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24 September 2014

Advent Calendar to equip Kenya baby clinic

Advent Calendar to equip Kenya baby clinic

A special advent calendar will educate the 36 per cent of children who don't know whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas, it's hoped.

The Meaningful Chocolate Company is also hoping to equip a baby clinic in Kenya by donating £10,000 from sales of its 2014 Real Advent Calendar.

It's not just the charitable donation that makes The Real Advent Calendar unique, though. Behind its first giant window is a 32-page Christmas story activity booklet, designed to be used every day in Advent. The booklet gives more detail about the Christmas story and has seven Advent challenges. The calendar also comes with 25 Fairtrade Belgian chocolates and a line of the Christmas story behind each of the foiled windows.

David Marshall from The Meaningful Chocolate Company said: "By buying this Advent calendar people can share the Christmas story throughout December. This is really important as we know that detailed knowledge of the Christmas story is very low among children and parents".

Recent surveys by ComRes and the Children's Society show that knowledge of the Christmas story is fading. Among 5-7 year olds, 36 per cent don't know whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas and 72 per cent don't know Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Fewer than 12 per cent of adults know the full nativity story and 51 per cent say that the birth of Jesus is irrelevant to their Christmas.

Launching this year's calendar, TV presenter Diane Louise Jordan said: "Not only is the calendar educational and made from Fairtrade chocolate but it's a great opportunity to raise funds to help equip and support The Funzi and Bodo Trust baby clinic in Kenya".

On Funzi island there are many people who live in poverty, with no access to clean water and basic sanitation. The Funzi Clinic provides medical care to the community 24 hours a day, providing ante and post-natal care, immunisations, baby weighing and growth monitoring. If mothers or babies fall sick there are always medical staff on hand to help. http://www.funzi.org.uk

"The clinic is doing an amazing job by making sure people who are sick receive treatment and also offering new educational opportunities, which I hope will give children the chance of a better future," says Diane.

This is the second year that the Real Advent Calendar has been available. Last year more than 150,000 were sold, with churches and schools ordering in bulk and individuals switching from other Fairtrade calendars. £18,000 was donated to the Children's Society from sales and extra payments were made to Fairtrade farmers through the Fairtrade Cash Premium.

The Real Advent Calendar costs £3.99. Churches, schools and groups can buy them direct from The Meaningful Chocolate Company by visiting http://www.realadvent.co.uk. Retailers stocking the calendar include larger Tesco stores, Traidcraft, Eden, Shared Earth, CLC and a number of cathedrals.