Good causes

Celebrating World Book Day

Hooray, it’s World Book Day! I love the fact that children all over the country are celebrating their favourite books today. As regular readers of this blog will know, I think it’s so important to encourage kids to enjoy reading from an early age. We decided to get in the spirit of things by making our own Baby Bookworm a little outfit … So I’m very proud to present Little Miss as Little Miss Sunshine! Thanks to Book Aid International for their fantastic and easy step-by-step guide to making the costume and to hubby for being such a big help making it last night – who needs date night?!

Little Miss on World Book Day 2014

Our Little Miss Sunshine

If you’re also getting involved in World Book Day then I hope you’re having fun! And if you’re raising money for Book Aid International I hope it’s going really well. This special charity sends more than 500,000 books a year to communities in Africa where reading cannot be taken for granted. More than half of these are for children. You can read more about their work in my previous post or if, like us, you’d like to make a donation to mark World Book Day please click hereFor every £2 donated they can send a new book to one of the poorest communities in the world.

And I had to make this our Magic Moment for the week as I just love the picture!

Book Aid International logoWorld Book Day logo


Let Kids Be Kids link badge

Categories: Baby bookworm, Good causes | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

Help change children’s lives on World Book Day

Support Book Aid International on World Book DayRegular readers of this blog will know I’m passionate about reading and especially about reading with my daughter. We’re fortunate to have a ready supply of books – either by being able to buy them, regularly receiving them as gifts or borrowing them from our well-stocked local library. We rarely think too hard about where our next one is coming from! But there are some places in the world where books are much more of a luxury, where they cannot be taken for granted as they are here. That’s where UK-based charity Book Aid International comes in. Thursday 6 March is World Book Day and the charity needs us to help while joining in with the celebrations.

I can’t imagine a life without books. I’ve learnt so many things through them and have so many happy memories attached to them. I can still recall the bedtime stories my parents read, fairy tales like The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Gingerbread Man and later Enid Blyton’s Wishing Chair and Faraway Tree series. As I see that same love and interest emerge in my Little Miss, I want all children to be able to enjoy the simple pleasures and longer-term learning benefits of books.

For millions of people in Africa their only access to books is through a library – and these libraries take many different forms. Book Aid International sends more than 500,000 new books a year to sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these countries are blighted by poverty, civil war, HIV/AIDS, inconsistent educational provision and other problems. They include places like Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Malawi. Over half the books provided are for children and many reach those who have no access to any formal education, like street children.

Children receiving Book Aid parcel

As well as books, the charity also provides training for local librarians and grants to buy locally published books and for library refurbishments. They help create Children’s Corners in public libraries and run schemes like School Library in a Box for those who don’t have the resources for a permanent building, especially in more isolated communities. They also support Health Hubs, where people can get access to up-to-date medical books – these are often the only local source of current health information for healthcare workers in these countries.

I think this is amazing work to be involved with, so whether your a parent, teacher (I know some of you are!) or just a book lover, Mr Men dress upplease take a look at the fundraising ideas and resources the charity has put together to mark World Book Day and help spread the word. There are lots of ideas, including an A to Z of fundraising, 10 easy step-by-step parents’ guides to dressing up costumes – all made with things you can probably find at home – and the chance for schools to win National Book Tokens. For a younger child like mine I think the Little Miss Sunshine outfit will be perfect – she is already, of course, my very own Little Miss Sunshine!

Just £2 is enough to send a book to Africa and help change lives. Last year’s World Book Day fundraising brought in enough cash to send almost 40,000 books to children who needed them most. I’m sure even more can be raised this year, so please join in and have fun.

Book Aid International logoWorld Book Day logo

Image credits: Book Aid International

Categories: Baby bookworm, Good causes | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Twin your toilet…

Toilet twin graphicAs the mother of a toddler I sometimes find myself reminiscing about the days when I could go to the toilet without being accompanied by an over-excited little person, who points at me shouting “mummy wee wee, mummy wee wee!” before making a grab for the loo roll.

But toddler issues aside, here in the UK we enjoy constant easy access to toilets that are generally safe, hygienic and private. I was recently shocked to discover that 2.5 billion people across the world don’t have access to what should be a basic human right for all.

That’s 1 in 3 people across the world, 40% of the global population, who have to use fields, streams, rivers, railway lines, canal banks, roadsides, plastic bags, or squalid, disease breeding buckets.

Here, we take it for granted that we’re never too far away from a half-decent loo. In the first world, our biggest toilet concerns are likely to be whether or not there’s a queue, did the last user pee on the seat and will there be any paper left. While they might not always be pristine, even the grubbier public loos are unlikely to give you a serious illness or prove to be dangerous.

But in some places in the world the simple act of going to the loo can prove deadly – and it’s women and children who are at greatest risk.

Bad sanitation is one of the world’s biggest killers. Every minute, three children under the age of five die because of dirty water and poor sanitation. Right this minute, around half the people in the world have an illness caused by bad sanitation.

In Africa, half of young girls who drop out of school do so because they need to collect water – often from many miles away – or because the school hasn’t got a basic toilet. The lack of a loo can also make women and girls easy targets for sexual assault as they have to go in the open, late at night.

ID-100165996In 2000, 189 countries signed up to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. The sanitation target for 2015 is currently way off-target and at this rate won’t be met in sub-Saharan African until the 23rd century!

It’s appalling when you think about it, almost unimaginable.

I found out about toilet twinning when a local teenager spoke (very impressively) about it at a recent church service we were at. It’s a
ridiculously simple idea but one that can have a huge impact. Basically, for every £60 raised you can twin a toilet at home, work, school or wherever with a purpose-built latrine in the developing world.

toilet picToilet Twinning raises funds for founder charities Cord and Tearfund to help bring safe, clean and hygienic sanitation to families and communities by helping to pay for latrines, hygiene education and clean water projects.

And in return for twinning your toilet you get a certificate of your toilet’s twin, containing a photo, its location and its GPS coordinates so you can look it up on Google Maps.

So we’re planning to save our pennies – excuse the pun – and raise our £60 so we can twin our home toilet. Once we’ve done this I’ll hang our certificate in the bathroom as a reminder that even though life may be less than perfect at times, at least we have safe, hygienic access to one of life’s necessities. I hope you’ll consider doing the same.

You can find out more at


Facts and statistics from

Main image credit: nuttakit/

Second image: cbenjasuwan/

Third image:

Categories: Good causes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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