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Leading article: The difference you can make


Over the years Independent readers have shown tremendous generosity in donating to our annual Christmas Appeal. Scores of charities have benefited from that kindness, with thousands of lives improved in some of the poorest corners of the world.

We know people's wallets are lighter than they were. But last year your willingness to donate even in hard times was powerfully evident and we're confident we'll see a repeat in 2010. This year your donations will be divided between three charities that specialise in helping children: Barnardo's, ChildHope and Children on the Edge. Over the coming weeks we will report from across the globe, giving you first-hand accounts of how these charities do fantastic work in helping some of the world's – and Britain's – neediest children.

We begin our appeal today with a report from the maelstrom of Haiti, where one man's determination to provide football for children in the midst of rubble-strewn Port-au-Prince is helping the country's young to enjoy something we take for granted. You'll also hear about a remarkable move in Delhi to provide bank accounts for street children who struggle to hold on to the few coins they have. These are small steps that won't change the world, but they help to make it a far better place for those who have little.