Open Your Heart for Red Nose Day

Not long before my daughter was born, I purchased a little photo frame from a market stall. It wasn’t anything special, but it carried a message that I really liked: “Whenever a child is born, the world lights up with possibilities”.

Recently, whilst walking through our peaceful forest with George, this message sprung back to my mind. Such simple, wonderful words, but are they always true? Are there real opportunities for the countless children who are born in the wrong place, at the wrong time or to the wrong parents? What hope is there for them? What can we do to make their lives better?

 Today, these questions will be on everyone’s lips and none of us will be able to turn our eyes away from the uncomfortable reality of how some of the most innocent live on this planet. In the 21st century.  This is what Red Nose Day – or Comic Relief – is all about:

Publicising the sad stories of less fortunate children in Africa and the UK and turning their tears into smiles. Employing the art of comedy, in all its forms, to raise money for charity. Coming together one day a year to try to change things. In a world where the rich-beyond-measure reward themselves with millions of pounds they don’t really need, it’s up to the rest of us to make a difference. It always has been. And we’ve proved, year after year, that there is enough compassion in our hearts to find the means to make this difference.

Tonight my family and I will be watching the Red Nose Day fund-raising programme on TV. We will laugh at the gags and gasp at the acts of bravery put together by celebrities and common people alike in their attempt to raise awareness and money. We will cry at the sad stories of children working in slums for a penny a day, dying of hunger or sleeping in the street. We will be moved by the desperation of these children’s parents and their genuine gratitude for any act of kindness they are shown. We will cuddle up together and be thankful for our privileged life. But, more importantly, we’ll press the ‘Donate’ button or make a call.

This is one of those days when I wish I was rich. Not for my own gratification – we’ve got everything we need – but to be able to help and share. But, since this is real life, I’m not in that position and have to settle for a modest donation. I have to be honest, I used to wonder whether our humble contribution would really really make a difference. Surely, a few pounds can’t go that far. Well, you’d be surprised! They say that my £5 can save 4 children from dying of malaria. It’s only a tiny amount and a small gesture, with an amazing result. Imagine what can be achieved with a hundred, a thousand or a million times that!

I no longer feel isolated and powerless. We’re only weak as individuals, but we’re powerful together. I strongly believe that and days like today prove me right. The social movements in the Middle East do, too, but this is not the time nor the place to go into that.

Times are hard for everybody, but the truth is that there’s always someone out there who is less fortunate, poorer or in a more desperate situation than us. Today is about opening our hearts to them, listening to their muffled voices and helping them however we can. Last year we calculated that we spent more on butterfly netting to protect our cabbages than the price of a mosquito net which would save a child from becoming infected with malaria. This makes me think that we can all find the means, however small, to show that we care. All we need to do is sacrifice something which, come to think of it, we may not need in the first place, like our butterfly netting or your bottle of wine.

So put on a red T-shirt, do someting funny and join in the charity express. You may wake up a happier person tomorrow.

**********

If you’d like to find out more about Red Nose Day and what some of the celebrities involved in the fund-raising events have to say about it, click here.

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20 Comments

Filed under Our days, Whilst walking the dog

20 responses to “Open Your Heart for Red Nose Day

  1. What a great organization! It’s amazing what a few dollars or pounds can do to improve the lives of others. Plus, when combined with others, the impact is that much greater!

    It’s a great thing to always remember there are others less fortunate. It not only makes you grateful for what you have, it also pushes you to do more for others! Thanks for sharing Red Nose Day!

  2. Wonderful idea! I wish I lived there in England to watch this event with you. Is Richard Curtis the guy who used to write the various Blackadder Series with Ben Elton? Loved Lenny Henry in Chef! and needless to say I havae been a fan of Jonathan Ross ever since his stints hosting The Incredibly Strange Film Show and Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show!

    • I think you would have liked it, Ed, it was good entertainment for a brilliant cause. Yes, Richard Curtis is the Blackadder writer – apparently the only one to have written (or co-written) every episode of it. Quite impressive, I think. You seem to know all the major contributors to this event. I love Lenny Henry, too, and he’s actually the initiator of Red Nose Day, so hats off for him for that.
      Your knowledge on films and visual arts never ceases to amaze me!

