Today I bought a violin for a 9-year-old child living in North Wales, a child whom I have never met or will ever meet; a complete stranger. All I know of this child is that she is 9 years old, has been the victim of domestic abuse and that this Christmas she asked Santa for a violin.
Despite the innocence that has been stolen from her I hope that she still believes in Father Christmas and that receiving the wished-for gift gives her some joy and hope for her future. If she has already seen through the Santa myth, then I hope that my small act of generosity shows her that adults can be kind without any sinister hidden intention.
Like most people I have given to charity at Christmas before; a metaphoric goat to a family in Africa, a donation to help those living with cancer and tinned food to my local food-bank – however this is the first time that I have felt so tangibly aware that my money is going where it is intended and I am really impacting a life.
I chose this little girl and the gift she wished for from an Amazon shopping list established by the charity Embrace Child Victims of Crime and their fantastic Dear Santa campaign. Police and counsellors have nominated children that have suffered trauma as a result of serious crime (physical and sexual abuse, the murder of a sibling or parent and other quite unimaginable crimes). The children are asked to pick any gift that they desire, up to the value of £50, and these are added to the charity’s Amazon wish list. Individuals or companies are invited to go online and either donate to a pot to purchase the full list of gifts, or search through the list picking a child and their particular gift to play Santa for.
Browsing the list is heart-breaking as the basic details of the region in which the child lives, their age and the type of crime they have been victim of is listed alongside the gift they are hoping for at Christmas. The gifts range from dolls to trainers, music instruments to electronic tablets and are all things that you would expect any child to wish for this Christmas; but I imagine that for many of the children nominated these are mostly out of the reach of their families.
Purchased gifts are sent to the Embrace Child Victims of Crime office where they will be wrapped before being sent out just in time for Christmas. There is also the opportunity for individuals or groups to get involved and help with the mammoth task of wrapping gifts. The charity is focussed on supporting child victims of crime across the UK with counselling and support and this Dear Santa gift campaign is just an extra way they are working to mend hearts, minds and families.
Today I bought a violin for a child whom I hope will take heart from my small generosity and will experience much deserved delight and joy at Christmas. I hope that this gift gives her another way of coping and overcoming what has happened to her. I strongly encourage and hope that others will take on this role of very secret Santa and spread the joy to these deserving children and young people.
The above article was written by a genuine donor to the Dear Santa campaign who has given permission for this to be published, but wishes to remain anonymous.
I would be delighted to talk to any individuals or corporates who would like to support the Dear Santa campaign or learn more about the amazing work of Embrace Child Victims of Crime. Currently around 260 children and young people have listed their desired Christmas gift wish and others will follow if sufficient money is raised.