Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Looking for a sponsor

Dipika Karki
Dewaki is a 29 years old young lady from one of the poor village. She got married 7 years back and has a daughter name Dipika. Her in-laws started torturing her very badly to bring money as a dowry from her parent's house once she gave birth to her daughter. Currently Dewaki is living in a small, dark room. She goes to other family house for cleaning and washing. Her monthly income is less than £ 25 a month. She and her child desperately need support. 

Dipika is a lovely girl who is shy in nature. She loves to dance. She is living with her grandparents. She wants to live with her mother but her mother can't afford to keep her.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A day in the life of volunteering with MSH

By: Kate Smith
There isn’t really a typical day volunteering with MSH rather a typical week of volunteering which makes the experience even more special. 

There are multiple projects undertaken by MSH, the principle being the bus to and from the Rainbow School in Urubamba. The Volunteers escort the kids to and from the school as well as providing support for them whilst there. The Rainbow School is a great place for the disabled kids, not only does the school provide time away from, sometimes, difficult home lives but it encourages the kids to gain all important life skill therefore encouraging independence.

The bus was my favorite part of my volunteering experience, despite the early start, the kids were just so happy to be going to school. The driver know the kids, all the stops on the route to the School and help so much with wheelchairs ect – invaluable for when you are new . 

It is only right that I put a picture of the lady herself Lourdes! She is amazing, her story is inspiring and one of the reasons I chose to volunteer with MSH. Lourdes not only attends the Rainbow School but has also enrolled herself into Mathematic and Science class at another School in Urubamba and does pottery classes also. Lourdes is very creative and it is lovely to experience her eagerness to improve her skills. Her knowledge of MSH is also invaluable; she knows all the kids, their disabilities, and is very welcoming to the volunteers! Here she is about to do florences hair – I am kicking myself that I do not have an ´after picture´ as it was beautiful!
Here is a picture of another one of our kids, José, who has a condition known as cerebral palsy which, due to its severity, restricts him to a wheelchair. Unfortunately he cannot speak but this does not stop Jose, he is so bright and is not afraid to voice himself when happy… which is the majority of the time!  José has a book which has pictures within it allowing him to point to pictures to let everyone know what he would like.

However, due to certain restrictions – more or less due to limited resources, José only goes to School 3 days a week, the other two days allows another child Alex to participate in school. 

Alex, like José is restricted to a wheelchair, however is in need of a specially adapted wheelchair which is kept at the school.  Alex lives a little further out from Urubamba but the bus drivers pick Alex up and take him home the days he is in School. 

This brings us onto another project that the MSH team ensure happens – visiting the kids, predominantly José and Alex, during the week on the days that they are not in school. José can get out and about as he has a wheelchair and he loves to go for walks down by the river and the train station with a couple of ´gelatinas´. 
The Volunteers also visit other kids who live even further out. The trip to and from the kids homes are breathtakingly beautiful! 

At least once a week, depending on the amount of volunteers, we try to visit other children who live in communities outside of Ollantay and therefore too far for it to be feasible to attend school. I have not visited Roxanna, a young girl with autism who lives at the other side of the river high up the valley, however I have visited a girl called Vilma. Vilma lives with her mother in a town high up the valley, about 40 minutes by collectivo – it is such a beautiful journey… when the collectivo isn’t full. 

It was a great experience not only did we meet a lovely young girl, who is unfortunately mentally and visually challenged, but it was great to have a chat with her mother and I like to think she enjoyed the company. She made the nicest tea, I am sure it was rose tea, and she was very eager for me to try a bit of her dried guinue pig. I think it was the hundreds of coi running about the house that put me off trying it, but the act of kindness does give an example of how friendly and how appreciative the families are for the help of the charity. 

Not only do the volunteers visit disabled children in the locality but we also visited an older woman daily. Her name is Naty and she is a wee old Quechan lady who sadly cannot walk due to Polio and is therefore confined to her little bit of land at the entrance to Ollantaytambo. She is amazing, so loving and generous; she always brightens up your day.  Despite not speaking much Spanish, communication between us seems to be easy! She loves the company and I love her sense of humor.

