Thursday, September 30, 2010

Electric Wheel Chair for Lurdes Campaign

If you want to know more about Lurdes please contact Leander Hollings 974896630 –

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vicky Armstrong: Update

It seems like ages since my last blog update - I think it’s only been about a week but a lot has happened.

I’ve taught more lessons, in a school in Rumira and in Tastayoc. Last week I felt like I wasn’t really getting anywhere with teaching English. The children in Tastayoc seemed reluctant to join in and in Rumira too they struggled with interactive methods, like partner work and question and answers and with the pronunciation of English words. So I approached this week’s classes expecting to need to do a lot of repetition. In Tastayoc they surprised me and they seemed to have got a better grasp of ‘What’s your name? My name is...’ and we were able to play a game in a circle with a football using the language.

I’d also bought some finger puppets at the weekend in Cusco to help with questions and answers in English. Henry, the cook who is staying with us at the moment, helped me name them, Tommy the tiger and Zuzu the Zebra.

The children in my classes yesterday loved them and they helped them to answer questions rather than repeat them (which is the problem I was having last week!).

School starts at 8.30am here and continues until about 1pm. I’m not sure how long breaktimes last for, but the structure doesn’t seem to be as rigid as in the UK, with our bell system! There seems to be a more relaxed attitude to school.

Although there are public schools that are available for children to go to there don´t seem to be Education Welfare officers here to ensure children are in school. We have a little girl who lives next door to us, Libertad, who has still not been in school for a few months, something to do with her father being an alcoholic. Leander is trying to find a school which will take her.

Almost more shocking was being introduced today to a little girl of 9 years old in Rumira who is from Tastayoc. She goes to school in Rumira with her little sister because her mother doesn’t want them to go to the school in Tastayoc, which is a tiny school with only one class. Instead her mother prefers to send them to live alone in Rumira during the week and to visit Tastoyoc at the weekends. To give you an idea of the distance, Rumira is at 2640m and Tastayoc 3953m, it takes about 45minutes by car. When I asked who does the cooking for them both, I was told that the 9 year old sister does.

On a more positive note, Lurdes, the girl who can’t walk due to brittle bone disease, is now being home schooled by one of the teachers from Rumira. The teacher goes up to see her about 3 times a week and spends an hour or two teaching her to read, write etc. She seems to be doing well so far.

We also went to see another project on based in Ollantaytambo called Living Heart on Thursday. They take food up to schools in more remote areas to help provide a balanced nutritious diet for the children. We went with Rita who works on the project to two schools, both were very impressive.

The food market at Urubamba where we helped to buy the food for the schools; Sillacancha school with children working in the field at breaktime – they are hoping to be able to grow guinea pig food and sell it.

This is the other school, Ccotataqui which was high up in the mountains, along a stony path that I really didn´t think the car could drive up!! It was a really clean, beautifully painted school. Here´s the headteacher playing some music for the children and the cook in the kitchen.

On Friday I went to Cusco and had a lovely weekend going to see the ruins. They have a system here where you can buy a tourist ticket which includes entrance to 16 separate sites and museums in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. They are good value if you can see everything but the ticket it only valid for 10 days. I went on a city tour on Friday which allowed me to see 4 different sites. They were incredible, especially Saqsayhuaman, where you can see close up these incredibly big stones and how they have been fitted together by the Incans.

On Sunday I had an amazing walk up to Pisac to see the ruins there. The walk was really hard work because of the altitude, the heat and the fact I was carrying a backpack with all my clothes in from the weekend! I learnt how to say, ‘it was worth it’ in Spanish – ‘valio la pena’ which literally translates as it was worth the difficulty or pain which I think explains it better than in English because I was in pain!!

I forgot to mention going out dancing in Cusco on Friday night with some of Leander´s friends. Cusco is a party town and I had my first experience of Latin dancing, with Vincente and Cesar, two of Leander´s friends or snake hips as I now think of them! This was the band we saw singing about the ´selva´or jungle!

Today, the plan was for me to start teaching in another school, Paucarbamba down by the river, where the floods happened but yesterday, a ‘paro’ was announced - which is a strike on the roads. Not only does this mean that I can‘t get down to the school but the guinea pig training that was scheduled for today has had to be cancelled, luckily Leander has managed to re-schedule a meeting for the community involved in the knitting project and Nelly managed to get here from Cusco yesterday to do the training today. Things can change rapidly here so it’s important to be flexible!

