Rebuild Childhoods

What do you remember from your childhood? I often wonder what memories my son will hold from his childhood. Clearly, my aim is to create comfortable world for him.

Growing up, I spent many hours playing in the garden with the boy next door. Snacks and warm ribena in plastic mugs.


My parents and his parents grew vegetables at the bottom of their respective gardens. A short walk away, was the local shops. I remember each shop vividly, the butchers, the bakers, a sweet shop and a green grocers. All the shop keepers knew my name. I don’t eat meat now, but I have a distinct memory of the smell of the butchers. The noise of the butchers knives and thwack on the chopping board. His blue stripped apron across a broad frame. The raw meat hanging on shiny hooks against white walls.

The shop was on the sunny side of the road, I remember the warmth. Puddles of sunlight, lighting a pale sawdust that was strewn across the red-tiled floor. I hated watching the meat being chopped. While I waited for my mother, I’d distract myself and using the side of my foot, slide the sawdust into small hills, entirely caught up in the activity. Eventually, clutching a bag of chops or mince, my mother would call my name, I’d flatten the hills with my shoe and we’d leave. Ordinary things, in an ordinary childhood.

My memories of the butchers, the bits I didn’t like, I surround with good memories of sunlight and activity. What if it the memory was so unbearable, so vivid, I couldn’t? What if there wasn’t anything to surround it with? Just the thwack and the knives and the smell.

Childhood should be carefree and innocent. I try to I shield my son from the televised horrors war, the terror in Syria, it’s too complicated to explain to child of 5. Images of children like him caught in the ravages of war. What if I couldn’t shield him? What if that was our life? For many children in Syria and other war torn areas, they will experience an entire childhood in war. Traumatised, horrified, fearful. Who would want that for any child?

ActionAid’s child sponsorship programme enables the charity to do vital work in war-affected countries, giving children the basics they need such as water, food and an education.

The current campaign #rebuild, ActionAid aims to add a further 2,200 new UK child sponsors for children in war-affected countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Every child has the right to a safe and happy childhood.

Visit Action Aid and find out more.

Please share this post and follow the #rebuild twitter hashtag.
ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights for all and defeat poverty.


  1. Older Mum (@Older_Mum)

    A really brilliantly written post….. (by the way, love those tights in that picture – I had some like that too). And I have very distinct memories of the butchers and the sawdust too…. and that rancid smell – I can smell it now as I type this, but at least my childhood was safe, I had food and shelter etc…. X

  2. thepuffindiaries

    Beautiful words to support a very important message about our world. Most of us may have something in our childhood that was a little bit scary but nothing compared to the horrors that some children face daily.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.