What do children’s charities and Roald Dahl have in common?

Roald’s Dahl’s wisdom resonates with children’s charities & humanitarian organizations because children are at the heart and focus of our vision and mission.

Fundraising team
UNICEF South Africa/2020
07 October 2020

As Roald Dahl Story Day was celebrated across the world on the 13th of  September, it seemed apt to highlight the wisdom of one of the best-loved children’s authors of all time when considering children’s charities. At the heart of these humanitarian organizations, children are the focus, but sometimes the faces and needs of these children get lost in a complex world of adult logic and grown-up seriousness. 

Matilda - one of Roald Dahl’s most endearing characters - reminds us of this fact: “Children are not so serious as grown-ups and they love to laugh.”

As children’s charities strategize goals and initiatives and create campaigns to reimagine better futures for children, they should never compromise on putting smiles on children's faces. Any humanitarian organization that remains focused on this mission is one worth supporting. 

Roald Dahl & the ‘Power of Kindness’

“I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I'll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else. Kindness – that simple word. To be kind – it covers everything, to my mind. If you’re kind that’s it.”  -Roald Dahl

At their core, when looking to protect children’s rights and help improve social conditions in vulnerable communities, children’s charities begin with kindness. Kindness is a powerful action that creates an environment of care and empathy, coupled with a desire to make the world a better place for those who are vulnerable.

© UNICEF/UNI186009/Miltcheva

Kindness goes a long way and has the power to be the catalyst and motivator for generosity, courage and bravery. As stated in Roald Dahl’s ‘The BFG,’ it’s simply a matter of: “Let your love out.”

Poverty, brokenness and hardship are all around us, and millions of children are growing up with this as their daily context. Childhood innocence is threatened and youthful goals are compromised. COVID-19 has certainly brought harsh realities into the lives of so many children and it falls to children’s charities and their generous, kind donors to reach in and protect these vulnerable children from the hard edge of the unequal and diverse society we live in. 

Roald Dahl & the ‘Power of Stories’

“Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.” -Roald Dahl

A children’s charity will always take a child’s right to education seriously and advocate for that behind-the-scenes and on-the-ground. Currently, in South Africa, 66% of children eligible for Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes do not have access to them. 

Learning to read and write opens up a world of imagination and opportunity to children, and is the beginning of offering the future generations of South Africa a fairer and more just society. It allows children to “watch with glittering eyes the whole world around (them) because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” –Roald Dahl, Billy and The Minpins

UNICEF South Africa/2012/Schermbrucker

Children’s charities seek to find solutions to the integral questions without getting bogged down by the many ‘what if’s:’ “What if children drop out of school? What if children don’t learn to read and write? What if…”

They take Roald Dahl’s reminder in ‘Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator’ seriously: “You'll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that.” These humanitarian organizations relentlessly set about helping to keep children learning and, where possible, in school during COVID-19 and the lockdown restrictions. 

“There is little point in teaching anything backwards. The whole object of life, Headmistress, is to go forwards.” -Roald Dahl, Matilda. This is certainly the hope and endeavour of children’s charities.

Roald Dahl & the ‘Power of Influence’

“Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.” -Roald Dahl.

All children’s charitable organizations have the power to be instruments of change and to positively impact societies. That is why a trustworthy and credible children’s charity will be transparent and accountable to the public and their donor support base. The influence and donations that they are given to bring about change must be stewarded wisely and for the maximum benefit of the vulnerable children they are creating a better tomorrow for. 

But no matter the daunting task and overwhelming needs facing children’s charities, the motivation of Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches,’ needs to be taken to heart: “It is most unlikely. But–here comes the big “but”–not impossible.” 

UNICEF South Africa - ‘For every child’

UNICEF South Africa’s humanitarian mission and ability to impact communities and protect the rights of every child reside in Matilda’s confidence and positivity: “Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.”

 “‘We must hurry!’ said Mr Wonka. ‘We have so much time and so little to do! No! Wait! Strike that! Reverse it!'” -Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

We agree. But even though there is so much to do and so little time to do it, we are constantly working to improve the lives of children and their communities every single day and celebrating the smiles and progress along the way. 

Will you ‘let your love out’ and help UNICEF South Africa change our little corner of the world?