• Paula Alionyte

"My mum, my rock"


I’m 36 years old and still call my Mum (@hazelbuck) when I’m feeling ill.

Today she dropped everything, jumped on a train, did my ironing and stocked up my fridge whilst I was tucked up in bed feeling sorry for myself.


Mums never retire, they are a ‘Mum’ for life. My Mum is remarkable and I’m eternally grateful for all the support she gave me when I was setting up @childsi. As well as being my personal nurse, mentor, agony aunt and counsellor, she is the lynchpin of Child’s i Foundation and a one-woman fundraising powerhouse. She has devoted the last 5 years to this charity and her tireless fundraising hasn’t gone unnoticed.

She has organized countless events - from dress sales to quiz nights, sports events to cake sales. She mucks in wherever is needed – from helping out with admin or volunteering her finance skills.

She’s been my rock who I could not have done this without. I’m going to blow her trumpet on her behalf now and tell you that she’s also one of our biggest fundraisers and generates around £8,000 a year with her team of Rotherfield fundraisers.

When I was researching Child’s i, I went to a project in Kampala for children with disabilities. It was a hard lesson in the realities of institutional care. I will never forget a 10 year old little boy who had fallen over and hurt his head. He was sobbing but had absolutely nobody to comfort him. He didn’t have a ‘rock’ like my Mum is to me. He didn’t have someone to scoop him in their arms and kiss his bumped head better. He was just another child, another mouth to feed, another motherless child. A cuddle and kiss come as second nature to Mums and their healing power is immeasurable. I will never forget him and that moment of realization that there is no substitute for a Mum.

This week we found a frail little boy - we’ll call him “R”. R is two years old and he is one of the worst cases of child neglect cases we have seen. He had been locked in a room and starved of affection and food. The police found him on the brink of death and immediately called us. He is now in the hospital with one of our carers by his side and we pray that he pulls through. Today is the 10th day he’s been in the hospital and after his medical needs are taken care of, our first priority will be to find him a loving family to take care of him.

I am very, very lucky to have someone as special as Hazel Buck in my life. I couldn’t do this project without her and I want to thank her for helping me make this possible.

Our project is all about finding mums as special as mine and we’ve proved this is possible. Our sole aim is to find each abandoned child who comes into our care, devoted Mums and Dads who will protect and nurture them, so they don’t reach the age of 10 and realize there is nobody there to kiss their bumped head better. The little ones who do not have mothers are found another mum who will cherish them and when they are older, drop everything to be by their side when they are feeling ill.

So, to all you Mums out there and all of you who are lucky enough to have a Mum as your rock, Happy Mother’s Day and thank you.

#FamiliesNotOrphans #ChildrenBelongInFamilies #AlternativeCare

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©️ 2020 Child's i Foundation. Registered in England and Wales as Child's - I Foundation. Charity Commission Number 1126212. Company number 6674427. Registered in Uganda as a Non-Government Organisation, S.5914/8381