Sudan

Joanna Lumley's new cause ā€“ saving the forgotten children of Darfur

"Children are starving in villages in Darfur, but I know how to help" said Joanna Lumley OBE when she met Patricia Parker MBE, founder of Kids for Kids to accept her appointment as Patron of the charity this month. "Goats are the miracle animals of Africa. Their milk will save a child from starvation, and this is what Kids for Kids does best! They lend goats; and save children's lives."

Joanna is a long term supporter of Kids for Kids because of her love of children - and animals. “If I can help bring attention to the silence that surrounds Darfur, I will be thrilled. We simply have to help children whose lives are unspeakably dreadful. Children don't have toys - they are lucky if they have water to drink. And then it's not clean. We can, and we will, make a difference, because we must.”

Kids for Kids transforms the lives of children living in abject poverty in remote villages in Darfur, Sudan, through a unique package of grassroots projects which are run by the communities themselves. Joanna has made a film with Patricia where they discussed the lives of the children, and how they can help. UNICEF warned the international community that 80,000 children in isolated villages are seriously malnourished; children that Patricia had warned the international community were already at serious risk in 2012. Yet little has been done to save these, and countless more, at risk. “Years of neglect and violence, the creation of South Sudan, and the devaluation of the Sudanese pound, have combined to cause soaring inflation and desperate poverty. Families cannot afford to feed their children. Many have just one scant meal a day” said Patricia. “The average annual income has dropped well below the cost of living and families are struggling, out of sight, away from the media spotlight. Foreigners are not allowed into the region. This is why to have the support of someone so wonderful, warm, generous and wise, means so much, especially now. Joanna is determined the world will not be allowed to forget these innocent children.”

“What Kids for Kids does through its goat loans is remarkable” Joanna said. “They lend six goats to a family so that the children have milk every day. Goats' milk is rich in protein, minerals and vitamins and is easily digestible by small children, even newborns, and the goats also give mother's an income, which means they are able to make decisions for their families - often for the first time in their lives. The miracle is, that when those first goats have kids, six are passed to another family, and so on. I love it that Kids for Kids also provides veterinary care. A healthy animal is a helpful animal. Donate one goat, and you get a herd!” Joanna Lumley is not the only fan of Kids for Kids. Their goat loan project was also praised by the Governor of North Darfur, Osman Kibir, as "the best microfinance scheme ever". The North Darfur State Government recently announced that it will replicate the Goat Loan Project by providing goats to 500 families this autumn. " But we need many more than that right now " said Joanna.

And how can people help Kids for Kids? Joanna Lumley says: “Give a beautiful little goat and make a real difference today.” Go to: www.kidsforkids.org.uk

You can watch Joanna Lumley and Patricia Parker’s interview here