Christmas is a coming…

To most children in the UK, December 25th means a holiday, presents, turkey, stockings and big family gatherings.  But for children all over the developing world it’s just one more day to survive –  no presents, feasts or holiday cheer.  If you could throw a Christmas party for thousands of vulnerable children, would you?

Our family did this last year by getting involved with Viva.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that Viva’s raison d’etre is making a difference for children at risk.  We do this by helping projects that already exist and help children, to work together to do their jobs better and more efficiently. 

What better way to get people, projects and churches to work together than by throwing a giant party!  Every year thousands of children across Africa, Asia and Latin America get to celebrate Christmas because hundreds of projects work together to throw them parties, with Viva’s coordination and support. 

At a Viva Christmas Party each child eats a local version of Christmas dinner, receives a present and is treated to a great day out.  Many of the countries we work in have warm Christmases, so parties in the past have featured visits to waterslides, local beaches or theme parks.  Can you imagine the look on her face when the little girl growing up in a slum takes her first ever trip down a waterslide?

These parties aren’t just about one day of fun and friends, though.  The most important element of Viva Christmas Parties is connecting children to local projects that can provide them with education, food, health care and love for years to come.  What starts with a Christmas Party ends up being a brighter life.  (And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?)

8-year-old Anil went to a Viva Christmas Party in Bangalore last year.  He remembers: “There were lots of things that made me happy on that Christmas Party day like dancing, singing Christmas songs, receiving gifts, painting our faces for the mime and participating in the acting on stage.  It was my first time to do all these things!”

Gloria had been living on the streets of Harare for a while when she heard about local Viva Christmas Parties.  She knew right away that she wanted to help out at all the parties… and she did!  At the parties, Gloria met other children and teenagers from local communities and as a result of talking with them, she decided to return home to her family.

Get involved – make this Christmas merry and bright for a child at risk.  Go to www.viva.org/ChristmasParties/ for ideas.