Thursday, July 2, 2020

CULTURE | 21-12-2019 13:38

Kiddies Xmas Fund: Helping the less fortunate this Christmas

Argentine-British Community Council (ABCC) launches annual campaign.

This year, we’d like to draw your attention to a little something that’s sure to spread a little cheer this Christmas season.

The Buenos Aires Herald began the Kiddies Xmas Fund some years ago to bring a bit of the light of the holiday season to those organisations supporting children who, being either homeless or orphaned, lacked the family or the means to enjoy such a time in the way most of us do.

Since then, the Argentine-British Community Council (ABCC) has picked up the Herald’s effort, following the publication’s demise and preserving its benevolent mission, as well as expanding the types of charities to which it donates.

This year the council has selected, along with four other institutions, the Asociación Civil Padrinos de Alumnos y Escuelas Rurales (APAER) as one of its recipients.

Distinct from the fund’s initial beneficiaries, APAER manages and maintains escuelas rurales (“schools in rural areas”), helping students to receive an education close to home and avoid migration to the cities.

ABCC chairman Guillermo Bindon reasoned the importance of APAER’s work, explaining to the Times that Argentina’s rural expanse poses a unique threat to fair and equal access to education.

The history of the Kiddies Xmas Fund, which includes partnering with organisations, mirrors the ABCC’s mission. After a conversation with Bindon, it seems the devotions of the council have evolved — its initial, historical intent being to carve out a space for commerce and community for recent British immigrants. While still preserving elements of the group’s heritage, the council is more focused nowadays on becoming a bridge between the Argentine and British communities, across the entire spectrum of inheritance and identity (fifth-generation and recent ex-patriate alike). Today, the majority of its members are Argentine-born.

Two of the fund’s partnering institutions reflect a beautiful history of devotion by members of this cross-cultural community to the charity and progress of Argentina.

For example, Fundación VITRA was founded by a member of the Argentine-British community Dr. Gwendolyn Shepherd, along with 11 other women, to provide relief during Argentina’s polio epidemic. The foundation now serves as an educational project for children with disabilities, providing a fully equipped learning environment, physical and psychological therapy and student housing.

Moreover, one of the fund’s original recipients — a beneficiary this year as well — was Córdoba housing and education centre Hogar el alba, founded by Britishphilanthropist William Morris. Serving the community for over 93 years, it has grown tremendously in scale since then and now has four foster homes, as well as a large educational project —all of which fight for youth social rehabilitation and attempt to provide a clear path for a happy and healthy life. The mission of their organisation, past and present, as well as of the other organisations participating in the fund, can be succinctly defined by their website’s quoting of the founder: “The great question of the future is the discipline of freedom.”

Along with the aforementioned, the fund will benefit The Salvation Army and the Hogar Amparo Maternal Sarah Hernández de Cilley.



How you can help

The Argentine-British Community Council requests your donation for its third annual Kiddies’ Xmas Fund. Donations will benefit the following charities: El Alba Homes, The Salvation Army, Fundación Vitra for children with disabilities, A.P.A.E.R. (Asociación Civil Padrinos de Alumnos y Escuelas Rurales) and the Hogar Amparo Maternal Sarah Hernández de Cilley.

It is important to recognise the context in which these donations are being solicited. The economic crisis is not to be ignored, but nonetheless the campaign’s organisers are asking everyone to contribute what they can. Furthermore, in times like these, there are levels of impact, and, unfortunately, those already in the most precarious of situations are often hit hardest by large-scale financial hardship — likewise for institutions that depend on voluntary contributions for survival.

Donations can be placed by credit card by calling the ABCC office at (+54 11) 5284-8064/5. Please send or deliver all cash, cheques or deposits to the ABCC’s office, located at Esmeralda 634. They are open Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm. Please make all cheques out to “British Community Welfare Fund – no a la orden” and all deposits/ transfers out to “BANCO PATAGONIA, name: BRITISH COMMUNITY WELFARE FUND, Sucursal N10, Cuenta Corriente N0831-5051, CBU 0340010400008315051005, CUIT 30-52566392-9.

Contributions will be accepted until January 7, 2020. Thank you.

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Sara Gierc

Sara Gierc

Writer and undergraduate student at New York University studying English literature and creative writing.

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