Article by John Barclay at the founding of IHC.
 It was printed in a newspaper in but unfortunately the date and identity of the  newspaper  have not been preserved.   In our busy world to-day
I cannot imagine there would be much response and as for giving hospitality to a child for 3 months
  - it would seem inconceivable to today's parents.  
 It is a fascinating reflection of a world we can barely imagine.

Since 1918 I have suffered from insomnia. For many years my mind was over­whelmed by agonising re­petitions of war, horrors seen or experiencedadvert
on the slopes of Passchendaele or in the half-trenches of Lens. Rats, the stench of decaying bodies and the cloying taste of chloride of lime
formed the back-ground of a per­petual Grand Guignol. To sweep it away required both an effort of will and an occupation which demanded all the strength of mind and body.   Six years after the war the thought of an army of rats moving in their thousands across the Somme battle­fields no longer prevented me from dealing with the problem of ONE rat in a slum room in West London. The nightmare of numbers had been re­moved by the practical application to a personal problem within my powers, and for which I felt a responsibility as a citizen.

Thirty years have passed, and it is the haunting knowledge that 30,000,000 children need our help that obsesses our  minds today. The thought of these unimaginable numbers has compelled some of us to attempt the task of rehabilitation of small groups of children whom it lies within our power to help.  There are only a handful of us at the centre, and we are limiting ourselves to 1,000 during 1948.  We believe that British children are as much our responsibility as French, Greek or German, so we are planning to send 5OO war-affected children from British homes to Belgium, where they will be given lavish hospitality and a royal welcome next summer. The Belgian organisation "Souvenir" is working in close contact with us, and we can guarantee the suitability of all the homes.

At Eastertide we shall be receiving a party of 100 French children of former prisoners-of-war, who will stay for a month as guests of the
families who invite them. Later in the iyear we hope to arrange the trans­port of 50 Greek children for a three-months' rehabilitation holiday
in Britain and in anticipation, we are already receiving offers of hospitality for German children, if and when we can obtain permission and 
provide the means of transport.   This programme of work needs the most careful planning and the help of many devoted individuals and groups  besides ourselves.   During the 10 years that I spent travelling continuously to all parts of the British Isles in the service of the PPU, I often discussed just such a work that now faces us. It was an academic discussion in those far-off days, but I think we always knew at the back of our minds that one day it would be a practical job waiting our full or part-time service.  That day has come, and I am writing this short
article to remind you of the silent pledge we made together then.

You will want to know how to help The first step is to get together three or four reliable and practical people and form a branch of International Help for Children. Let us have the nam« of the Secretary, and if possible that of the Hon. Treasurer.   If you live in one of the bombed towns you will perhaps be able to help us in choosing a party of British children for a holiday in Belgium next summer.  Ench party of 25 boys and girls must be between the ages of 8 and 14 and will have to be accompanied by an adult leader who can speak French and is a person of resource and imag­ination, as well as young, active and conscientious. We will let you have full information about this side of our work if you want to help with it.  If on the other hand, you live in a small town near open country, then perhaps you could prepare to receive children from abroad.  Let us know, how many you might be able to find homes for on a three months rehabilitation  basis. The minimum size  of the in-coming party is ten to a district, although we prefer parties on 15-20.   Each group has a leader who will also need hospitality.  You will have realised from this short account that we desire to make personal contact and individual responsibility an inherent part of our scheme.  The problem of 30,000,000 children   remains insoluble until an attempt is made to bring the individual child in touch with the love and care of individual men and women. I am quite sure that all who read this only need to be assured that their help can be creative.   Let us hear from you, and then you must judge for yourselves.

John Barclay - Organizing  Secretary:
International Help for Children

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