My time within the charity was made even more special because of our coordinator, Mayra! Mayra is a gem; she is so enthusiastic about the charity and especially all the children. Working out of Ollantaytambo, Urubamba and even Cusco, Mayra still found the time to organize the many Navidad celebrations within different communities high up in the Andes. This included entertainment for the kids, in form of clowns who were amazing, chocolate caliente, Panettone and gifts. All the gifts received were donations, this was also amazing to see, the generosity of people. 

I had an amazing time whilst volunteering with My Small Help. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Ollantaytambo has such amazing energy, everyone is happy despite some harsh living conditions. The Charity itself does so much with so little! I loved how enthusiastic everyone in the village is about the work undertaken by MSH, and how welcomed the volunteers are. 

Living within Ollantaytambo for a month has also been incredible, not only are you in one of the most beautiful places in the world but the people also living here reflect that. I feel like I have been welcomed with open arms into the community. The locals are very supportive of the charity and are very interested in where you have come from, your background ect. It is nice to be able to walk down the street, with everyone saying hi as you pass them. There is a nice atmosphere here as well as some spectacular views!

The main lesson that I have learned during my time volunteering with MSH is that a little bit of support to those in need can make a huge difference to a persons life. Having only volunteered for a month it is easy to see that the projects undertaken by the MSH team have such a positive impact of the lives of those the charity supports.  And to your own! 

Having travelled to a part of the world that can only be classed as the polar opposite of what you are used to, not only makes you appreciate how lucky you are to have your health but to realise that it is ok to have fun and to enjoy life. The kids here do not have much and life has dealt them an even tougher card – having a disability, yet they are happy.

I would love the opportunity to travel back one day, and encourage those thinking about volunteering for a couple of weeks/ months or even a year to give MSH a shot. To anyone thinking of travelling and doing some volunteering along the way, stop by Ollantaytambo and spend a couple of weeks with MSH, you will love it!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

5 weeks volunteering in Ollantaytambo for My Small Help

By: Louise Sanders
I spent 5 weeks volunteering in Ollantaytambo for My Small Help and loved it. I have been talking about it ever since to anyone who will listen! My main  job was to look after the children on the bus to school, which is in urrabamba about half a mile away. This job was always fun, talking to the children or Reuben the bus driver. I was also able to help out at school working with Lucho the physiotherapist who teases everyone!  I also took part  in the fiestas de Ollanta where we were in the  parade with the children and their parents and also went to Paru paru to plant potatoes! 

Whilst working for my small help I fell in love with Jose Alfredo who despite not being able to talk or walk understands absolutely everything you say! He was making progress in feeding himself. I hope to go back to Peru and visit him and I would love it ift he could eat a whole meal using a spoon, it would be amazing.
The children and the other volunteers, mi familia linda,  made my stay in Ollantaytambo amazing! 
Thank you!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Better living place for MSH supported family

Anjali and Alisha’s mother Chitra Maya Thapa Magar was first feeling ackward in shifting from the place she was living. But after her children’s will and road expansion was already on full swing. She had no other option than to find the place to live. We were looking for a room where we can set up a carpet weaving loom and passes sunlight, a proper toilet and easy accessibility of water. With number of search in different places, we finally got a good room which is just nearby Marybert School/Orphanage. The room is in 'L' shape which is large enough to have a weaving loom and place to live at the same place.

Since Chirta Maya is a very experienced and talented carpet weaver, the carpet company where she is working for has decided to provide her a loom to keep her room which means, she can live in a room and work. This will give her time to look after her children when they are back from school.

After number of talks with the house owner and agreeing to make sure the family keeps the room and toilet clean, he provided the room. The whole family is very happy and excited to have a nice room. This definitely has given more hope and feeling of doing something in life to the children. They have thanked you for making their dream come true.