There’s no denying it, 2020 has been a tough year for pretty much everyone. We’ve all, to some extent, struggled through the isolation and anxiety caused by COVID-19 lockdowns. We’ve missed hugging our friends & family for moral support, and the social / sporting events that have been cancelled have left a lack of memories we were hoping to enjoy as a family.
Imagine, though, if things were never going to change; if life continued like this with no end in sight. For a heart-wrenching number of children, both in the UK and around the world, this is their reality. Just growing up is a struggle when you are constantly hungry and have little or no access to healthcare and education.
That’s why, as we all start on the run up to Christmas, I have turned my thoughts to what I (and you) might be able to do to make their lives just a little bit better. To try and add back a little spark of joy into the lives of children who have NOTHING and are struggling just to make it through each day, week and month and maybe even help them smile.
Normally, at KeriKit, we offer the chance to make a small donation at checkout, which goes towards planting trees to offset our carbon emissions. However, with Black Friday on the horizon and Christmas gifting at the front of our minds, I’ve decided to switch my support to two children’s charities which are both very close to my heart, namely: the Touch a Heart Foundation and the Honeypot Children’s Charity.
I’ll explain more about these charities and the great work that they do below. The important point to make for now is that I will be adding an option on my checkout page to make a small donation to help these two very worthy children’s charities during the festive season. Please be aware that 100% of all donations made will go towards helping these children and their families. None of it will be syphoned off to pay admin fees or salaries.
I know it’s a big ask, especially at a time when outgoings are already high on the lead up to Christmas. The stakes here are high as well for these poor children. But, if we pull together, we CAN help make a difference in these children’s lives, and show them that we do care and that they have not been forgotten. To show my support towards these charities, I will personally match fund the donations that you make, up to a value of £250. What's more, since it’s UK-based, the Honeypot Children’s Charity will be eligible for all donations made between 1st – 8th of December to be doubled (or possibly quadrupled) by the Government’s ‘Big Give’ scheme.
Touch a Heart Foundation
I posted a blog recently (on my birthday) about the Touch A Heart Foundation, which KeriKit has been supporting over the last 3 years or so. My good friend and physio, Alan Watson, introduced me to the Foundation which works with a children’s refugee camp based in Malaak, near the Syrian border. Around 300 people live in small wooden framed buildings surrounded with plastic. There is no sewage, running water or electricity.
Twice a year, Alan visits the camp with his son to treat over 150 children and provide them with medical support and help wherever possible. Over the past four years, donations that have been made to the camp helped with the opening of a ‘Learning Centre for Kids,’ providing a safe place where the children can come to learn everything, from writing skills to arts and crafts.
However, following the recent blast in Beirut, along with the worldwide pandemic, local unemployment has risen to 65%, and the people who previously helped fund and run the camp are now not even able to feed themselves. To make matter worse, international volunteers can’t currently visit the camp due to COVID-19 restrictions. People are starving and, without urgent funds, this camp will close and innocent children will die. Just 50p can provide a hot meal for a child and £2.50 will fuel the generator for the whole camp for a day. I have added their just-giving link here should you wish to make an independent donation.
At Christmas time, life shouldn’t be just about physically surviving, there should also be some love and joy too. These vulnerable children need to know that we care. That is why we are lending support to the Touch a Heart Foundation’s mission to create a little joy for the 400+ children at Malaak. They have launched a mission to gift a Christmas stocking to each child (handmade locally by a women's refuge charity), filled with a coin engraved with ‘Hope,’ a bag of chocolates, a writing pad & pen, and a suitable bracelet or toy. The cost of each stocking will be £5 and my wish is that we can find it within our hearts to donate whatever we can in order to fulfil the challenge of raising 400 stockings by December 18th.
The Honeypot Children’s Charity
Honeypot has been KeriKit’s chosen charity for the whole of 2020, and what a year it’s been….for all the wrong reasons. Many children who are forced to take on a carer’s role have found themselves isolated with little help or emotional support available, and no respite from their carer duties.
This is exactly the time that the Honeypot Children’s Charity usually steps in to help face to face. They are dedicated to support children (between 5-12 years) who provide care and support to a parent, a grandparent, or a sibling who is ill, disabled, suffers from a mental health condition or substance abuse. They are the only charity in the UK that is specifically set up to care for child carers, and every year they support almost 2,500 young carers across the UK.
Having to adopt a surrogate adult role at home, alongside homework and school, is unbelievably tough. Some children are as young as five when they start helping to give medication, complete household chores, and assist with personal care. Although still children, they find themselves in a caring role 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Young carers often find it difficult to make friends with their peers as they have a limited amount of shared experiences. This means that, unfairly, many young carers are bullied at school as a result of their responsibilities at home. Young carers experience high levels of stress and anxiety, severe social isolation, educational underachievement, low self-esteem, economic deprivation and a substantially higher level of bullying than in the general population of young children.
With COVID-19 restrictions in place, many of the charity’s normal functions, such as respite breaks away from the home, have been impossible. Instead, the Honeypot Foundation moved online and has been a lifeline to hundreds of children. In addition to creative sessions with each child, they have created The Honeypot Crises Support Desk, which provides advice and support for child carers when they need it most.
We are planning to submit any donations with the ‘Big Give’ so we can double our donations. To help keep the crises service open 24hrs a day over the Christmas and New Year period, I’m asking all our lovely customers to think about the vital needs these children have for support and love at Christmas time, and make a small donation to support the charity. A £10 donation funds an hour of support via their crisis helpline, providing a lonely child with somebody to talk to who understands what they are going through. £5 will provide a small gift for a child who will otherwise receive nothing.