‘Tis the season to be gifting, this time of year filled with shopping, choosing, wrapping, waiting….and then giving. Cards are read, parcels are unwrapped, ribbons fall to the floor as excitement rises. Smiles, hugs, thanks. Onto the next. For millions across the globe, this is the routine inspired by Santa’s sweet surprises, loved ones’ lovely thoughts turned to presents under the glow of Christmas tree lights.

For millions, however, simply being able to sit peacefully for a day, for just a few hours, would be a gift in itself. The ability to shut one’s eyes, breathe in silence, feel safe and warm and loved. It is so easy to forget these souls so deserving of such simple joys.It is so easy for the radius of one’s life to close in.

And then a Christmas miracle happens – an announcement is made that makes one’s heart burst with a wide smile, widening the lens, cracking open a feeling in one’s spirit that “God is watching.” 

The date: December 20th, 2017.

The messenger: the MacArthur Foundation.

The message: 100&CHANGE has awarded the partnership of Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee (IRC), working together in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, its ultimate prize, USD100 million to invest in early childhood education in Syrian refugee children: Sesame Seeds – “the largest early childhood intervention in the history of humanitarian response”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy7z8PUxNDY


Because displaced refugee children are at risk of profound loss, educationally, emotionally and societally, not to mention spiritually. And because our world’s current crisis of displacement risks destabilising the foundations of not just nations, but generations, both for those displaced and their host nations.

Because by breaking the scared, visible silence of a child, setting them free of toxic stress, the worries of a parent – or guardian for those little ones whose families are lost – are also set free.

Because injecting into a society a mechanism for adoption of those in need, a society’s core strengthened at all levels – family, community, wider society.

Because if anyone can teach a child to not just learn again, but trust, laugh and dream, it’s Elmo.

And, because, survival is not enough.

The gift of this remarkable grant of 100&Change, created by the vision and hearts of a remarkable organisation, The MacArthur Foundation, will touch the lives of tens of millions of those in need, directly and indirectly, with hope, with harmony, with a sense of ‘home’. Importantly, for the global community, it offers an emotionally comfortable and connecting way to care through a programme championed by beloved, Muppet characters hundreds and millions worldwide grew up on, and that still speak to one’s inner child no matter how big we may now be. Because, as stated by David Milliband, President and CEO of IRC, “the refugee crisis is a test of all of us.”

And so, as the new year nears, please, please add to your list of resolutions, placing it right on top of the list, the support of an organisation deserving of your stop-order because of their vision and courage to make a true, sustainable, meaningful, and multiplier-effect difference for our shared world.

Can’t decide which one? Here are three incredible programmes so worthy of the world’s support:

SESAME SEEDS: http://refugee.sesameinternational.org/

MSF SEA: https://www.msf.org.uk/country/mediterranean-search-and-rescue

ZIP ZAP CIRCUS SCHOOL: http://www.zip-zap.co.za/

Pick one, please, and give the gift of hope and security and life. No gift could yield greater heartglow. And Elmo will love you for it.

Happy 2018. x


Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2017