I would like to thank our recent visitors who have taken the time to come and see the work we do and meet the kids. Each one has come with small gifts for the children which has brought a smile to their faces.
Polly got in touch with Rob before heading out to Goa and kindly offered to bring some craft supplies for the children. On her arrival we met up and headed down to one of the smaller slums where we found a group of mildly over excited kids who we thought would appreciate a small craft session. There were just around 8 children in total, most of which do not attend formal schools so the session was lively. But the small craft masks that Polly brought were great and kept them busy for a while. It was a hot day and we stayed just 30 minutes but I would like to thank Polly for her time.
Polly "I think you are doing an amazing job and the kids obviously love you - keep it up and I will spread the word". Pollyx
The Tessa Horan Foundation
The Tessa Horan Foundation also got in touch with us in February. They were making a group trip to India and wanted to stop by and do a day with the children. The group, all ladies, included Katrina, Faith, Morgan, Kristena and Hannah and they had an impressive set of talents between them including, Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Yoga Instructors, Aesthetician, knowledge of Homeopathy and Essential oils and acupressure points, Art Therapy and dancing.
The ladies were a little tight on time and visited twice, the second day we ventured down to the slums and with their helping hands managed to give out around 260 pieces of fruit, a combination of apples and oranges. We visited the transient camp first where there was a large group of children who came running over as we appeared. We have known many of the children for years now, although they come and go and one week there can be as many as 50 - 75 children, and the next none. The children can be a little excited to see us but with a bit of encouragement they made a nice long queue. As is often the case there are also over eager parents who pick up their children and move them closer to the front, but generally they were very good. The ladies did most of the giving out with a few pointers from Robert, the main one being 'be as quick as possible' as the less time the children have to move around the better! I believe the ladies enjoyed this large group and had a few photos taken with the parents and children before we headed off to our next area. Thank you so much to all the ladies!
Tessa Horan Foundation (THF) furthers the education of motivated young people who can give back to their community. Instead of funding larger projects and organizations where donations take longer to reach the individual level, THF tries to fund smaller groups and specific families with immediate help. Similar to the goal of micro-loans and Habitat for Humanity, the foundation´s strategy is to plant seeds of hope and possibility that can grow from the bottom up. 'Though there always are countless individuals, families and small groups in dire need throughout the world at any time, THF believes that we have an obligation to help those in serious need who are clearly in our path. So far those who are chosen for THF aid have been found in the parts of the world where Tessa Horan visited and saw community needs that touched her heart.'
Thank you to everyone who has visited recently, if I have forgotten to mention you, please accept my apologies as it's been a busy month.
The new school year is fast approaching and we are preparing all the items needed and talking with parents and children to ensure we provide the best experience possible. This year we aim to provide 100 children with their educational needs. This includes everything from bags, books, uniforms, shoes, stationery and more!
One extra thing which has been a success the last year is providing the children who attend school regularly with a kilo of rice for every full week of school attendance. It wasn't too much of a problem the first year with just 25 children, but for the new school year there will be 100 children, which means 100kg of rice per week! Up until now we have been collecting the rice on the motorbike but this year we will have to arrange a different method of transport. We're working on that. The increased number of children means an increase in costs and so we would like your help in funding this small way of saying thank you to the families for allowing the children to attend school instead of work.
We have set up a special fund raising page for this purpose and hope to raise the whole £1200. To break the figure down a little and to make a more purposeful donation, say:
1. A 25kg bag of rice costs around £6.
2. One child's rice per month is around £1 so for 12 months £12 would pay for a years' worth of rice for one child.
3. One weeks rice for all the children would be around £25.
4. One months' rice for all the children would be around £100.
If anyone thinks they could help with one of the figures above, or any amount that would be appreciated. Please check out the link below to the fundraising page. The totals are shown on the page and it would be fabulous if we could secure the full amount before the start of the new school year in June. We have also received an offline donation of £100 which isn't listed on the fundraising page.
There have been a couple of reports in the papers regarding an increase in dogs biting people; the newspapers highlighted Vasco and also Mapusa area.
Two of the children we help have also had to take a course of Rabies injections, each having been bitten recently. The first was a teenage girl who received a definite bite mark on her thigh, with each of the four canine teeth making a good imprecision. The bite only just broke the skin, but you must be vigilant and although she really did not want to have injections, we convinced her that it was the best thing to do.
The first thing that needed to be done before having the injection, was to ensure that the wound was thoroughly cleaned with soap and water, which is standard practice. Once well cleaned the nurse thought it would be best to have an allergy test so a small amount of the serum was placed just under her skin and marked with a circle, as well as this she also had a tetanus shot as a precaution.
