“The weather was terrible…I thought, ‘This is the moment!”

Back in January, our Treasurer Karen Kroger laced up her trainers and kicked off a strict training plan that should have taken her all the way to the 2020 London Marathon. Both her training and her fundraising were going perfectly to plan - and then COVID-19 hit.




Thanks for chatting to us today Karen! Firstly, what led you to ChildHope?

I knew your previous treasurer, Helen. After seven years with ChildHope, she was planning to move on, and she asked me if I’d be interested in her role. I met the team and discovered that what you do and the way you do it is fantastic. You’re working through partner organisations who are truly part of the communities they’re supporting. That means they understand the local issues and context, and they know what really matters, and what will make a difference.


If you were able to visit one of our projects, which one would you choose?

I’d really like to go to Ethiopia to see the Girls’ Education Challenge in action – I work in education, so I’m particularly interested in that project. While I haven’t visited your partners, I have met some when they’ve visited the UK. The Butterflies team from India [a child rights organisation that we’ve worked with since 2005] was amazing. ChildHope has worked closely with Butterflies to build their confidence and systems, and they are really thriving as a result.


You were all set to run the London Marathon for us in April. Are you a keen runner, or would this have been a big challenge for you?

I do quite a bit of running. I enjoy it because it gives me space on my own – it’s my version of mindfulness! I used to run to work in the mornings – I’d choose routes through green spaces so that I could enjoy the outside world and turn my brain off for a while. Increasingly I’ve found that running is good for my mental health, and the exercise is an added bonus.


You raised nearly £2500 for ChildHope in just a few weeks! How did you do it?

I’d been in touch with Marcus at ChildHope, asking when the ideal time to start fundraising might be. In February, I had an 18km training run scheduled for a very stormy Sunday morning. I knew I just had to get out there – my children were occupied for a few hours, so this was my one window of opportunity for my long run. The weather was terrible - I got absolutely soaked and battered. I thought, ‘This is the moment!’ When I got home I wrote an email to everyone I knew, along the lines of ‘I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend warm and dry at home! I’ve just come back from an 18 km run in the rain…’ I got a great response. I’m very fortunate that so many of my family, friends and colleagues contributed.


How did you feel when the marathon was postponed?

It was frustrating but inevitable. By then I had so much going on at work that the possibility of keeping up my strict training plan was getting more remote by the day. And I had my children at home too! The marathon has been postponed until October 2021, so my plan is to run for ChildHope then.


How did you feel when the marathon was postponed?

It was frustrating but inevitable. By then I had so much going on at work that the possibility of keeping up my strict training plan was getting more remote by the day. And I had my children at home too! The marathon has been postponed until October 2021, so my plan is to run for ChildHope then.


These are extremely challenging times for everyone, but charities have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. As our Treasurer, what are your hopes for ChildHope’s future?

I think ChildHope’s work is more important now than it’s ever been. You work with the most marginalised children in the world, and in an era of COVID-19, their lives are even more difficult. While I do have concerns about funding, I’m hopeful that ChildHope will be able to work through this. Sometimes being a small charity can be helpful, because you can be more agile. I recognise that life is difficult for everybody at the moment, but I hope supporters will stay with us. Even just a small regular contribution each month is a huge help.

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