The Margaret McEwen Trust
Charity No:- 1074955

Contact for Information:-   0844 3320187


This trust was officially founded on 10th January 1990 by Margaret McEwen MBE to continue the work of
 International Help For Children (press for information on this charity),

We are currently collecting archival material on the work of International Help for Children.   If there is anyone who was involved in the work of this organization, either as a helper or as a child helped, who would like to share their memories with us, or if they have other stories linked to IHC please get in touch using the phone number above.   We would be very interested to hear from them.   

 International Help for Children was founded in 1947 by Margaret McEwen and John Barclay.   As no official record of the charity has ever been made the aim of this website is to document the work both of the MM trust and IHC and to say something of the many remarkable people who were involved with the charity.   

The aim of the Trust is to provide relief for children who are in need, hardship or distress wherever they may live, frequently on an individual basis but mediated through a known friend or contact of the organization.  It is these people whose own work in their own country has done so much that make the story of the MM Trust and its predecessor International Help for Children, so interesting and thus worthy of  this account. 

The MM Trust was amalgamated in 2008 with the Little Pond House Trust which was also an integral part of the International help for Children story.


THE UK CHARITY COMMISSION WEBSITE.  Organizations below are listed in a random order.

The Trustees meet twice a year to review current and new appeals which we have received, but please note that most of our funds are committed to the following projects on a regular basis.     The descriptions of asterisked charities are from their official websites.  The list is in no specific order but combines both the International aspect from the main former charity and also helps British children which were previously the mainstay of the Little Pond House Trust.   

Future Hope (Calcutta)*   Future Hope was set up over twenty years ago to provide a home, education medical aid and opportunity to some of the children of Kolkata who found themselves living on the streets of the city. These children suffer extreme poverty and have little or no ability to change their lives.   Every night children sleep alone on the streets and around the city’s main stations.   More than anything they need the love and security of a home. Future Hope now runs six homes where more than 200 former street children live and enjoy life.   The work of Future Hope extends beyond our homes and they also run a school with over 150 pupils studying from Kindergarten to Class 10.    Their school takes in not only the children of Future Hope but also those from the surrounding slum communities.   They have also built a small community development on the outskirts of Kolkata. This allows those who have found jobs to take on a small home and develop independent life skills in a safe environment close to their friends.   Sport, and rugby in particular, has always played a major role in Future Hope and it is through sport that they have been able to develop discipline and a sense of purpose in many of our children. Children of Future Hope have played at the highest level winning national honours representing India in Rugby . With this in mind they are now working hard to complete their next major building project .

Children Change Colombia*   Formerly Children of the Andes ( now CCC) is a UK registered charity that provides support to Colombia’s most vulnerable children by working in partnership with local NGOs.   CCC was established in 1991 to support children living on the streets and in the sewers of Bogotá, following a documentary by the British film-maker Desmond Wilcox.    Children Change Colombia is based in London and Bogota with Project Officers working in in various parts of Colombia. They work exclusively with Colombian organisations  to keep children safe, defend children’s rights, and strengthen the organisations themselves.   They aim to bring about real and long lasting change in children’s lives and believe that this can be accomplished  by supporting local organisations who truly understand the needs of the children they work with, and have the experience to be able to find effective solutions.    They are committed to working with the children that need them most and in areas that that are neglected by other organisations.   They currently support 8 partners in various areas including education, community, and family as well as tackling issues of sexual violence and forced recruitment into and demobilisation from armed groups.

The Aloysian Boys' Home (Mangalore - India)*   The Aloysian Boys' Home was started in 1981 as an outreach program of St Aloyius College,and as a memorial to its Centenary. It was made possible by the purchase of 6 acres of forest.  The plan was to build an orphanage for rejected boys, for whom fewer facilities exist than for girls. Girls are easier to launch into everyday life, as many of them marry quite young or decide to adopt the religious life. The first task was to sink a deep well, which was an expensive project.   As a result however there is now a plantation growing among other things, coconuts, bananas, papayas, pineapples, breadfruit and jackfruit. There are also 20 well-kept pigs and 15 cows. All these animals are washed every day to limit the spread of diseases. The purpose of having them is to educate the older boys in husbandry. They do bring in a small income, but the cattle are barely profitable due to the low, regulated price of milk.   Additionally there are 300 chickens and a newly built fish pond. The pond was dug so that the boys could use it for growing tadpoles rather than keeping them in jars indoors, which were often spilt or broken and at best released crowds of small frogs jumping around the floor. In the practical manner typical of Sister, the ponds have also been stocked with edible fish, now approaching maturity.   The Home has 110 boys at present aged between 4 and 17. They mostly attend the local state school and Sister works hard to find jobs for them when they leave school. Within the Home they all learn cooking, sewing, domestic cleaning, how to wash clothes and the elements of farm work. The cleanliness of the buildings is remarkable and Sister admits this is the hardest thing to teach newcomers. There are 2 other Sisters to help with the running of the Home and 3 or 4 local women who mend clothes, work in the kitchen and do the gardening.   Two categories of children are being admitted: The first, those whom the police have picked up as runaways, or remanded to custody for petty crimes, or children of criminals who have been jailed;  secondly, those children who have no homes of their own, abandoned by parents, or orphaned by their death.   In actuality the distinction is unknown. All the kids are Aloysians ! They have 105 of them- between ages 7-18.    The immediate aim of the Home is to give these boys shelter, food, care and education. The ultimate aim is to given them human dignity by personal care and love, and make them social assets from social liabilities. What is distinctive about Aloysian Boys' Home is its homely, happy atmosphere. The children are fortunate to have Sisters of Charity to look after them.   For their basic education the children go to local schools. Most children begin their schooling only after they come to the home;. hence most of them are over aged for their classes. They mix with other students. This helps in effective socialization. Most of our boys have been doing very well both in curricular and co-curricular activities & inter-school competitions. While they are doing their studies, much care is taken to prepare them to face their future, so they learn farming, looking after the cows, rabbits, pigs and fowls. They grow vegetables and tend a coconut garden. The academic studies will be followed by technical training at St Aloysius Technical Training Institute in one of the trades: tailoring, carpentry, plumbing, welding, electrician. After the completion of the course the boys are capable of holding a job and stand on their own feet.

