can support the community and back each other up when difficult decisions need to be made, such as when to send a complicated case to hospital.  Just a few weeks ago we heard of a case where the local TBA was telling a woman who had been pregnant for 12 months that she should continue to wait for nature to take its course.  Our Programme Manager Salim told us:  "Fortunately the village leaders listened to the midwife and got the patient to hospital just in time.  Of course after 12 months something was seriously wrong and she nearly lost her life."  

News from our newest midwives:  You will be pleased to know that this year's group are nearly ready to graduate!  They are really excited to return to their villages and help the women and babies there.  They not only help with childbirth but are also vital in advising on early-years nutrition.  This is particularly important at this time of year when food has run out and harvests are still 2-3 months away.  People are forced to forage and without good advice might feed children with plants like Mukheit that are toxic if not processed correctly.  Our midwives are also trained to administer basic drugs such as antibiotics, ensuring that they are used properly and in appropriate dosages.  No wonder people are staying in Kids for Kids villages!  As one midwife told Patricia "people stay here because they know that with our help they and their children have a better chance."

Your donation makes all the difference!  

$35 funds a food tray to keep food clean so that little ones do not become ill

$100 provides the kit a village midwife needs to help her work - including a small tin trunk to keep it safe

$230 funds a solar lantern to help with nighttime deliveries - there is no electricity

$245 provides a strong crossbred donkey to enable a village midwife to get to her patients quickly (donkeys are the only transport)

$612 provides a donkey cart ambulance for emergency cases to get to hospital 

$3,050 funds a new midwife in a village

Thank you for your support.   

Childbirth in a remote hut is a daunting prospect
Childbirth in a remote hut is a daunting prospect


Ruth Rendell reading at K4K Christmas Concert
Ruth Rendell reading at K4K Christmas Concert

With Ruth Rendell’s funeral taking place last week, we thought you might like to hear about her wonderful work as a Patron of Kids for Kids, and her personal sponsorship of Ibrahim, the 9 year old boy who inspired Patricia Parker MBE to found the charity 14 years ago.  

Ruth Rendell was not only a passionate campaigner for the abolition of female genital mutilation (FGM), which is why she supported Kids for Kids, but she was also the personal sponsor of little Ibrahim.  Ibrahim’s lonely walk for water, aged just 9, across the desolate deserts of Darfur, was what inspired Patricia Parker MBE, our Founder, to start Kids for Kids. 

Ibrahim first went to school age 9 when the charity installed a hand pump in his village in Um Ga’al.  4 years ago, Ibrahim managed to visit the Kids for Kids small office in El Fasher, the regional capital of North Darfur, despite ongoing conflict, to ask the charity if it could help him finish his schooling.  Soaring inflation had meant his family could no longer pay even the small fee needed.  The constitution of the charity does not allow it to support individuals, but Patricia asked our Patron Ruth Rendell if she might consider helping in some way.  Aged 19, Ibrahm re-entered secondary school and graduates this summer thanks to the support of this wonderful lady. 

“Ibrahim has found schooling hard going” said Patricia.  “Starting school life aged 9 is really tough and Ibrahim has struggled but is determined to get to university if he can. This is why Kids for Kids is doing all it can to provide a Kindergarten in every village.  So far we have 4 which are transforming the lives of children in remote regions - unheard of anywhere else in Darfur.” 

Ruth Rendell has campaigned successfully in the UK to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM). She believed that the most effective way to achieve this in remote villages was for someone women knew and trusted to advise them. She therefore supported our programme of training village midwives in every Kids for Kids village. Since 2001, Kids for Kids has funded over 150 village midwives in remote communities where there is no other health care.  With Ruth Rendell's support for our midwives, the lives of countless mothers and babies have been transformed. Would you like to help equip our midwives in the 8 new villages we are adopting in 2015?  

$62 provides a goat for milk for hungry babies

$230 buys a solar lantern for night time deliveries

$245 provides a strong cross-bred donkey so midwives can reach patients quickly 

$612 provides a donkey ambulance to help mothers and babies in distress get to hospital

$3050 trains a midwife to help a whole community, saving lives and teaching hygiene

Every penny goeas a long way in Darfur.  Thank you for your support. 

Ibrahim's walk for water inspired Kids for Kids
Ibrahim will finish secondary school this year
Ibrahim will finish secondary school this year
Ruth was a passionate supporter of K4K midwives
Ruth was a passionate supporter of K4K midwives


Midwife in training
Midwife in training

Midwives training progressing well - Thank You! 

