Holy Christmas is on its way and everywhere we look parents are crowding shopping centres looking for presents for their children. These parents seek a good offer to purchase the requested game.
Children have already begun to write theirs letters to Baby Jesus and his helper, Father Christmas. The quicker ones already gave it to their parents, their intermediaries in this difficult task. The latter ask their children: “Are you sure you will receive presents and not coal? Were you good this year? Are you sure you deserve the prize?”
Let us remember that Christmas is Love before consumerism or the joy for presents. Let us not let that Baby, born poor in a hut and placed in a manger, fade into the background.
In Sierra Leone, where we of ‘Solidarity’ have been working for years, there are so many children who unfortunately still do not know the joy of Christmas.
So many children this Christmas day will be roaming the streets trying to sell something to receive their portion of daily rice in return. These children have no shop windows to look at, games to choose from, or letters to write. Rather, they have car tyres and empty food cans to play with. These children cannot enjoy their childhood because they have been placed before the hardships of life from the beginning. This life asks them to wash their own clothes, look after their younger siblings, sell to get food and calm those cramps of hunger. These children have no time to play, unfortunately.
Playing is supplanted by the primary need to feed.
Newborn babies are given peanuts or fish instead of milk. Baby food is too expensive for them, the meat too dear. The lucky ones are able to get fruits like mangoes and bananas.
Newborn babies whose mothers are ill or without milk risk their lives because they are given rice, but their stomach has yet to fully develop in order to be able to receive and process this type of food.
Holy Christmas won’t be celebrated in Sierra Leone this year either, because there are too few children who have the privilege of living in a house. The majority of them are put up in shacks built with wood or steel sheets. Few have the privilege to still have their parents, many do not have their mum, their dad or either as they have died because of Ebola, malaria or other forms of unrecognised and therefore as yet incurable infections. Or, they are children left to their cousins or uncles and aunts because their parents cannot feed them.
The Night before Christmas will descend in Sierra Leone too, but in the morning there will be no enthusiastic shouting from the surprised children opening their presents. They will be replaced by the crying of hungry children, of those who need medicine because they are ill, of those who are cold and need clothing to cover themselves.
What will the world do about this?
Will it stand by and watch? Will the luckier ones only think of enriching their tables? No. We at ‘Solidarity’ are sure that Love still lives in this world. Hope still lives. The flame still burns. We at ‘Solidarity’ are convinced that mankind today and always does not only need love but also needs to give it. We at ‘Solidarity’ believe that there are still men, women and children today who are capable of looking beyond and reach, with simple gestures of love, those who are in need. Children most of all, in their simplicity, teach us to love, teach us to smile, teach us to see the needy people who are marginalised on the streets in their eyes.
We at ‘Solidarity’ will try, with everyone’s help, to bring this love to our orphan children of the Bo Orphanage. We at ‘Solidarity’, with everyone’s help, will try to bring the smile of Christmas to these wholly innocent children. We at ‘Solidarity’, with everyone’s help, will try and let these children experience the magic of Christmas with colours, food, clothing and why not, a few games and especially footballs to play with.
The truest and most heartfelt wishes we at ‘Solidarity’ can give you are precisely these: do not be afraid to open up the doors of your heart to love and also remember that the smallest gesture of love that you can carry out is never insignificant, if carried out in the name of love. The root of love always bears its fruits on the great tree.
Even just 1€ donated to these children will help the tree of love bloom.
Dr. Samuele Colombo (even known as Samuel Colombo)
Founder and Chairman of ‘Solidarity’
Account Name: Samuele Colombo
IBAN: IT39 F07 6010 5138 2407 1674 0720