Children’s Hospice South West- Little Bridge House, Little Harbour and Charlton Farm*   All the children who use the Hospices will have Life Limiting, or Life Threatening Conditions, which mean that they are not expected to live into adulthood. Some families may use the hospice for many years, from the time the child is first diagnosed, they may come for planned respite, or for emergency care, depending on their needs and the support that the family request.   A child may be referred by anyone who knows the family, all that is asked is that the family are aware of the referral being made on their behalf. The immediate or extended family may refer themselves, and each referral is carefully considered.   Both Little Bridge House and Charlton Farm have 8 child-friendly rooms, and plenty of accommodation for parents and the rest of the family, the aim has been to keep the feel of the hospice as a "Home from Home". In preparing for a child coming to stay the bedroom will be made welcoming with some of their favourite books, DVD's and toys.   The Care Teams at both Hospices are a mix of people from different professions and with a wide range of experience and expertise. The staffing levels allow the team to work with individual children and to plan the day to follow the child's normal routine and care at home.  In total the three hospices are looking after nearly 400 children.     The MM Trust  was originally supporting Burrswood Nursing Home in Groombridge  who used to offer convalescence  to children that  International Help for Children brought  over for  special medical treatment, but as  recorded above IHC ceased to exist and Burrswood no longer offered special facilities for children so it was decided to choose a hospice  caring for children and  this one was selected because of the wide geographical area  it covered and its excellent facilities and innovative planning.

AfriKids*   AfriKids are a child rights organisation working in the two poorest regions of Ghana, and having a demonstrable impact on the reduction of poverty and improving the lives of vulnerable people. Since 2002, they have had over 920,000 beneficiaries, predominantly children. AfriKids’ approach is innovative, with projects designed to tackle complex cultural and social issues infringing on children’s lives, such as early and forced marriage and child labour. Operation Smiles is a project in Nakuuabi, a very isolated and rural village in the Northern Region of Ghana, where child marriage, teen pregnancy and maternal mortality is high. The project is designed to offer intensive support for babies and an appropriate carer. Operation Smiles supports babies who have been abandoned or orphaned, or those who have been ostracised from the community with their mothers. Nutritious food and medical care are provided, and carers are educated in parenting and life skills. This high-level care typically lasts from 3-6 months, at which point adult and baby move back to the community, often with a microfinance loan to ensure they have the financial means to care for the child. The project continues to monitor the beneficiaries for a further 12 months, and to this day it has saved over 75 babies from death.

Dream Holidays*   Elaine Tozer-Sanders, who herself has a daughter with CF, has undertaken voluntary work for Cystic Fibrosis since 1978.  After finding out about a specialised holiday camp in Canada for CF Children, she  managed to raise sufficient funds to send nineteen CF children on holiday to Canada that year.  Over the next 7 years, the Holiday Fund sent groups of CF children away on holiday not only to Canada but to Disney Land and Disney World in the USA.  Those unable to make the long journey to the USA, were sent to France and centres in the UK.   This was very successful until the early 90's when a new lung infection began to affect CF patients and group holidays were considered to be a problem regarding cross infection within the CF community. Unfortunately, all CF group holidays were banned in the USA and Canada and were discouraged within the UK.  After much consternation, Elaine then decided to discontinue arranging group holidays and to concentrate on sending families away on holiday encompassing those children too ill to have been included on group holidays.  Dream Holidays was then set up in 1993 to send families away as a whole. This has proven to be a great success and is much safer health wise, as CF children are not coming into close contact with each other.   During 2004, Elaine was instrumental in setting up a further Charity (Dream Connection) to grant “wishes” to those children who are too ill to undertake a family holiday.    At present nearly 200 families are being given holidays in the UK.

Playaway*   The Charity provides relief and care for children with special needs by means of a holiday or any other such charitable means as the Charity may from time to time determine.

