Wednesday, 6 February 2013

More Than A Pillow

At the weekend we bought B her first pillow. It's a flat little thing, with a cute pillowcase covered in a bizarre mix of animals: lions, fish, hippos and alligators. And yes, it's from Ikea, of course. She loves it, and will lay her head on it and make little snoring noises, though she is yet to fall asleep by herself on it. I'm watching her now, in the wee hours of the morning, as she sleeps so soundly, secure in the sense that I am close by, her snuffles matching those of her father lying on my other side.

How blessed she is to be loved and cared for, when there are so many children out there who are alone, neglected, frightened, abused and forgotten. Seeing her peaceful little face resting on her pillow, I am reminded of something Christina Noble OBE once said. She wished "for all children to sleep on their pillows at night surrounded by Love, Peace,Security & Dignity." What an important wish, and one that Christina Noble has been working tirelessly for in Vietnam and Mongolia. After her own painful childhood, she went to Vietnam after dreaming about the country and the children there, and eventually set up the Christina Noble Children's Foundation (CNCF) to serve underprivileged children with the hope of helping each child maximize their life potential.

In Vietnam and Mongolia the Foundation seeks to protect children at risk of economic and sexual exploitation. They provide access to basic care and educational opportunities for these and other children in need.

The programmes are accomplished within the context of the family and the community whenever possible, with love and respect for the dignity of each child as an individual of paramount importance.

Christina Noble Children's FoundationCNCF is close to my heart. I read Christina's autobiography, Bridge Across My Sorrows, when I was a young teenager, after my younger sister recommended it to me. I was moved by the sadness of her childhood and touched by her tireless efforts to care for and improve the lives of the children of Vietnam. Her story has stayed with me. Even more so since my sister, whose desire to work for CNCF has remained and grown, went to volunteer for the charity last year. The stories she told us of the delightful children in her care have brought smiles and tears.

I am so grateful for people like Christina Noble. And for those like my sister, who volunteer to support and continue the good work. I am not in a position to go out to Vietnam or Mongolia to work with the children there, but I can do my bit at home. I can spread the word about the wonderful work of the CNCF and I can support them financially. But more importantly, perhaps, I can ensure that my little girl goes to sleep each night surrounded by love, peace, security and dignity, and bring her up with the ability and desire to confer those blessings upon those she encounters. The more children who are brought up that way, the more adults there will be to love and protect the children who aren't.

If you wish to find out more about Christina Noble or her Foundation, check out the website. You can also find CNCF on Facebook and Twitter.

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