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03 July 2013

Viva founder skydives for charity

Viva founder skydives for charity

by Eleanor Ward

Patrick McDonald, who founded Viva in 1996, after his experiences of working with Bolivian street children, is set to skydive from 12,000 feet at Headcorn Airfield this month.

Near Maidstone above the Kent countryside, it will take place on Wednesday, 17 July, to raise money for the 'Who cares?' campaign.

The campaign voices this hopeless question asked by many children, and highlights the local caregivers who are providing an answer, with support and help from Viva. It helps to raise awareness, educate and inform, and most importantly, champion children and young people with care experience.

Viva – an Alliance member organisation - is an international Christian charity based in Oxford which was set up 17 years ago. Viva works with 35 partner networks in 21 different countries to inspire lasting change in children's lives through the power of communal action.

Last year alone Viva provided 368 caregivers with comprehensive 'Celebrating Children' training in the needs of the youngsters they support.

They also helped 987,000 children at risk in Africa, Asia and Latin America to be safe, well and to fulfil their God-given potential.

Over the course of time, as it became apparent that he would need to initiate a network, Patrick travelled to London to meet with key people in World Vision, the Salvation Army, Youth with a Mission and Tearfund.

They all came to the conclusion that a network was essential. In 1994 Patrick started the monumental task of facilitating what has now become the Viva Network.

Patrick is a senior partner at Oxford Ventures, developing creative and sustainable business ideas to help developing communities around the world, and was named by the Children's Ministry magazine as one of the top 20 most influential voices in children's ministry in 2010.

"Children grow up in a ludicrous amount of risk and danger, and I've been saddened and maddened many times by their plight. We should all take outlandish risks and make every effort to ensure that children around us grow up to become what God intends," said Patrick.

Although many people insist McDonald is a high-flying superhero, he insists that he is not, and went on to say: "That's why I have no qualms about throwing myself out of a plane and creating an excuse for Viva's amazing supporters to risk the health of their bank balance and give to this important work."