 On Call Africa*     On Call Africa was founded in Glasgow, Scotland, by three doctors – Kirsty Luescher, Simon Tolmie and Gavin McColl – and Malcolm Spence, an international development professional. The organisation was granted charitable status by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) in June 2010, and was registered as a Public Benefit Organisation in Zambia in 2012.   Alongside their regular work in the UK the founding trustees also maintain regular visits to Zambia: running clinics, developing health worker training, delivering health education, monitoring and evaluating the impact of these activities. The trustees also oversee the charity’s work from their base in Glasgow with the help of a growing network of supporters across the UK and beyond, and a team of dedicated volunteers in Zambia.

Starlight*   Starlight Children's Foundation brightens the lives of seriously and terminally ill children by granting their wishes and providing hospital entertainment to help take their minds off the pain, fear and isolation of their illness.  When Starlight began in 1987, they helped just 4 children; this year, they will help over 500,000 children all over the UK. Where possible, mums, dads, brothers and sisters are involved to strengthen family bonds at what is often a time of great stress and give everyone happy memories to share, no matter what the future may hold. Starlight receives neither Government nor Lottery support.   If Starlight had just one wish itself, it would be that cures could be found for all the terrible illnesses that can afflict children. Until then, they will continue to provide important medicines of another sort: excitement, fun and laughter.  The MM Trust is supporting the pantomime service for children in hospital

Contact*   For families with disabled children.   Across the UK, a child is diagnosed with a severe disability every 25 minutes. Although some children need hospital care, 98% of disabled children live at home with a parent or other family member who may not have expected to be in this position but who has quickly had to become an expert.   When parents find out that their child is disabled they feel isolated and alone because usually they don't know anyone else facing the same problems. They want contact with another family who've been through a similar experience and they want information about their child's disability.   Contact a Family is the only UK-wide charity providing advice, information and support to the parents of all disabled children - no matter what their disability or health condition. They also enable parents to get in contact with other families, both on a local and national basis. Each year they reach at least 275,000 families.

Kamuli Mission Hospital - Uganda  We have provided equipment for the children's wards in this hospital.                            

Starfish Malawi  A Christian organisation seeking to make a difference in education, vocational training, and health awareness  Their vision is a just world where every child is educated , health and cared for and they aim to reduce extreme poverty through collaberative work within communities, schools and churches.   We have provided support for an orphanage in Malawi.

Kaloko  Kaloko Trust works with local partners and communities to improve access to sufficient food, water, health, education and income for some of the world’s most vulnerable people, through effective, appropriate and sustainable development projects.  We are supporting an HIV education programme in schools.

Educate for Life   Educate for Life is a small organization that aims to transform rural education in India.   It runs an innovative primary school called Hunar Ghar in a remote area of Rajasthan where there are 425 pupils from 4 to 14 years of age.    They are achieving good academic results with a curriculum adapted to their needs and the organization hopes to be a role model for other schools in the area.   We have provided money for school meals.

Priors Court   Prior's Court Foundation is a registered non-profit making charity managing a specialist residential school, young adult provision and a training and development centre. It aims to support and improve life chances for young people aged 5-25 who are severely affected by autism.   We have provided Sports equipment.

Clouds of Hope    Clouds of Hope is a children’s care centre in Underberg, South Africa home to 64 children, the youngest now 18 months and the oldest 20. All of the children come from desperately poverty-stricken backgrounds, many come from circumstances of unimaginable neglect and abuse and some have compromised immune systems and all of them have no-one to care for them and so are legally placed in the care of Clouds of Hope.   It is their aim to reduce the impact of the current HIV/AIDS pandemic by providing support for children affected by the virus.   We have provided equipment for their workshop to help children learn a trade and carry out their own repairs in the orphanage.

Disability Africa   Disability Africa is working with disabled children and young people, their families and local organisations in The Gambia, Zambia and Kenya to create inclusive communities, where no-one is left behind. Many negative traditional beliefs exist about disability and d ue to ignorance and a lack of understanding, disabled people are often seen as being non-human. This means that they are among the poorest and most disenfranchised people.   They are isolated in their own homes and frequently go without education, medical care, social interaction.   We have provided money for a physiotherapist.

ChoraChori  ChoraChori” is the Nepali word for “children”. It’s also the name of a UK registered charity that’s rescuing Nepal’s displaced and trafficked children from India. They are finding Nepal’s lost children and bringing them home.

Virtual Doctors  A  UK-based charity with a Zambian operation which uses a Smartphone App to connect isolated health centres in rural Zambia with volunteer doctors, based predominantly in the UK.   The volunteer doctors offer advice to diagnose conditions, treat patients and prescribe medicine. This assists and empowers the Zambian health workers, and even helps saves lives. The App also reduces the number of hospital referrals that would incur long, arduous journeys and unmanageable expense.

Greenfields Africa     We supported a project in Kenya making and supplying a reusable type of sanitary protection to enable girls to attend school throughout the year.

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(The pages on this website have been compiled by Anthony Daniel, Chairman of the MM Trust and associated with IHC since 1957)