A couple of the children asked me if they could have a geometry box as teacher was asking for them to buy and bring to school. A little surprised, we decided to go into school and ask the teacher as these children were just in 4th standard (Primary School). Early in the morning Robert went to meet the head master and asked about the Geometry boxes and a little was lost in translation as he thought I was asking if I wanted to buy Geometry boxes for all the children. The outcome was that the charity would sponsor all of the 4th standard at the local government school. It is hard to say no when you are in front of a class full of kids.
It was going to be a busy day so I planned to return with them early next week. On the way to the next meeting I had a few minutes to spare, had a look in one shop and was shown a box priced at 250 Rs, wow, kind of expensive... So we asked for something a little more economical, and it went to 150, 120 and finally down to 80 Rs, but I have to say the 80 Rs version looked really basic and badly made, then somehow we were offered one for 50 Rs and being a little sceptical about the quality, we opened it up to find a cracking set which would be ideal. It contained: Compass, divider, eraser, pencil, sharpener, protractor, set square 45 degrees and set square 60 degrees. All of this for just 50 Rs, it even came in a metal tin. Bargain. Instead of waiting till next week I quickly bought 50 and headed back to the school to give them out.
The two classes were brought together so we could quickly give out the sets to all the children, each one kindly standing up and shaking our hand to say thank you on receiving their set.
We took a quick photo and were really happy to help one of the local government schools which many of the children we help attend.
Planet Hero came to visit us earlier this month and have recently posted a small video that they have made. Here is a little piece of text from them introducing the video
"Planet Hero is proud to present our latest video made with the help of Goa street and slum kids and Goa Outreach with whom we ran a filmmaking workshop in which the kids directed, filmed, sang and acted! We hope you like it!"
"Please follow the FB page of this young charity Goa Outreach who are doing fab things to support the education and welfare of these beautiful kids in India"
A few months ago we were contacted by two young ladies (Angelina and Suzanne) who are representatives of a new hotel being built close to Chapora Fort which overlooks the large Vagator beach. Work on the new hotel, the W Goa, was being finalised with the intention of a November 2016 opening. The stunning rooms, 160 in total, will include chalets and villas.
Angelina and Suzanne had been told about the work we do by a couple of their friends and decided to check us out. We spoke to them about the work and visited the children in the slums and helped to give out the monthly health packs. They didn´t get chance to see where all the children live but were able to get a good understanding of what we do and how we help.
Since that initial meeting we have spoken and met up several times to organise their event "Run to Give". Run to give is a way the hotel helps to give back to local charities in the areas where their hotels are based.
Arrangements for the Goa version of the run were in full swing, the hotel staff had already organised the route, all the permissions, supporters and it looked like the event would be a huge success. The run in Goa was over 5km, starting and finishing next to the tourist boats by the main highway bridge spanning the Mandovi river.
As we approached the start date Angelina took control and was often on the phone. A promotional video was to be produced, something that neither Rob nor Angelina were particularly comfortable with, but with the help of the camera man (who would be a great teacher if he decided to give up the camera work) and lots of breathing exercises, they both managed to complete their lines. Would like to make a quick thank you to : Paper Tiger Films and Fabian, who managed to create a fantastic short promotional video, the slow motion shots of the children are fantastic.
The day of the race was on top of us, one thing I have failed to mention until now is the time; 6 o´clock in the morning. It has been quite a while since we had to be ready and get out of the house by 6am in the morning, especially on a Sunday! This needed a little organising especially as 20 of the children would also be joining us. Rob went round the day before double checking with the families that it was OK for their children to (1) Go to Panjim in the morning and (2) Be ready at 6am as the coach would be there to pick them up. Robert took a few phone numbers so he could call them at 5:30 to make sure they were up and at least would have chance for a cup of tea.
On the morning Rob got a call from the coach driver at 5.00am double checking the directions and he had already reached close by, which put Rob into a little panic, 5am.... But we told the children 6 am... The driver was happy to have a little nap before hand, so everything was fine.
