UK Teddy bears bring Christmas joy to refugee children in West Nile
Monday 4 December: A motley crew of 700 British teddy bears today brought a sprinkling of Christmas joy to refugee children in Northern Uganda, majority of who have lost everything.
The teddy bears first came together in a flash-mob outside St Paul’s Cathedral (London, England) in the summer. The international children’s charity, World Vision, organised a sit-down stunt on the steps of the cathedral to highlight the plight of children fleeing conflict in South Sudan.
With conflict still raging in South Sudan, thousands of children continue to cross the border into Uganda – many of them alone, sick or separated from their parents. Most of them have absolutely nothing – not even toys to play with. Today, World Vision UK’s star teddy bear Precious arrived in Imvepi refugee settlement with all 700 teddy bears in tow. The story of the 6,000-mile journey from Milton Keynes (south-east England) to Arua (northern Uganda), was creatively told on World Vision UK’s social media channels.
Children will play with the teddies at World Vision’s 31 Child Friendly Spaces in the settlements. The spaces provide young people with a safe place to play, get a basic education, engage in peace-building activities, learn about their rights and protection, and steadily recover from distress. They also allow children to return to healthy routines and start to feel normal again.
Paul Sitnam, World Vision Response Director, Northern Uganda said: “Children at our centres were so happy and excited to welcome Precious and her furry friends. These children have already gone through so much - it’s heart-warming for them to know they are not forgotten, especially during the festive period. We’re very grateful to people in the UK who donated these bears. Thanks to them, Christmas has come a little early for children here!
The initiative was executed by World Vision UK in partnership with leading African airline, Kenya Airways. The collaboration was born out of a mutual commitment to supporting vulnerable communities in the developing world, which both organisations see as an important social responsibility.
Katrina Hanson, Area Manager Europe & US - Kenya Airways Cargo said: "We hope Precious and the bears enjoyed their flight with us. Kenya Airways was delighted to help take the teddies to refugee children in Uganda. Everyone remembers having a teddy bear as a child, so to love and hold a bear will delight children who could do with some comfort at a challenging time."
Conflict and a terrible famine in South Sudan have forced hundreds of thousands of families to flee their homes. Any money raised will make a real difference to children from the world’s youngest country. Visit worldvision.org.uk/bearsonstairsto find out more.
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Formoreinformation, spokespeopleandinterviews, pleasecontact:
PR - World Vision Uganda, West Nile Refugee Response
PR - World Vision UK
M: +44(0)7786 916 895
PR - Kenya Airways
M: +44(0)7876 653 077
Notes for Editors:
About World Vision
World Vision is the world’s largest children’s charity. It works to improve the lives of the world’s most deprived children by working closely with communities to tackle the root causes of poverty. It also works to protect the world’s most vulnerable children from early marriage, child labour, sexual violence and impacts of armed conflicts. And as it has continued presence in almost 100 countries, when disasters strike it is able to respond immediately. For further information, please visit www.worldvision.org.uk.
About Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to 53 destinationsworldwide, 42 of which are in Africa and carries over three million passengers annually. It continues tomodernize its fleet with its 36 aircraft being some of the youngest in Africa. This includes its flagshipB787 Dreamliner aircrafts. The on-board service is renowned and the lie-flat business class seat on thewide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10. Kenya Airways takes pride for being inthe forefront of connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa through its hub at the new ultra -modern Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Kenya Airways celebrated 40years of operations in January 2017 while KQ Cargo was named African Cargo Airline of the year 2017. Formore information, please visit www.kenya-airways.com for further information.