Sudan

Good News from Darfur at last? Kids for Kids opens its first Kindergarten in North Darfur for 151 children

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151 small children in Abu Nahla, a village 40kms from El Fasher, the regional capital of North Darfur, not only go to school every day, they go by school bus - carts pulled by strong donkeys! KIDS FOR KIDS, which has been transforming the lives of children living in remote villages in North Darfur since 2001, despite ongoing violence, has opened its first Kindergarten! A Festival of Music and Dance will be performed by local people at the Official Opening in January, when the biannual Rotation of Goats, (healthy kids are passed on from one family to another) will also take place. So far the Kids for Kids Goat Loan has helped 380,3 families who have received 15,671 goats - which have been passed on to a further 3,083 families every two years! The milk the goats provides to children is crucial, particularly now in Darfur where soaring inflation is causing grave concern as many families have not been able to feed their children protein in any form for many months. Many children face the risk of famine in 2014 according to UN WHO.

Patricia Parker MBE, Founder of Kids for Kids, said "I am so proud of what the people of Abu Nahla are achieving. When we discussed with them the plans for the school they decided they would make the bricks themselves to save us money. As all our funds comes from ordinary people that means a lot. With the money saved we have been able to fund equipment and educational toys - the first toys these children will have seen - from Khartoum and El Fasher so that our Kids for Kids Kindergarten is going to set an example to other schools across the State."

Abu Nahla was one of the poorest villages in the region where 480 families struggled to survive, before it was adopted by Kids for Kids in 2010. There were no brick buildings and the only water source was from four hand pumps for 4,200 people. There was no health care and many children died each year from malnutrition or malnutrition related diseases. Now Abu Nahla is changing. There are two trained village midwives, two first aid workers, two paravets and a revolving veterinary drug fund available in the village, all provided by Kids for Kids. People have been taught how to run their own projects and the poorest 15% of families have been provided with 5 breeding nanny goats and a billy goat to share with two other families. Each has been given a donkey, blankets and mosquito nets. Trees are growing where once it was just sand. Abu Nahla was chosen to be the site of Kids for Kids first Kindergarten because of its success at running the projects.

Kids for Kids has also provided a veranda for extra classroom and play space, and trees for fruit and shade around the school. Because the village has sub villages that are up to 8 kms from the school there are two Kids for Kids Kindergarten 'school buses' to bring the smallest children to school each day - donkey carts pulled by strong crossbred donkeys. "The key to the success of Kids for Kids is that we listen to the people, and, because of my own experience gained in my many visits to Darfur, I understand the problems people face, so that we provide help that is appropriate to the region," said Patricia.

There are now 65 Kids for Kids villages in Darfur, with plans for adopting at least 5 more in 2014. "The urgent need is for us to provide as many goats as possible, and to make sure people have seeds to plant. They eat what they grow, yet this year many families, even in our villages, have been forced to eat the seed they should have saved for planting." said Patricia. "There is good news for the children of Abu Nahla today, but now we must help many more children before it is too late."

For further information on Kids for Kids, or to support its projects, please contact:

In the UK: Patricia Parker MBE: +44 (0)7957206440 patricia@kidsforkids.org.uk
SKYPE: patricia.parker1

In Sudan:
Hatim AbuSineina: +249912162770 – Sudan Representative, Khartoum Dr Salim Ahmed Salim: +249915758188 – Programme Manager, Darfur