Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
If a place existed where new jackets and trousers made children believe that they had superhuman powers then that place would be Marybert School and Orphanage, Nepal. With winter temperatures setting in the hours of darkness are currently around four degrees Celsius. If we’re nesting at home with central heating, double glazing and a wealth of cashmere then this temperature is not harsh, it’s a lot colder when you’re without basics such as heating and hot water. My Small Help has been shopping for wind and waterproof outerwear to ensure that the children at Marybert are warm and comfortable. The 18 children obediently queued up to receive their new clothing; each one beamed as they found the perfect fit, whilst some of the younger ones tested out the flexibility of the clothing with wildly entertaining arm and leg movements. For a moment I had a flashback of the many clothing stores I’ve visited around the world where we see youngsters pulling faces, wriggling in the outfit they’re trying on, and protesting to a harassed parent that it doesn’t fit, before asking for (occasionally demanding) a designer label. At Marybert these children beamed because the clothing, regardless of colour or style, fitted them and made them warm. Afterwards some of the younger ones (notably Prince and Kamal) spent a great deal of time folding their jackets and trousers neatly back into the original packaging and patting it down, as if to say ‘thank you for being mine and I’ll wear you tomorrow.’
If you would like to help by donating a few pounds please click here http://www.justgiving.com/childreninnepal
Monday, December 6, 2010
It’s one thing giving money to charity or tithing 10% of your income as those working towards ‘greater good’ so readily suggest, but time and vis a vis efforts might prove to be a bigger challenge for me. I expect smiles and tears, but it’s the unexpected smiles and tears that really meet your heart.
The smiles came quickly as I met the dedicated My Small Help team to discuss how best we could maintain and build on their current success. The small but functional office is just a few minutes walk from the Marybert School and Orphanage, where almost half of the pupils are financially supported by the charity.
As we approach the school I can already hear peals of laughter and giggling which, although I didn’t have any real expectations of how it would be, aren’t what I expected to hear at an orphanage (if that makes any sense!). The youngsters are cavorting around on the chute and climbing frame, lined up like chattering sparrows on a telephone wire, or gently tugging each other’s pigtails in good humour. It’s a beautiful sight. At least three of them rush towards me to say ‘namaste’ whilst earnestly pressing their palms together. ‘What is your name’ and for some reason the name ‘Joanna’ is suddenly the funniest name they’ve ever heard and they clutch their tummies whilst giggling. From this point onwards I decide to use my spiritually given name of ‘Jyoti’, which has more meaning to them, and this part of the world.
There are no tears here, only happiness from the children and I’m already forced to reconsider my self-built images fuelled by Oliver Twist. The children are thrilled to see Raju (My Small Help President) and gather around our feet like ants to a jam pot. As we ask the children questions so that I can write up colourful profiles for the website I’m struck by the beauty of each of these children. They have little or nothing of material consequence but they each have spirit, hope and love and rapidly pull out letters and photographs of people who have helped sponsor them. They gleefully report ambition to be doctors and vets and teachers; listing a desire to help as the reason for their choice.
Help is the keyword for the next few months that I will spend in Nepal. I am fortunate to be able to dedicate time and attention by physically being here, which I know isn’t possible for many. So, if you would like to help by writing to the children, donating a few pounds or taking up a more regular sponsorship of a child please click here: Christmas is coming and your donation would enable the My Small Help volunteers to create a memorable day for the children by buying them necessities and treats.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Approximately 10 stunt bikers performed to an enthusiastic crowd of around 300 the last weekend in November (2010). The event, held at the International Summing Club, Satdobato, was organised by Pako Youth Club and Planet Nepal. The bikers showed bravery and skill as they wowed the audience with their daredevil antics. The crowd also enjoyed a variety of live music.
Pramila, My Small Help’s accountant, was thrilled to receive the cheque. The charity, on behalf of the young children and orphans who will benefit from the cash boost, thank the organisers of the stunt show for their generosity, and for daring to care.
Pramila receving cheque
The donation will be put towards a number of different projects run by My Small Help to ensure that the children they sponsor are given the opportunity to benefit from school education, and that their overall wellbeing is considered a priority.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
6 out of 11 new iron beds were provided to Marybert Orphanage. Marybert Orphanage used to have 11 wooden beds for the boys and girls room altogether. The beds were really old and had bed bugs, due to which the children could not sleep soundly and would wake up in the middle of the night. The beds were treated with medicine but still it was of no use. The only option left was to burn down the beds.
Marybert School and Orphanage is situated in Kathmandu and is MSH’s pioneer project. At present there are approximately 100 children studying at the school and 23 of these children are living at the orphanage. MSH sponsors 17 children living at the Marybert orphanage. The sponsorship pays for their education, food, accommodation and sanitary living conditions.
In addition, MSH has built a library for the school and has donated many books. The library has a peaceful atmosphere and the books are clearly displayed. MSH has funded a bio-gas system that is complete and running very well. MSH has also funded for iron beds for the orphanage.
Marybert Orphanage Management and MySmallHelp decided to dosomething, so Marybert Orphanage Management and MySmallHelp sat down together to discuss on the matter. With much discussion, MySmallHelp decided to fund for 6 new iron beds with the Funds Provided by KnightBridge School, UK and for the other 5 beds, were to be funded by Marybert Orphanage Management. The beds were not ready-made and were to be made from the start and painted. Meanwhile, as the bed was being made in process, the children were sleeping on the floor with their matress and as winter was approaching, the children were starting to feel cold, so the building of the beds had to be faster. Finally on 20th Sep 2010, the beds were ready and brought to MaryBert Orphanage, with new bed carts. The children were very happy to see their new bed and arrage it in their respective rooms.
Nowadays, the children have not complaint about being bitten by any bed bugs and they said they can sleep soundly at night. They are very thankful to Knightbridge School for funding this project and for all their support.
Include other projects in brief and write something like this "we will be doing this projects soon and will write the update and progress.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The cuys have arrived at Cuylandia!
The first guinea pigs have been distributed to the people that have built the homes for their guinea pigs and have grown their food donated by Paskay and have followed all of the training sessions.
According to the “socios” members of the Cuylandia project they are very happy with their guinea pigs and are now more excited than ever about their guinea pig rearing businesses.
The balanced guinea pig food has also been distributed to the “socios” members that have their guinea pigs. They need to make sure that they pick up their 1.3kg of guina pig food from the president each day.
The last guinea pig training session took place today at Cuylandia and the guinea pigs are going to receive their tags on Thursday.
SUPERVISION OF THE PRODUCERS
. Each family including in the Cuylandia contract with Paskay are visited on Friday each week to check how they are progressing.
· The growth of their alfafa
· Construcion of the homes for the guinea pigs
· Interest in rearing guinea pigs
· Evaluation on how they have understood the guinea pig rearing training course provided by Paskay
On 1st October 2010 our agronomist reported that 50% of the members have built the homes for their guinea pigs, , 70% had planted the alfafa to ensure that the guinea pigs will have enough food) and 95% are interested in learning more about their new guinea pig rearing business.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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.
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!
Paskay (Mysmallhelp Peru)