This year we have just been too busy so we are getting to the middle of January and Christmas presents are still being wrapped and given out, the first week of January we visited a local government school. Each child received two wrapped presents (one main gift and one reading book) as well as pencils, rubbers and crayons. Things have been a little delayed this year and we hope to give out even more the coming week.
In January we were contacted by 'The Blurb, Goa' who are a marketing company based in Porvorim, Goa. They have some high-end clients and shared their office with a guy who manages the promotional side of Mumbai City FC. The Blurb were helping to find a new home for the Mumbai City FC promotional material as it was no longer needed. We were very happy that they found us through Facebook, and got in touch to say they wanted to donate some football shirts.
During our first call we said we would be delighted and they said there were a few boxes shirts. Robert is quite adept at carrying large items on his bike and agreed to call and collect some; they replied 'you will need a car, you won't be able to carry them on a bike'. Robert has heard this many times before and was quite sure that he could manage as anyone who has seen him, will acknowledge, he can carry quite a lot. However, we were not quite aware of how many there would be!
Rhys, one of the Indian trustees offered to take his car and pick the shirts up and arrived with a very full car! There were hundreds of shirts in very large boxes.
The next day they said there were still a few more, and then some more and more… Wow!!! - By the end of January, we had received around 2,500 shirts and hundreds of caps, footballs and keyrings. In the end it took probably 10 trips; multiple trips using a van, car and also Rob's trusty bike. We were in our temporary accommodation at the time and our neighbours saw us bring more and more boxes into the house and then leave with suitcases and large bags… It must have seemed quite strange!
Many of the shirts were quite large and not really suitable for the children, so we looked for other NGO's in the area that we could 'spread the joy' to and we gave most of the large shirts to a local Addiction and Mental Health NGO in Tivim (over a hundred shirts). We then spoke to all the schools our children attend (Secondary Schools) and we started by giving around 130 shirts to the children in 10th Standard at Janata School in Mapusa. There are so many more shirts and a long way to go before we find homes for them all but we will….
There was a variety of shirts given including Polo shirts, t-shirts and football shirts. Here is a picture of a few of the children at Janata High School in Mapusa, where we gave out shirts to the whole of 10th Standard, about 65 students, who each received two shirts each, one t-shirt/football shirt and one Polo shirt.
We would like to thank, the headmaster, teachers and children for their help and of course Blurb and the promotion company for providing the shirts.
The New Year has been somewhat busy here at Goa Outreach. It all started with the big move, (which ended up being two moves!). We had been in the same building for 10 years so moving took quite a lot of effort and we realised there were many small items we could give out.
As we arranged the donations we had a purge and targeted all the small items that had been hidden away and added them to all the new toys that supporters had donated this year.
It was great to have a clear out and to-date over 1000 presents have been wrapped / stitched (we stitched over a hundred presents with some spare cloth we had found during the move :) - Waste not, want not).
Since the start of January, we have been giving out presents to local slum areas, schools and Balwadi's (nursery schools) in the area, spreading as much joy as we can.
Each year we try and give out as many presents as possible and although a little late, it has been a good year for bringing smiles to children´s faces. The presents aren't much to us, but to the children it can be amazing. The smiles of joy that are created from such small gifts are priceless. Each gift contains very simple things, but we do try to cram in as much as possible. On average there are over 20 small items in each gift, a small ball, stickers, whistle, balloons, toys, cuddly toys, sweets and lots more. Hidden inside their Christmas gift are the essential health requirements of soap, toothpaste and brush.
We have been using the Christmas gifts as a 'Recce' so that we can return with suitable clothes to give out to the children. It´s a great way to introduce ourselves to new areas and get a good idea of the needs of the families.
There are currently lots of road workers in the locality who set up temporary houses by the roadside. They are often found digging trenches at the side of the road and laying pipes or doing the manual road work of placing rocks and breaking them to create a base before the machines come and lay the new tarmac. They generally go from town to town living very basically for months on end with their children in tow. The current families have said they will be here a month before they move onto the next site.
Unfortunately, these children rarely get a chance of an education as the families go where the work is and the work is continually moving. We can only affect their lives a little but even a little happiness and care goes a long way.