Panafrican News Agency

Queen Elizabeth honours charity organization working for children in Darfur

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA)- A British national working to improve the lots of kids in war-ridden Darfur region was awarded one of the highest awards in Britain, Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE),  the second highest ranking Order of the British Empire awards.

Patricia Parker MBE, the Chief Executive and Founder of the Kids for Kids, an organization that works to provide such simple but effective means for poor families and baby goats and donkeys, has been awarded an OBE by Her Majesty, The Queen, for her dedicated work over the past 20 years helping children in Darfur.

A press release by the organization quoted Parker as saying “This is a fantastic honour to receive. I can hardly believe that Darfur is being honoured in this way. It is certainly one award I never expected. Darfur is one of the most forgotten regions of the world.”

She related that when she first went to Darfur 20 years ago with her son, Alastair King-Smith, who was working at the British Embassy, she was shocked to find how children were living.

“Even friends in Khartoum had not realised how bad conditions had become. The level of deprivation was beyond imagination, and sadly it has hardly changed in all this time. Water is the most basic essential for us all, yet children were walking hours upon hours across the desert under the unforgiving sun to reach a simple handpump, because there was no water anywhere near their homes.” she said in the release received by PANA in Khartoum.

She said this was happening despite the fact that under Darfur there is one of the biggest aquifers in Africa. The big aid agencies were there but no one was drilling for water near villages.

“That was 20 years ago, and it is still the same 20 years on. Many villages have no water, or electricity, no health care for humans or animals – virtually no infrastructure of any kind, even roads. In fact they have almost none of the things we would all consider the basic essentials of life.” she lamented.

She commended the commitment of the new Government of Sudan to end the conflict in Darfur and to make a priority of poverty instead of only focusing on national security. She said this was crucial if Sudan was to make a reality of sustainable development and build the future prosperity everyone in Sudan deserves.

The organization, Kids for Kids, has since 2001 assisted over half a million people in Darfur. According to the agency, over 550,000 people have been assisted and the organziation introduced its integrated projects to 106 villages in North Darfur, Sudan, creating a sustainable and lasting change.

Kids for Kids was founded in 2001 by Patricia Parker after her first-hand experience of the terrible conditions in which children were living in Darfur, Sudan.

Parker and her son, Alastair, were captured by rebels in 2005, yet despite the dangers in Darfur, continued to visit the region whenever possible. The poorest families survive on less than £12 a year now. With inflation soaring and shortages of even the most basic of essentials, starvation is a real threat.

The organization works via a simple method of selecting a village, introducing an integrated package of grassroots projects identified by the villagers themselves that will help them out of poverty long-term. The charity's ‘lend a goat’ scheme provides five nanny goats and access to a billy to the poorest families in a village, then over two years they build up their flock and pass on the first five kids/baby goats to another family, providing nutrition and a source of income.

Equally crucial is the installation of water handpumps, as well as the provision of basics, including mosquito nets, blankets, farm tools and much more, like training village midwives and first aid workers, and providing veterinary care for the animals. 

-0- PANA MO/VAO 14June2021