The busiest time of year is fast approaching and we really need your help!
Last year we were able to provide presents to hundreds of children from Mapusa down to Margao. In total we gave out around 700 wrapped presents. We are hoping to manage a able to similar amount this year with your help.
If you are visiting Goa (or know someone who is) before Christmas (preferably before 15th December) then we would be delighted to receive small items that we can use as stocking fillers. They don´t have to be big or expensive, actually we prefer smaller items as they are much easier to even out in the presents. Each present usually contains 6 or 7 smaller items and a main item.
If you think you can help then any of the following items would be ideal.
Balloons, Punch Balloons, Bubbles, Toy Cars, Spinning Tops, Hair Accessories, Hair Bands, Friendship Bracelets, Keyrings, Costume Jewellery, Tennis Balls, Footballs, Power Balls, Frizbees, Nail Varnish, Henna Packs (Natural), Small Dolls.
If you are not visiting Goa but still want to support the children this Christmas then you can also send a donation online. If it is specifically for Presents then do please mention that when making the donation. Thanks
You may remember a few weeks ago a couple of Dentists came by and checked the teeth of around 50 of the children, and when the children let us know about a problem we then take them to the hospital, Dentist or Optician as necessary.
One of the children had her eyes checked recently at the District Hospital and was found to be in need of glasses. Her prescription wasn´t anything major, but seeing clearly is vital, especially as she had been complaining of headaches recently.
We took her to Vision Hospital to obtain a pair of suitable glasses. To start with she just wanted us to go and bring some back for her, but we told her that we had to get the right size for her head and make adjustments so they fit comfortably. The service is pretty good and we spent a good half an hour looking at all the designs before settling on a pair. It took just a couple of days before they were fitted with the lenses and ready to pick up; the glasses were quite stylish and she was happy with them, although still a little insecure about wearing them as she was worried that people may tease her.
We would like to thank Vision Hospital for giving a discount on the glasses and Goa Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for organising the sight test.
It is always exciting to get backing from another organisation or company. So I would like to introduce "The Salmon Factor", a consultancy company from Spain who say of themselves
"we have been always supporting charitable projects and worthy causes, whether local or global, are closer or farther, disinterested marketing activities to contribute our bit to society."
It is only recently, since the setting up of the Goa Outreach web site that the charity has been able to attract direct backing in this way for the work Goa Outreach undertakes. It is therefore with great pleasure we thank the Salmon Factor, for their generous contribution.
Three of the older girls that we help have been chosen to represent Goa in the upcoming national Kabaddi matches being held in Telangana the newest state in India.
Telangana was originally part of India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh which formally split in two just over a year ago, the northern area Andhra Pradesh now forms the new state of Telangana.
The three girls are catching their train in Vasco this evening which will take them around 800 kilometres to their final destination where they will spend the next 10 days competing against girls from other states in India. To help them along and support them we have provided small care packets and spending money for the trip. We wish them all the best for the journey and will try not to take sides too much.... Come on Goa!
This week has seen a few more donations in kind. The first parcel was from "Lotus Eaters" which is a lovely book recycling centre in Anjuna. Their place feels so homely with books stacked high on shelves and diagonal shelves on the walls, a really nice find, so if you love a good read on holiday and don´t want to sacrifice your luggage then do pay them a visit. It is a little off the beaten track, but is a great find when you finally arrive. They donated clothes and books, the books will especially come in very handy for the children. Thank you both.
We also received a large box of clothes and material from Amika Kler and husband who have recently moved to Goa. A few of the items were put to use straight away. Blankets and face cloths were given to three girls who were setting off on a trip the next day. Thank you to everyone who is kind enough to help, we really do appreciate it!
This year extended our ability to support children to our limits, both financially and with other resources available to us. We helped around 90 children with all their needs which included everything from stationery, books and uniforms to school and official fees. Out of all money spent this year, over 61% of it was used towards education.
The past month has seen new children arrive in the local area, many have never been to school before; which is surprisingly common. Due to this it is important to get the children admitted as soon as possible so they can settle and get used to the school environment ready for their next full year which will start in June 2016.
As well as not having been to school before, many of the children often don´t even have the basic birth certificates which we all take for granted in the west. In these cases we have to organise a legal document where the parents state the children´s age. This can also be fraught with problems as the parents are often not sure how old their children are, let alone knowing the day and month of birth.
It can be frustrating and to add more complexity, even when parents have their own ID proof, this is rarely a birth certificate. Occasionally they have a ration card, voting card or driving licence. There is a good chance that details are not consistent throughout. Name changes, different spelling or information are common place.
The latest three children should have their Affidavits completed by the time you read this. The children started school a week ago and the teacher kindly allowed us some time to get the documents in place.
For the three new children we organised bags, books and stationery, we had a couple of uniforms left over, but we were still in need of a couple of shirts and a whole outfit for the youngest boy. With our fingers crossed we visited the Education Department in Mapusa, where last year they kindly managed to find a few left over uniforms for the late arrivals, and we are glad to say they came through again this year. David Noronha from the Education Department, who also helped us out last year managed to find a few remaining uniforms for the children. We thank you David and the Educational Department for your help, and the parents for allowing their children to be admitted into school.
At the end of the season when things had quietened down a little, Robert wanted one of his favourite meals, which can be found at the Big Banana on Calangute/Baga beach, unfortunately he was just a couple of days late and they had already taken down the shack, ready for the monsoon.
He thought their restaurant might still be open, but too late again, but he did get to meet up with the owners who kindly offered to donate the past seasons beach bed mattresses to a good home. They had a large selection to choose from, some were a little worse for wear, but several were in good condition. We weren´t sure if the families would be interested, but took a photo and visited the slum to ask the families. It was good to hear that there was an interest, so the next task was how to actually get the mattresses, which are quite heavy and bulky the 20 kilometres from beach to home. Jo at The Primate Trust kindly allowed us to borrow the van for the afternoon.
After filling the van from floor to roof with mattresses we headed to the families. On arrival it just took a few minutes for the mattresses to be snapped up. It will be nice to see the families make the most of the mattresses over the following months.
A big thank you goes out to Big Banana for their kind offer and Jo for allowing us to use the van for the afternoon.