The allergy test meant we had to wait around for an hour before heading back to check to see that there was no adverse reaction to the test, the hospital had become a little busier so we waited a good 30 minutes before it was time for her to have her first set of injections. The doctor came to do the first set of rabies injections and it was the decision to inject around the bite mark, which was more painful than the patient had hoped, but she stayed really brave throughout.
To her relief that days´ injections were over, although there were still another 4 treatments to have as part of the rabies schedule. The next three injections dates went well, but before we had chance to do the final injection Robert received a call from another child saying they had also been bitten by a dog.
Another trip to the hospital was required with a new patient. This time though no tester shot was made and as the bite was on the ankle, the injections were given in the boys´ arm. The 2nd injection for him coincided with the girls´ final injections so on Sunday both of the children joined Robert and had their injections together. The girl had become relaxed about the treatments and I guess was happy to have them complete and joked a little with the boy who still had another 3 injections to go. We would like to thank the staff at the hospital who administered the injections and hope we won´t be bringing any more children to see them any time soon.
Sonali has been supporting our work now for a while and makes a few trips to India a year. Each time she visits she likes to arrange something to give out directly with the children as well as providing educational materials. This time was no different, Sonali very kindly bought a good collection of school socks, 70 or 80 pairs as well as around 100 small pouches containing ruler, pencil and pencil sharpener. In addition to this pens and rulers were also given, all of which will help in the upcoming new school year starting in June. Before arriving Sonali asked for Robert to organise something to give out in the slums, this time it was flour (Atta); around 75 bags were bought with Sonali joining in to help give them out. We managed to visit most of the children we help with education, and Sonali remembered many of them. The following photos are ones she took while we distributed the flour to the children.
Sonali : A morning well spent Thank you Rob for allowing me to be a part of the wonderful job you do every day of your life ... there are very few selfless people like yourself ... looking forward to spending more time with them next time !
Katie was introduced to Robert through a common friend, Amber who had volunteered for Robert at Children Walking Tall several years ago.
When Amber found out that Katie was going to Goa and interested in charity work she said she must meet up with Robert so he could share his knowlegde and advice.
Katie and Rob arranged to meet up on Sunday the 14thof Feb (Valentine's Day) and had a really good chat about where to travel to and what each had done. Katie was also really interested in the charity work. An hour was spent describing what Goa Outreach does and how the children are selected and how we help. It's all well and good talking, but it's much better to experience it yourself.
It was about time to distribute this month's health packs so we packed up a couple of bags of supplies and headed down to meet some of the children. It was a sleepy Sunday afternoon and we took things at a leisurely pace. On the way to our second destination we were 'ambushed' by some kids who live on a rough piece of ground. Sadly they are not our regulars (they are not here all year round) so it is impossible to get them into school as their families move from place to place, but Robert has known many of them for years and the children ran over and even though we weren't expecting to see them, we gave out items to all the children.
Once finished we got back on track and headed on to the second destination and ended up with a situation we hadn't bargained for.
A few nights ago there had been an incident in the area and everyone was still a little shook up, especially as it happened just 15 - 20 meters from where the family sleeps. The story was narrated to us by one of the older girls who informed us that a neighbour had been murdered on the road next to their house during a fight over property where according to reports 'swords' and 'choppers' were used as weapons... The children were still in a state of shock.
Don't really know what Katie thought of the whole discussion as it's not really something you prepare for. We spent probably 30 - 45 minutes talking to the older kids and saying they are safe, and how we could help with one of their friends who had been involved. Things are ok and everything looks normal, except for the addition of a 24hr hour police guard sat just down the lane in the shade.
We had finished off nearly 50 sets of health packs so returned to base to collect another 30 sets to distribute. The afternoon's activities had given Katie a good idea of the children and the work we do and she kindly posted this comment about the day.
Katie 2016 Have spent the past few days in north goa having too much fun to even take pictures. I've had a great time here, better than in south goa by miles ... and a highlight of my time here was definitely meeting Rob who has a charity out here ( www.GoaOutreach.org) which does some amazing work. Thanks Rob for letting me help you out the other day distributing soap, shampoo and toothpaste to the kids that need it most. The look on those kids faces on receiving their health pack was something I'll never forget. #itsthelittlethings
The chart on the left shows where donations were spent in the year 2015. Education accounted for 43% of total expenditure with the children´s health expenditure coming second and taking 26% of the total.
The education bill includes everything from school fees, to school bags, uniforms and stationery etc. The good general health of the children is very important so help is given for the children to visit dentists, opticians and other health care providers as required as well as providing monthly supplies to promote cleanliness and protection against mosquitoes.
Celebrations covering Christmas, Eid, Holi etc amounted to 8% and Social Work also at 8%. The remaining 15% includes Outreach work, Nutrition, Official, Repairs and Maintenance and Office Work.