Vicky Armstrong

Paskay (Mysmallhelp Peru)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mysmallhelp Nepal Newsletter Summer 2010 released

Dear friends we have recently released the latest newsletter. Please have a look and comment us if you have any. Here is the link.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marybert School children celebrated Children's Day

The children of Marybert school celebrated Children's day on 14th September 2010. There were lot of games which were being held at the school premises. Winners in the games got prizes. Everyone enjoyed the day.

Children's parents were invited. Some parents handed over the prizes to the winners.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Small help can make a difference to child's life

Kiley and Virginia, volunteers from Texas went to visit Susma and Susmita in Dhulikhel on 13th August with one of MySmallHelp Member, Pramila K.C after reading their story on the website. They wanted see in which areas they could help Susma and Susmita in. When they reached their school, they were informed by their teachers that they didn't came to school because of the bad weather as it had been raining heavily non-stop for the past few days. Kiley and Virginia had a little talk with their teachers and came to know that Susma and Susmita had been coming to school without any textbooks for almost 6 months because they couldn't afford it. To help Susma and Susmita, Kiley and Virginia gave NRS 1500 to one of the teachers to buy for them textbooks..

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Students donate blood to make a difference

MySmallHelp (MSH) ran its first Blood Donation Camp at the Quest International College, Lalitpur on Friday, with 44 students and friends of MSH donating much needed blood to fill the gap in Nepal’s donation supply.

MySmallHelp, Gwarko, Lalitpur, facilitated a motivation camp at Quest International College in coordination with the Nepal Red Cross Society. Nepal is currently running with approximately 500-600 pints of blood per day, but with a requirement of 1,000 pints. Kalpit Kumar Tripathi, of Red Cross, held an informative session to motivate the students into wanting to give the gift of life, under the “Give Blood, Save Life” campaign that MSH has premiered. For every 4 students who gave blood, there was at least one who could not as a result of being underweight or having low blood pressure, but this will not deter them in the future as many are determined to be able to give blood for the benefit of others.

In anticipation, many students from Quest International College looked on as their peers began the blood giving, only to see that the process is very quick, painless and nothing to worry about. What’s more they will have made a difference to the lives of those who require blood transfusions in the future. Some light refreshments and the students were back in class to continue with their studies, all in a hard day’s work.

As the first programme of its kind ran by MSH, and due to its huge success, MSH will continue to run these Blood Donation Camps every three months to do its part in helping students to make a difference. Each and every day hundreds of people require blood transfusions, and with donations of certain blood types scarce, each and every one of us should consider donating blood. It does well to remember that the recipient may be your friends, your children, your parents, your grandparents, your relatives, your neighbours, or even yourself. Do something amazing today; give blood.

Together we can make a difference.

Kate Baker
Volunteer August/September 2010
My Small Help

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Paskay project in Ollantaytambo

“I arrived on the Paskay project in Ollantaytambo 6 days ago and have been busy getting orientated and finding out what the project is doing in different areas. Ollantaytambo is a beautiful place and I have been made to feel so welcome by Leander who has really made an effort to involve me in Paskay and encouraged me to decide for myself the best contribution I can make in its early stages of development. On Sunday I visited Paucarbamba (one of the areas that Paskay is trying to help following the floods) and collected local villagers in a minibus to take to Cuylandia, the guinea pig rearing training centre. The villagers were all really keen to come and many, dressed in traditional Peruvian clothing, ran out of their homes with pencil and paper ready to take notes – they´re taking their learning very seriously!

At Cuylandia I met Nelida, the agronomist who is running the guinea pig rearing training sessions. She is one of the salaried workers for Paskay

and does an excellent job not only running the sessions but visiting the families in between sessions to check on their progress as well as keeping track of accounts and adminstration for Paskay.

On Monday I went with Nelida and Leander to Tastayoc , a rural community in the mountains above Ollantaytambo where the children have been supported with their education through the building of a greenhouse to provide fresh vegetables to eat in their kitchen. We observed a lesson taught in Spanish and Quechua ( the children´s mother tongue). The teacher there was keen for me to teach some English and I plan to return to Tastayoc for the following three Mondays to teach a two hour class.

We took with us to this school, a girl called Lurdes. She is 18 years old but because of her physical disabilities (she suffers from brittle bone disease) and family circumstances (alcoholic parents), has not spent more than a week in school in her life. She is really keen to read and write and was excited to be in a lesson at T’astayoc. Since then, Leander has visited the school in her village, Rumira and made arrangements with the teacher for Lurdes to begin attending school full time. In addition to this, Paskay are sourcing an electric wheelchair for Lurdes to enable her to become more mobile. These improvements will completely change Lurdes life as at the moment she sits alone for most of the day in a rural setting.

