Children First International (CFI) is a small independent charity first registered with the Charity Commission in August 1996. It is registered with the Fundraising Regulator.
We help children who can’t help themselves or we help their families, communities or the organisations that are trying to provide them with a sustainable and worthwhile existence. This might be anywhere in the world and it tends to be where funding is not available or the need is not being addressed.
We do not have a 'cause célèbre’: children don’t usually choose where or how they live and neither do they choose to live in poverty. We don’t have all the answers but what we try to do is to make their lives a little better.
When Nikki and Colin Mansell first set up the charity they were visiting a street children’s Drop-in centre in Luck Street, Harare, Zimbabwe. (What’s in a name – Luck Street?) On one of the walls they saw a poster which said: ‘If everyone cared enough and everyone shared enough, everyone would have enough’. These words struck a chord and they adopted them for CFI.
Since then CFI has provided assistance to children and their families, schools and communities in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and South Africa as well as in the UK through direct funding or the provision of material aid. The picture above shows some of the school children in Kagboray, a village to the north east of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Colin handed out pencils and biros. They were so enthusiastic about being given something, however small, for themselves. It just proves that you don't have to give a lot to receive a smile of thanks. A picture paints a thousand words!
One of the co-founders, Colin Mansell, is a member of the Lions Clubs International organisation, the world's largest volunteer body, and through his connections with Lions clubs throughout the world he has been able to enlist support from Lions clubs in the places listed above. Lions clubs within their own communities know exactly what is needed to help their communities, particularly children and those helping them and this means that CFI can help to provide the right things at the right time to the right people.
In the UK CFI has helped disabled children access the help they needed when it was needed. Currently, CFI is working with a number of people who are fundraising for specific children and the organisations that help them.
This serves to underline the charity ethos of helping others to help themselves with a focus on children.
Our main fundraising activity is via the London Marathon and we are grateful to all the people who have put themselves through hours of gruelling training over many months prior to the event: it is always humbling when they thank us afterwards! We salute them all!
Registered Charity Number: 1057811.