Nancy Buckland Kirk on how we can support Habibti Liverpool (with added Sex and the City moments optional).
During lockdown, I think so many of us started to struggle with feeling lethargic, at the very least, and then compassion fatigue set in. When you feel isolated, even at home with others, your world turns inwards and you begin to worry about your wellbeing, your livelihood and your future. While we may have started off clapping for the NHS and joining in with Joe Wicks, I’m sure, like me, you will have seen friends fall out over the roadmap for the future, as well as switching off the news, when it felt so overwhelming.
Just before lockdown I managed to track down a friend I had been searching for since we had left Sixth Form, back in the days when you had to rely on letter-writing and phone boxes to keep in touch. I finally found her, with the help of a mutual friend, and she has been a breath of fresh air ever since. Jane has been working for the NHS right through lockdown and also manages to do so much for charity and to help others – let’s say she has left me feeling inspired.
Jane introduced me to local charity Habibti Liverpool, whose amazing efforts go to directly supporting the Al-Sabeen Children’s Hospital in Sana’a Yemen. Health workers at the hospital are treating children affected by war, severe and acute malnutrition, cholera, diphtheria, malaria, dengue and COVID-19. This solidarity funding approach helps support health workers to do their work, purchase vital life saving medicines, PPE, basic medical equipment and pay for tests and investigations for families that cannot afford treatment for their child. International aid to support Al-Sabeen and other hospitals in need has been cut by up to 80% since the end of March 2021.
Yemen has endured over five and a half years of war and is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Al-Sabeen Hospital is the only centre in Yemen with a functioning Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and children can still access adequate medical care. Al-Sabeen services are provided for free, which is unusual in Yemen, and staff volunteers are well motivated but have not received salaries during the war and face severe shortages of supplies. Al-Sabeen paediatric unit is led by alumni who completed their post-graduate studies at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in Liverpool. They are senior Yemeni paediatricians and have shown incredible resilience in the face of war and multiple hardships and have been recognised internationally for their brilliance and commitment.
To date money raised through solidarity fundraising in Liverpool has:
- supported nurses, doctors, orderlies and porters (even things like making sure they are able to get to work)
- extended the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Services for babies and children at the hospital
- bought equipment (feeding tubes, pulse oximetry, thermometers, resuscitation sets) and lifesaving drugs including antibiotics
- bought fully compliant PPE (including face shields and full body suits), gloves, masks and sanitiser
- bought food packs for the most needy of the children’s families – 95% of patients are in desperate need and unable to pay for medicines
- Habibti have also announced their new aim help fund a brand new ICU unit
The team in Liverpool are involved in all sorts of fundraising initiatives, including pop up shops and community events, many of which take place in the Liverpool 8 area. When I heard they were launching an online fashion sale, I wanted to do something, as it is at least an area I have some knowledge around. My writing on here has chronicled me sorting my life out over the last couple of years, and that included my wardrobes, but like any fashion lover, I was still clinging to some pieces that are dear to me.
However, when I thought about it rationally, I knew I was never going to wear them again, and they would basically look far better on someone who could actually fit into them. I also know my younger fashion friends are mad for vintage items or anything with a story attached. This silk chiffon blouse is by Stella McCartney from Chloe, dating back to 2001, making it a proper vintage piece and a collector’s item. And the black crepe dress is by Moschino. Both have only been worn twice, which I hang my head in shame over, but I hope they might get me a seat on the good karma bus in 2021. They are also both from Cricket, which was pretty much my favourite shopping destination when I used to waft about thinking I was JLo. It was the start of a new century. We all went on a shopping spree – trust me!
I’ve been to check out everything on sale and it’s either brand new with tags on, worn once, or at the most, twice. There are some fabulous Prada Sport jodhpurs, some beautiful Peter Pilotto trousers, and some high street faves from Zara and Kurt Geiger. Everything is good to go and wear, and all of the shoes are pristine and fresh out of the box. I felt like I was on a TV reality show casting an expert eye. The team are really keen to keep the prices really affordable, too, so it’s a chance to snap up a bargain. The sale takes place on August 21st 2021, and the team’s Facebook page has all of the details.
Every single penny raised from the sale will go to Habibti, who directly donate the funds directly to the hospital.
I was also really pleased to find out that Smithdown Lit Fest, taking place in September, is donating the proceeds of its ticket sales to this fantastic cause, too. There are some wonderful events on, including lots of local talent, and I’ve definitely got my eye on An Evening With Jimmy McGovern – if you’ll pardon the pun. Crime writer Margaret Murphy is the patron of the festival, and it’s going to be fantastic for every type of writer and lover of words to have somewhere to turn up to, physically, to listen, learn, swap ideas and walk away feeling truly inspired.
This isn’t a political piece. I know that every charity is suffering right now, and also feeling the terrible hit from the withdrawal of vital funds from other sources outside of public contributions. It’s tough when you feel you have so much on, and you’d like to help someone, but you just don’t know where to start.
Perhaps by clicking one of the links below, you might feel like helping some really vulnerable children and the very brave teams looking out for them.
You can make a direct donation, book a ticket for Smithdown Lit Fest, join the Facebook page and you know, if you really want to, go mad and treat yourself to a gorgeous Chloe blouse from the same collection which dressed a certain Ms. Carrie Bradshaw on screen, back in the day.
Open your heart, give a little, and you know, there’s a pair of brand new nude Kurt Geiger pointed toe flat pumps there with your name written on them.
I am operating an amnesty and keeping my mitts off, by the way. On the other hand, there’s this beautiful black and white Guess handbag…
Links below –
To follow Habibti on Facebook and join the online fashion sale go to:
To donate directly via Just Giving go to:
To find our more about Smithdown Lit Festival and book your tickets go to:
Thank you to my wonderful friend Jane Walledge whose presence in my life again has been the greatest lockdown gift a girl could ask for.
And many, many thanks to Lorraine Casey for putting us together again. It was a really kind gesture.