On Tuesday, myself and Leander worked on the Paskay website which Carlos wants to get up and running as soon as possible so people are able to see the work that´s being done here.

Today, Wednesday, I´ve been on a river clean up organised by the Council office here. After the floods, the river is still in need of attention and we filled around 10 big plastic bags with rubbish! This afternoon we were lucky enough to go to see a traditional Peruvian dance competition at the local high school in Ollantaytambo. The costumes were beautiful and the dances were energetic in the heat of the afternoon. I felt really privileged to have the opportunity to see it. Tomorrow we´re taking one of the girls who missed out on the dental mission to Cuzco to have her teeth checked and we will probably be staying over in order to make contact with fundraisers and to gather some resources and materials for my first teaching lesson on Monday!” Vicky Armstrong

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Godwari Village Park – National Botanical Garden

Members of MSH took 12 children from Marybert Orphanage on a picnic to the National Botanical Garden on the 11th of August, 2010. The children enjoyed playing Frisbee, card games, visiting the pond and splashing in the stream.

Blood Donation Campaign

On Friday 27th August, a group of us from My Small Help went to the Quest International School, Lalitpur, Nepal, to present a Blood Donation Motiviation Session with the support and expertise from the Nepal Red Cross Society.

Around 60 students packed out one of the classrooms with Pramila K.C. from MSH introducing the session before Kalpit Kumar Tripathi from Nepal Red Cross Society providing the motivation for students to participate.

Nepal currently has a huge blood supply shortage; meeting only 500-600 pints of the 1,000 pints of blood required every day. After weeks of hard work, MSH proudly completed their first session under the ethos “Gift of life; give blood, save life” campaign.

Kalpit captivated the students with some interesting facts:
Per 100g, males and females have 76ml and 66ml of blood respectively; only 50ml is needed, leaving a surplus that is unused
Red blood cells can only live for 120 days inside our body, after which time they die; this makes that surplus even more attractive for donation!
There are four main blood types; A, B, AB and O.
One unit of donated blood is separated into components before use (red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, platelets etc)
Frozen red blood cells can be stored for 10 years +

In order to give blood you must:
Be over 17 years of age
Weigh over 45kg in weight
Undergo a check up to ensure that you do not have HIV/Hepititus
Not have had jaundice/typhoid in the last 2 years

As a volunteer at MSH, the motivation session appeared a success, with 50 students alone signing up to next week’s Blood Donation Day, and more friends and family of MSH anticipated on the day.

We are now only 2 days away from the actual Giving Blood session. Anyone wanting to give blood, would be more than welcome to attend. MSH will be providing refreshments and of course, a certificate to thank them for their donation. A reminder of the details:

Blood Donation Camp
Friday 3rd September,
Quest International College, Lalitpur
12 midday

I personally know the importance of giving blood, as I am sure many of you do, and I know that just one single donation can save many lives. Always remember that friends, your children, your parents, your grandparents, your relatives, your neighbours and even you may require blood due to some unfortunate condition at some point in your lives; give blood, save life.

Together we can make a difference.

Kate Baker
Volunteer August/September 2010
My Small Help

Monday, September 6, 2010

Robin And Ritika

Before Robin and Ritika were sponsored, their daily routine was sleeping, roaming around and playing in the busy streets near their home. Robin and Ritika were always getting into trouble and were mischievous. When Mysmallhelp members went to visit Robin and Ritika for the second time, Ritika's face was swollen and she had stitches from falling for a single story building. Just after few days from this incident, Ritika was hit by a motorbike and her hands were wounded.

Following their visit, MySmallHelp members became worried about their situation and their future.The new school session had already started, but MSH didn't want the children to waste a whole year without school. One of the members of MySmallHelp visited Nepal Yuvak Secondary School and asked the Principal to admit the children. The Principal agreed. Robin and Ritika were given a small test to understand which grade they should be in. Robin was admitted to Grade 1 and Ritika to Nursery.

Once they were enrolled, MySmallHelp brought them school books, exercise books, other stationary items and uniforms. Today, they both enjoy going to school daily. They usually do their assignments after school rather than playing in the streets. This has greatly eased their Grandmother's worry.

MySmallHelp is very thankful to Kimm Fearnley for sponsoring them

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Texas Visitors

Kiley and Sue from Austin, Texas visited MSH and Marybert school during August. They helped take the children to the Botanical Garden, volunteered at Marybert school and visited Sanjiwani English Secondary School, in Dhulikhel. They were eager to sponsor work books for Sushmita and Sushma Sundas and helped to buy books for this year. Mysmallhelp, Nepal is very much thankful for their love, support and help.