We would like to thank Sheila, John and friends for their donation of toys recently. It wasn't just a holiday for them, it was a special occasion which was seeing their son marry in true Indian style. It even included a majestic elephant which towered above them.
All the ladies were dressed in beautiful sari's (shhh, I won't tell the secret :), Due to the nature of the event time was at a premium and they sadly did not manage to meet the children but they passed the items onto Robert who will hopefully distribute them over the coming holidays.
We would like to wish the bride and groom a wonderful, colourful life together and of course a huge thank you to Sheila and John for going out of their way to bring donations for the less fortunate at such an important time in their lives.
Tytti and Essa were kind enough to sponsor the educational rice earlier this year and it has been a great success towards getting and keeping children in school. They recently returned to Goa and joined Robert on the latest distribution and got to see where the donations were being used. In all we visited 5 areas and gave out 50KG of rice. There are still three more areas to give out to but we ran out of time and rice yesterday.
Tytti and Essa also brought along very nice lollipops for the children and even though the label stated 'contains no fruit', they smelt wonderful and the children were delighted to receive a little bonus.
After we had distributed the rice there was one last set of donations to give out. Many health packs and fruit were distributed last week, but it was not possible get round to all the children so we caught up and distributed the final sets of health packs and fruit to the children who come seasonally to Goa, they usually stay for 4 or 5 months around Mapusa and then head off to another area to work. These children are a little bit of a handful and you have to have a firm voice and be quite strict about giving out donations as they do, often, try to take advantage of your kindness and swap places in the line so they can receive items twice.
The best solution for good distribution is to get them all in a straight single file line. In India, this is not the easiest task, but with a little bit of work it is possible. Then to distribute things quickly and efficiently and ONLY give those who are in the line, otherwise you will be inundated with people asking and saying they didn't get. If they didn't get then they obviously weren't in the line and you don't get unless you are in the line. It's all good fun though and I have promised I will return with some toothbrushes for the parents who, with their stained tobacco mouths really need a little oral hygiene.
At the end we thanked them all and our helpers and headed home.
We would like to thank Karen Jeynes and my kind landlords (The Carrasco Family) for their donations of clothes for the children. Both parties gave young children's clothes and we hope to give them out to the children over the next week.
If anyone else has any childrens clothes they wish to donate then please do get in touch. Whatever you donate will be put to use and given out. The children helped are generally small so if you are bringing them from abroad then children sizes should be for children aged 14 and younger. If the clothes are second hand then please make sure they are in good condition and not tatty as even though the children are in need they also take pride in their appearance which we do encourage.
A small note : the girls we help are generally very conservative in their outfits, short skirts or low cut tops are not suitable especially if they are for older girls. We do receive some items, which can be used in layers to get round these issues, but long dresses and skirts are best suited.
GOENKAR STORY : Laxmi Khaire, a young writer for the Goenkar got in touch with Robert last month wanting to write a cover story relating to the families I help. She wanted to show middle and uppler class Indians that when they winge about how terrible their lives are, they should step back and consider those living below the poverty line.
Here is a scan of her 5 page article in this months Goenkar. Copyright : Goenkar - The Hello Group
Fourteenth November is a special day for anyone who works with children. It is a day that is tiring but fun. It's Children's Day! There seems to be a day for everything now-a-days and I am sure it's all related to businesses wanting to earn a little more money from card and present sales.Nearly all the others I ignore, but Children's Day is one that is important to me as it gives me an excuse to bring a few smiles to the children's faces.
Today started off with a visit to the local wholesale market to buy a couple hundred oranges which will go towards a goody bag for the children (but in the spirit of Earth day we didn't hand out bags), actually nothing to do with that, we just forgot and didn't realise how much we would end up giving out this year.
Robert was joined this year by Naomi and her son, Brendan who had planned to visit the week before but due to a unforeseen incident involving a toe, they were unable to come and instead rescheduled for Friday the 14th, Children's Day. Naomi and Brendan kindly purchased a host of items to add to the "goody bag" and along with the health packs and special bits and bobs, most of the children received a couple of pieces of fruit, biscuits, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and face wash. 60 children also received fruit juice. Both Naomi and Brendan took part and helped hand out the items in four different areas totalling around 100 children.
A quick shout out to 'Guru' the taxi driver who also was a great help. It must have been a little bit like getting thrown in at the deep end as at one of the areas we had to trek through piles of recycling to get to a couple of the families. It was a good day and the aim of the day was to bring a few smiles, and it did just that.
Thanks to everyone who helped during the day and to the wonderful children who are always a joy to help. Happy Children's Day!
A quick extra thank you to Naomi and Brendan for bringing out a few bags of extra goodies for the children, vitamins, toiletries, medicine and toys - Thank you, it all makes a difference!
After the monsoon rains finish the schools ask the children to purchase sport shoes, these are basic blue and white shoes and any variation on this is frowned upon by the teachers as they don't want the children to be individuals, would you…?
As most of the families live hand to mouth, buying them can be a strain on the family's resources, so that's where our educational support system steps in to help out. We went round all the children we help, finding out their needs and measuring them for their sizes, some it was just a basic job of drawing round their feet to get a rough size and others, once we had bought a selection of sizes we ask the children to try them on and see which were most comfortable.
It was a little amusing at one area when the boy put on a flip-flop (where his foot was at least a full centimetre longer than the flip-flop and he looked and repeated its size which appeared on the sole of the footwear. I am not sure if he was just desperate to have a pair of shoes or perhaps he thought it was normal not to have footwear that fitted. The sizes range from small size nine up to a large size eight for the children and the majority have now been purchased, the remaining few will hopefully be sorted this week.
The prices range from just over Rs 200 up to Rs380 for the larger sizes (after discount) - Thanks to Rupa from Sudesh Foot Wear for the discounts and Anil Footwear, Mapusa.