Readers donate £71,170 to help suffering children

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The Independent Online

Thanks to the generosity of readers of The Independent, this year's Christmas Appeal has raised £71,170 for the British charity Hope for Children. Some of the money readers gave is already being rushed to Sri Lanka to provide emergency aid for victims of a cyclone that destroyed the homes of thousands on the island last week.

Thanks to the generosity of readers of The Independent, this year's Christmas Appeal has raised £71,170 for the British charity Hope for Children. Some of the money readers gave is already being rushed to Sri Lanka to provide emergency aid for victims of a cyclone that destroyed the homes of thousands on the island last week.

"The amount that has been donated to us is beyond all expectations," said Bob Parsons, the founder of Hope for Children.

Thanks to the boost in donations Hope for Children was able to send an immediate emergency grant of £2,000 to its Sri Lanka representative to help with the relief effort for victims of Tropical Cyclone 04B. Half a million Sri Lankans fled their homes last week in the face of 90mph winds; 75,000 families have seen their houses destroyed or have been marooned far from their homes.

Overall, much of the money given by readers will go towards work in Sri Lanka, where Hope for Children has its biggest commitment. The Independent reported on a creche for Sri Lankan street children that allows parents to find work, and a scheme that lends homeless families with children money to pay their first year's rent on a house. Work is also under way in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

In Britain, the charity is helping a refuge for women abused by their husbands or partners, where they can live in safety with their children, and letting 150 deprived children visit the Christmas pantomime at the Hackney Empire in London.

The Independent interviewed Lulu about her support for Hope for Children, and her efforts to promote the charity. "This is a charity that sticks around when the big ones move out," Lulu said. "Nothing is too small for them to help."

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