At ten 5:50am, we started the journey down to the first area to pick up the kids. A few of the children were up and almost ready, a couple of others were a little behind so we decided to go to the second area to see if they were ready. On our return we still had to wait for Kiran, who started the day being the slowest but ended the day being the quickest from the charity.
The coach started its journey to Panjim and to begin with all of the older boys were ready to give the race a go, the children were there as the special guests, but as the coach drew near to the destination second thoughts and uncertainty set in.
A mass of people, I am not sure how many exactly, but I think there must have been well over 100 people running and all but one of them were 'grownups' which for the children was rather daunting. With a little bit of encouragement, 'You'll get a free T-shirt if you run' we managed to change their minds and eight of the older lads decided to give it a go.
The younger children were placed at the start line holding balloons tied to the hashtag #Run to Give 2016, and one of the youngest children got the job of waving the flag to start the race.
The children did a great job and seemed oblivious to the hundred people starting as they gazed into the air at the helium balloons floating away.
Just 21 minutes later the first runner was back, a tall Canadian man who seemed quite at ease as he passed the finish line, an amazing run. Then more of the runners came back, Kiran who was the last to get on the coach came in and took the medal for 3rd place! - An amazing effort for one of the children we help, especially as he only decided to take part the day before.
All of the children managed to finish with most of them in the first half of the runners. It was great to see and made Robert very proud of them all.
Meals and prizes were given out by the staff of the W Goa and very graciously the Canadian who took the trophy for 1st approached Robert to ask if one of the children would like the trophy, and as Kiran did so well, Robert suggested he would be happy to receive it.
Robert was then asked on stage to be awarded the fundraising cheque. We were told earlier what to expect, although as they revealed the numbers on the cheque one by one we were surprised that the money raised was more than 3 times higher. An amazing 3.5 lakh! It was amazing. Robert had told the children that all the people were running to help raise funds to support the kid's education. It was a great day and after a bit of breakfast and a chance to relax we were on the way home.
A huge thank you to all the staff of the W Goa and Starwood hotel who setup and managed the race; to all the supporters who were kind enough to supply the requirements for the day including Kingfisher water, Crosscraft, Champs and Fogueri caterers; to everyone one who donated including Thalasa, the Greek restaurant in Vagator and Abil and Sun-n-Sand who were the main donors.
Finally thanks to everyone who got up at 6am or earlier to be part of this fantastic day and to all the runners and of course the kids who were really well behaved - THANK YOU
Sunday 16th of October will see Run to Give in the Panjim, the capitol of Goa. Run to give is a charity run which will be happening for the first time in Goa and is hosted by the W hotel and Aloft. Starting at 6:30am for those who want to join in.
Our deepest thanks to the W, all their staff for organising this event and to Paper tiger films and Fabian for putting this short video together for us.
Today has been a busy day with Hester & Roni joining us this afternoon from Planet Hero. Roni, an expressive Brazilian with a larger than life personality and his wife, Hester, have been travelling the world for a year promoting film making.
They kindly offered to give a short beginners course to ease the children into the world of film making, first by understanding what types of film there are and then the different roles needed to create a film. Hester and Roni had prepared some worksheets which got the children to think and we then split the children into groups of who wanted to be actors, directors, camera men etc. Lots of the children wanted to be actors, although they suddenly became quiet and shy when it was their turn to act. To encourage them Rob went first and after a fair bit more encouragement one or two had a go followed by a steady stream of children also willing to give it a go. It was great fun and the children were really getting into their roles.
A few of the older children then made a brief plan for a story and after a few attempts started to get to grips with the idea and each take got a little better. Sadly the whole process was interrupted when the police came and asked if we had a permit to film... Robert tried to convince them that it was only the children learning how to make films and it wasn´t commercial. Perhaps the police were astounded by the talent, and thought the children must be professionals, well that´s what I like to think. So the filming was cut short (no pun intended).
Before the day had finished we managed to get some great shots of the kids and all the children had a great time.
Thanks to the kids, the parents that got involved and Hester & Roni who made a great experience for the kids