By Alexandra Sanderson, Assistant to Patricia Parker MBE
With author Ruth Rendell’s funeral taking place on Thursday, 28th May, we wanted to express our gratitude for her wonderful work as a Patron of our Dorking based charity, Kids for Kids - transforming the lives of the forgotten children of conflict-ridden Darfur, Sudan.
Ruth Rendell took a personal interest and the children of Darfur touched her heart.
Kids for Kids was inspired by a 9 year old boy, Ibrahim. When founder Patricia Parker MBE met the small boy 14 years ago. Ibrahim had been walking in the desert for seven hours to fetch water for his family. Patricia proceeded to set up the charity Kids for Kids, in March 2001. Ibrahim's story touched Ruth Rendell so deeply that she sponsored his education.
Ibrahim first went to school age 9 when the charity installed a hand pump in his village in Um Ga’al.
Four 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 Patron Ruth Rendell if she might consider helping Ibrahim in a personal capacity.
Aged 19, Ibrahim re-entered secondary school and graduates this summer thanks to the support of this wonderful lady.
“Ibrahim has found schooling hard going.
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 four kindergartens, which are transforming the lives of children in remote regions - unheard of anywhere else in Darfur.”
Patricia Parker MBE.
To date, the charity has adopted 78 villages, transforming the lives of over 350,000 people long term.
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.
Remember Ruth Rendell - Water for Darfur
Ruth Rendell also sponsored handpumps that will flow as a living memorial to an amasing lady. None of the handpumps for water that Ruth sponsored was named after her. She was practical. What was important to her, was getting water to people to stop the dreadful walk for water across the desert.
With her son's blessing, Kids for Kids would like to dedicate a very special water project in Ruth Rendell's name so that she will always be remembered in Darfur. We have launched an appeal to install a Solar Powered Submersible Pump which will provide clean safe water for six communities in Darfur.
Kids for Kids is inviting fans of Ruth Rendell, who died on 2nd May 2015, to help provide clean water for countless children in her name.
Please click here to support the Ruth Rendell Water Appeal and to leave a tribute.
Further information: www.kidsforkids.org.uk
Kids for Kids on Twitter: @KidsforKids
"I shall miss her personally. The charity has lost a special friend. Our thoughts are with her family."
Patricia Parker MBE.