Last time we wrote, the new group of midwives were just about to start their training. Here is the latest from the training school in El Fasher.  Our local programme leader tells us:  "It is always very encouraging to watch these women progress.  Those ladies who were illiterate are now well on the way to being able to read and write.    All 40 midwives this season are working very hard, showing great dedication to their studies. Four of the new recruits have already assisted with a birth, and all four mothers produced healthy babies."

In Darfur, there is no healthcare in the villages. Young women get married early and face the prospect of childbirth with a traditional birth attendant who has had no training - not even the basics of hygiene and first aid. With FGM (female genital mutilation) widespread in the region, there is a high risk of obstructed labour, and in difficult cases rope delivery is the only help. Permanent damage to mother and child are common and many do not survive. Our CEO Patricia says "I can't begin to imagine how fearful these mothers must feel as the time approaches for their children to be born."

Kids for Kids has been training midwives since 2002 and these amazing women are saving lives. Our partnership approach with the Health Authority in El Fasher, the regional capital of North Darfur, means the training school we built there is well respected. We pay half the cost per midwife with the State Ministry of Health paying the other half, which demonstrates the local commitment to providing better care, and results in respect and recognition for the midwives who qualify.  We also provide our midwives with the absolute essentials - their medical kit, a solar lantern for night time deliveries, and a strong cross-bred donkey to reach patients further away, strong enough to pull the 'ambulance' to reach help quickly in an emergency.  They are very proud of their white uniform (a sari or tobe made of cotton) but especially love their leather sandals!  Midwives tell us that people stay in their villages now, because they know they have a better chance.

When our midwives return to their villages they will be amongst the most respected people in their communities. Kids for Kids' midwives are trained in baby care too.   Many mothers in desperation feed their babies unsuitably and some die because they cannot digest properly.   Because they are local women, respected in their own communities, their teaching of the dangers of FGM is believed and in our villages it is a dying tradition. 

Can you help us equip this season's new trainees and save more women and babies in Darfur? 

$3,050 pays for the full training of one midwife to save lives and teach hygiene, including her kit, uniform and leather sandals.   You will know you are saving many babies from premature death, and many young mothers from the risk of fistula.  

$612 buys a donkey ambulance to help women in labour get to hospital quickly

$245 pays for a strong cross-bred donkey to help a midwife reach her patient quickly

$230 supplies a midwife with a solar lantern for night time deliveries

Every penny helps, and your gift goes a long way in Darfur. 

Thank you for your support!


Midwife School
Midwife School

In a few weeks, our next cohort of village midwives will leave their villages for their 10 months training course and return as fully trained midwives.  They are picked to attend the course because of their commitment to helping their community and all have agreed that they will remain in the village for a minimum of four years.

For 14 years, Kids for Kids has been providing basic help right at the heart of the communities that need it.  The difference that the Village Midwives make is incalculable.   In 18 months alone the charity’s  midwives delivered 1057 healthy babies - including twins - and not one mother died in childbirth.   The midwives were successful too in referring expectant mothers to the distant hospital if they were worried about complications - and all were safely delivered of healthy babies!  There are already 108 trained Kids for Kids' village midwives working in remote villages.

Kids for Kids was asked to share the cost of funding a training school with the State Department of Health.  This ensures the support of the Government.  The training provided at this new school is unrivalled and Examiners come from Khartoum to invigilate.  

 Kids for Kids is showing that by providing a midwife who is known and trusted, encourages mothers not to continue the practise of FGM, either for themselves or for their daughters. Despite being banned by the Government of Sudan FGM is still widespread. Our midwives are convincing women in the Kids for Kids' villages to ban the practise.

 Our policy is to provide two villages midwives in each village.   There is no other support for these brave women who may have to face the difficult situation of someone they know dying during childbirth.   With two trained midwives to hand they are able to reinforce the trust the communities have learnt to place in them. The volunteers who are selected by the full community in each Kids for Kids village, to become Village Midwives, are chosen because they are bright, honest and dedicated.   They also commit to staying in the village for a minimum of four years once they are trained.  Many are young women who have young children who will be looked after whilst they are away.  The course is very tough.  The trainee girls are expected to work six days a week.  They are not allowed out of the Midwives Training Compound unescorted.  Some may be illiterate but will have been chosen because they are known to be intelligent.  They will be taught to read and write at the start of the course.  This has been hugely successful and gives new hope, not only to the women who will now have a trusted midwife close at hand, but also the newly trained midwife's family.  They have a future at last.


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Organization Information

Kids for Kids

Location: Dorking, Surrey - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Patricia Parker
CEO & Chairman of Trustees
Dorking, Surrey United Kingdom
$9,206 raised of $80,000 goal
118 donations
$70,794 to go
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