I’ve written previous Little Legacies, about how mum inspired my love of a nature and encouraged me to champion charities helping the developing world. This week I’m thinking about how I am going to carry those little legacies on.
It seems strange to start a post about Action Aid by referring to the World Wildlife fund, but bear with me (no pun intended), one little legacy informs another here.
At Christmas I broke my rule about not buying my kids anything they saw advertised on the telly as a present. I broke it to adopt a Snow Leopard for my daughter, and a Bengal Tiger for my son. The Tiger kind of did what he does in the book, came to tea, ran amok and then as quickly he was gone, I haven’t seen him much, he’s probably hibernating under my son’s bed, sneaking down to steal beer when we’re all in bed.
But the snow leopard’s legacy was immense. My 5yo daughter tells everyone who will listen about the plight of the snow leopard. Every night I must paraphrase the adoption booklet that accompanied the soft toy into child friendly language. If I skim over a bit she says things like ‘but what about the bit where the poacher’s grind up Snowy’s bones for medicine Mummy?’ Last week she came home in tears because her friend at school said she would never get up the Himalayas to see her Snow Leopard. I have visions of her actually climbing the Himalayas as an 18 year old gap year student. She’s stubborn, she probably will.
You get the picture. It’s made a big, and long lasting impression.
Back to Action Aid, whom I went down to London to meet last month. I was completely bowled over by their child sponsorship programme. I met comedian and Action Aid Ambassador Mark Watson, and Lyn and Spencer Banks, grandparents to twins who sponsor a child in Lesotho, Africa. All three had been to meet the child they sponsored and their stories really made a mark on me (again, no pun intended).
The Banks said it was the most moving thing they had ever done, Lyn talked of meeting their child’s family, bonding with his mother and seeing the tools, the chickens, the school garden, the food that their donations had funded.
How amazing would the impact of sponsoring a child be, not just on the child, their family and community, but on our family too? If a snow leopard could inspire my daughter so much, what about stories and photos from a child around her age? Action Aid sponsored children write twice a year and sponsors can send their own messages too.
One of the most worrying things I heard on my day with Action Aid is that charity giving had halved in the recession. Child sponsorship costs £15 a month. Times are tough, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make this commitment, but I’ve pulled together the money by dialling the option to leave my cable and mobile suppliers and asking for a better deal. So we’re waiting to hear who we have sponsored. I can’t wait to meet you, and hopefully share some of our journey here on the blog. Here’s just a snippet of one Action Aid child’s story…
There are other great ways to help. Share this post. Persuade your child’s school to consider school child sponsorship. Buy a bottle of fizz, Millione Frizante Rose. It’s amazing and has already raised £100,000.
Little legacy is a remembrance project , a positive and creative space, to celebrate small things handed down by inspiring people. Feel free to leave a link to a little legacy you’ve been thinking about this week, or to leave one in the comments. Here’s the code and here’s more on Little Legacy