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Aims and Achievements

What we are (and what we are not)

We set up CHILDREN'S WORLD INTERNATIONAL in 1999. Having seen the horrors of the Kosovo war on television and in photographs, we really wanted, once the war was over, to take the performance, fun and participation that Children's World can offer, to children who had been traumatised. Children's World's geographical remit does not extend to overseas work, so we formed a new Sister Charity, Children's World International, that would be able to take Children's World's work abroad whenever time and funds permitted, if there was an area where we thought children could benefit from what we had to offer.

CWI is not and never will be a "first response" charity. During the chaos of war, flood or earthquake we would only get in the way of the immediate response aid charities who do such wonderful work. But when the immediate disaster is over, we believe that CWI has a real role to play in bringing smiles back to the faces of the children (and therefore their parents) and giving hope for the future.

As funds allow, we would always be willing to help in any area of the world where NGO's already working on the ground feel that our work would be of benefit to the children they already work with, if they were able to set up a tour for us. Almost all disasters have an after-effect of lowness of morale and lack of hope for the future where we feel our work could be of value, and we would also very much like at some stage to work with children in Africa who are suffering from the Aids epidemic.

Since March 2005 CWI has visited areas devasted by the Tsunami to work with children who have been affected.
Tour diaries are here.

Paddy, Charlie & Haggis left on 13th October 2008 for a 4-week tour of Sumatra with Children's World International in partnership with Muslim Aid.
Video here. Their diary and pictures will be on line shortly.

The previous tour was to Sumatra in February/March 2008. Watch slideshow here.

CWI's History

Kosova 1999

Through the good services of War Child Holland and Balkan Sunflowers, two excellent Non-Government Organisations, a 6-person CWI team (me, Arabella, the Director of CW and CWI, Paddy and Charlie, CW's two wonderful main workshop leaders, and Daryl, Peat & Jamie, three splendid performers/workshop leaders) visited ALBANIA AND KOSOVO in NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 1999, only a few months after hostilities had ceased. (Children"s World is not a "first-response" Charity - we would only be in the way - the need for our work comes later, when "fun" is needed to show hope for the future.) Our shows and workshops were extremely well received by very large numbers of children in schools and camps, and we saw that we had been right in thinking that "fun" and enjoyment were truly of psycho-social value in situations where children had been traumatised. So many parents and grandparents came up to us with tears in their eyes, saying "Thank you - I never thought I would see my child smile again!"

We believe the sort of work that Children's World International can offer, though neither earth-shattering, nor truly vital like the rebuilding of houses and schools, is really incredibly valuable for children after trauma. Children, and indeed their families, need some moments of fun and relaxation - these moments help them towards healing and towards a belief that there is a brighter future ahead for them. They are also thrilled that people have come so far to see them and that they are not forgotten. In camps we visited, morale grew along with the smiles. Read Arabella's Kosovan and Albanian Diaries here

Northern Ireland 2004

Sadly Children's World International had neither time nor funds for further foreign visits for some years after our tour of Kosova or Albania and the Charity remained semi-dormant, though we did undertake three series of workshops for Contact-a-Family in NORTHERN IRELAND, working integrationally with children with disabilities & mainstream children, and Catholics & Protestants together. These workshops were very well received and CWI hopes to visit Northern Ireland again in the future.

The Tsunami challenge

THEN ON 26 DECEMBER 2004, THE TSUNAMI STRUCK - the pictures shown worldwide on television and in newspapers were so horrendous - the damage done, so enormous. So many died and so many were made homeless and lost their means of earning a living.

Arabella had visited and knew well many of the areas that had suffered, and we felt we really had to do something! Thanks to helpful friends and NGO's helping us make plans, and to kind individuals making financial donations, Children's World was able to visit:

Sri Lanka, March 2005

SRI LANKA IN MARCH 2005 - Peat (who had come to Kosovo and Albania with CWI in 1999) and I (Arabella) toured the West and South coasts of Sri Lanka together, taking Peat's clowning and juggling performances and large-scale, co-operative parachute games into camps, and then, when I had to return to England, Peat continued over to the East coast doing more shows and games sessions and making further useful contacts.

Sri Lanka, May 2005

SRI LANKA IN MAY 2005 - IOM (the International Office for Migration) invited Children's World International to send Peat over to perform at a Children's Festival that they were running on the East coast. We sent Peat over for 4 weeks, and as well as working at the Children's Festival he ran performances and games sessions in many camps along the East coast.

Sri Lanka, November and December 2005

SRI LANKA IN NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2005 - Knowing now how much need there was for the sort of fun that Children's World International could offer in Sri Lanka (40,000 had died there in the tsunami and many thousands of families were still homeless, living in camps and temporary shelters) we started fundraising to send a larger CWI Performance/Workshop/Play Tour there at the end of 2005.

A 5-person team (me, Paddy and Charlie, Children's World's 2 main workshop leaders, Jo, a talented performer and Holly, a splendid volunteer) arrived in Sri Lanka mid-November to work with Impakt Aid and Teardrop Relief on the West and South of the island (IOM deeming it not a good time to be touring on the East coast because of Tamil "troubles"). This Tour was very successful and reached more than 2,500 children in camps and temporary shelters, giving great pleasure and enjoyment to the children and their families.

Thailand, December 2005 and January 2006

THAILAND IN DECEMBER 2005/JANUARY 2006 - We were invited to visit Thailand by Linda Cruse of the Prince of Wales Overseas Business Trust, and with the help of her and others a Children's World International team (Bella and juggling husband Haggis, and Jo and her performing husband Jake were the main team, joined at diffeerent times by volunteer helper Jessica, and volunteer performers Paul, Martha, Trent and Lee) toured a large number of schools some on Phuket Island, but mostly in Khao Lak, the area of Thailand that was most devastated by the tsunami. Almost all the shows and workshops took place in schools, and more than 10,000 children were reached. The needs in Thailand were not so great as those in Sri Lanka, but the Tour was still deemed of real value to the children we performed for and worked with.

Sri Lanka, March 2006

SRI LANKA IN MARCH 2006 - We still had a little funding left and as there were no immediate workshops lined up in West of England schools, we sent Paddy and Charlie, Children's World's 2 Chief Workshop Leaders, out to Sri Lanka again. They worked with Impakt Aid on the West coast and with the International Office for Migration on the East coast, reaching approximately 6,000 children. A further Tour of Sri Lanka is planned for June/July 2006.

Aceh, April 2006

The Future

Aids in Africa

The Director is extremely keen, when time and money allows, for Children's World International to undertake a Creative Play Tour in Africa some time in the future for families who are suffering from Aids.