  3. Didi! What a beautiful post. And you really took it home when you compared the butterfly netting to the mosquito netting. You have a very strong point. Every little bit helps. Thank you so much for the inspiration. Even though I don’t live in the UK, I can join you in spirit and make donations of my own. I thought the absolute best line of this post was: “In a world where the rich-beyond-measure reward themselves with millions of pounds they don’t really need, it’s up to the rest of us to make a difference.” Perfectly worded. Beautiful post.

    • You’re right, Melissa. We can all rally together for worthy causes regardless of where we are. Red Nose Day is only one of the British fund-raising events that take place every year. I know there are a lot of similar events in the US. My husband worked in an international American school for a few years, and I know that you guys are probably better at giving to charity and doing charity work than anybody else. So I’ve got no doubt that you’re doing your bit over there, your own way.
      I’m glad you picked up on that line, as I wasn’t sure whether to leave it in the post or not. I wasn’t aiming to be too opinionated, but I have a huge problem with the way the world is run and operates, and finding out that 250 top bankers in this country alone gave themselves around 1 million pounds as a bonus each two days before Red Nose Day just made me flip. I’m still fuming about that, as I don’t think that they deserve that money or would have donated very much last night. So I had to bring it up, but forced myself to not get into a rant (which is what I’ve just done, sorry about that). You see, I’m trying to behave myself …:)

  4. Red nose day is a little different here. I think it’s awareness for SIDS. I know it’s on when I see red noses on the buses.

    It amazes me how many people die of malaria each year. I believe it’s the disease that kills the most people on the planet. But, perhaps because it mainly affects poor countries in Africa, it doesn’t get the publicity it deserves. That netting makes all the difference.

    I hope the fundraising was a success. Seems like so many things happening at the moment that require our attention (and money). Quite despressing really.

    • You’re right, because these things happen elsewhere, so far away from our ‘civilised’ world, it’s easy to look away. It wasn’t that easy last night, that’s for sure. The stories they showed were so tragic that I spent the entire night in tears. The fundraising was a huge success, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a record one (I haven’t seen the final figures yet). Somehow, when times are hard, people seem to be more compassionate and want to help more. The money goes to different things: malaria, AIDS, cataract in Africa, as well as child carers, dementia and alzheimer here in the UK. As you say, there’s so much to deal with at the moment. I find it quite depressing, too, and we’re not the only ones – check out Pamela’s latest post on somethingwagging.

  5. We really love the whole concept of Red Nose Day. My Tanner has taken is quite to heart, as you will see in the header of 5 Minutes for Fido–his blog. I still laugh each time I visit. Hope you do to: http://www.5minutesforfido.com

    • Hi, Carrie, and thank you for your comment. Tanner is a gorgeous boy, and I love that photo of him in the banner. He seems to be upset about that Stylish Blogger Award, though. I wonder what you’re going to to about that 🙂

  6. What a poignant post, Didi. And a good reminder to be aware and generous at all times of the year.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you, Pamela. A good thing about blogs is that, on days like this, they can help us spread the word and raise awareness. Being generous is something that, unfortunately, we forget easily and need to be reminded of.

  7. I have heard about Red Nose Day, but this is the first time I’ve really understood what it was for. What a great idea for a fundraiser! I wish we had it over here in the States. I also envy those red noses that I see people get every year for the event! 😛 I hope it’s successful and you enjoy it. I agree with you in the sentiment that there’s always someone worse off than you somewhere. 🙂

    • It is a very loved event, especially by children, because of the red noses and the play element it involves. The main point, though, is to raise money for poor little angels who are having a hard time, and I am really happy to ‘report’ that last night was a huge success. Not only was the entertainment exceptional, but the money raised was a new national record. I don’t have the final figures, but around midnight they had already reached 60 something million pounds, which was almost 10 million more than last year. 🙂

  8. HAHAHAHA Awesome! Thanks for sharing Red Nose Day! It takes a little while for the US to steal the UK’s ideas, so I’ll hope this shows up here in a few years. 🙂 Honk honk!

  9. Thanks for the Link Didi. We’ll do our part.

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