Charity Newsletter June 2012
WelcomeDuring the month of May Educators' Trust India usually winds down a little as the month is allocated to our summer vacation, giving the staff and children a well-earned rest, or at least that was the plan, as things turned out the children seemed to have a different idea and were keen to continue using our facilities. So it was decided as we were lucky enough to have a group of experienced volunteers present we would continue to allow the children to attend Leading Light. They have been playing various games and enjoying different craft activities. So, as the children and volunteers with the support of Aparna and Neeta have continued to enjoy their time at Educators' Trust, the rest of the staff have been allowed to recharge their batteries a bit for when the new school year starts in June.
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Night Feeding ProjectOur night feeding programme continued through to the end of April, and with the number of these children steadily increasing their attendance in our schools the project has become a massive success. Whenever possible we try to involve volunteers with the night feed programme as it is a side of our work many of them don't see - mainly due to the timing of the visits. One volunteer wrote about her experience – I have picked out a few choice quotes or you can read her full account on our website.
With the families moving back to their homes in various villages as the monsoon arrives and the holiday season comes to an end so do our weekly visits to these families living on the streets. But they will be back later in the year, usually sometime in October and we will be waiting to greet them and will once again be supporting their nutritional needs and continuing with the children's education.
"The families live on the streets and do not even have the basic protection of a tent to shield them from the cold at night. So at night they move to sleep by shops or on the pavements by the shops in order to have some protection from the cold and the early morning fog that settles around all with a thick blanket of cold. Therefore they could not move to this area until the shops close. Oh what we all take for granted."
"We drove to the area where they sleep at night which is just in the Calangute area and though I had seen these children at both weekends and during the week; nothing prepares you for the sadness of seeing the children and their families sleeping on the pavement with if they were lucky a blanket over them. Three or four families or sometimes more huddle up together for warmth. "
Silcoates and Liahona LightA contingent of twenty two very enthusiastic pupils and some of their teachers came over from the UK based Silcoates School for two weeks in April, and what a difference they have made working on the Liahona Light project. Working alongside the Indian craftsmen the pupils spent twelve gruelling days working at Liahona Light – clearing cleaning, sweeping, rubbing down, lying down (mostly for the purposes of work but occasionally through sheer exhaustion), preparing, painting, smiling, grimacing, kneeling (and how those poor knees suffered), hammering, demolishing, carrying, and generally getting dirty. The end result was incredible and Liahona Light has been transformed.
The Pupils also enjoyed visiting our schools and the children of Educators Trust India and Silcoates were able to interact and get to know each other. We also took this opportunity to allow the UK pupils to run some informal teaching sessions guided by the teaching staff from both Educators' Trust India and Silcoates, although (and quite understandably) they were a bit nervous at first, the students soon found their feet as each of them made an incredible impact on the children of Educators' Trust India at the same time gaining confidence in their own ability to teach.
Visiting one of the slums where some of the children who attend our schools live allowed students to better understand the need for the project and the work of Educators' Trust in general. The students took great advantage of the visit playing with the children and gaining a real insight into the conditions that the people living in the slums have to endure on a daily basis.
On Wednesdays, the Trust has a stall at Anjuna Market and attending the market is one of the ways funds and awareness of our work is raised. The Silcoates pupils worked tirelessly helping on our stall, only taking the occasional break to fit in some shopping, which anyone who has visited the market will tell you is very hard to resist.
When the time came for the students return to the UK there was still some work to be done to complete the project, nevertheless, we couldn't let the Silcoates group leave without celebrating their hard work, so it was on 12 April at 2pm that a large coach arrived at Liahona Light full of children, staff and volunteers of Educators' Trust India. The children descended and presented the waiting Silcoates pupils with garlands they had made earlier that morning. And then began one of the most wonderful of parties; with all ages and nationalities enjoying and sharing snacks on the terrace. It was not long before the singing and dancing began with many little boys running and skidding across the floor as they so often do at parties all over the world. It really was a wonderful sight to behold. It wasn't long before everyone was hungry again so out came some of the most mouth-watering Indian food consisting of biryani, green pea curry and desert of Kheer (Indian rice pudding). Despite there still being work to be done it was decided to officially open the building whilst everyone from Silcoates was there to celebrate with us, so the ribbon at the entrance to the veranda was cut by Sue Mistry and the children of Educators Trust India entertained everyone with dances which had been choreographed by Alyssia one of the pupils from Silcoates and our own teacher Neeta. Well, by now there was scarcely a dry eye and by the time Laura and Sam two pupils from Silcoates had spoken, sharing with everyone the thoughts and feelings of their fellow pupils and how the whole experience had changed them and thanking everyone involved in the project the tears were flowing freely.
There is one quote from Silcoates pupil George which I think sums up the whole trip "Lifechanginglyamazing"
And a quote from our teacher Neeta, "this team has done a great job, the children still remember them and are waiting for them to return soon."
We look forward to working with the pupils and staff of Silcoates School over the years to come, and thank them for all their support, both through their practical work here in Goa and for their fundraising efforts in the UK, which amounts to £15,800
Since Silcoates school left Goa work on Liahona light has continued apace with twelve hour days being the norm, many of the workmen and labourers staying at the project overnight. All the outside painting has been completed prior to the start of monsoon. The white and orange silk colours complimenting the new terracotta roof very well. All the remaining rooms, are now plastered, and prepared ready for the final coat of paint. There is an acute shortage of municipal water on Charoa Island, so the 20m well had to be cleaned out by professional well cleaners and made safe. The well has now started to fill, all be it slowly, as the underground water table is very low – but the water level will rise faster with the start of the monsoon.
Once the well is full an underwater pump will be fitted. June will see the commencement of the work on the outside platform to hold the house water tanks thereby improving the internal water pressure. All the joinery and glazing work has now been completed, with doors and windows repaired or replaced where necessary. By the end of May the first 4 solid pine beds were made, which was very exciting and it is now clear to see the end of the project rapidly approaching. It is envisaged that all the necessary renovation work will be completed by the end of June leaving just finishing touches and furnishing to do prior to the Trust applying for the license and registration.
I would like to take this opportunity to say a great big heartfelt thank you from everyone at Educators' Trust India to Dr Dhuri Mistry and his wife Sue for all their hard work and dedication, without which Liahona Light would still be nothing but a vision for the future.
Water Park fun in AprilWe had already made our minds up to take the children who missed out the January trip to the water park some time before the monsoons started. The date was set for 23 April and the arrangements were made. It was an exciting day for the children as we also decided to include children from a local village who started their education with us but now attend a school within their village, as a special treat and to complete the party we also included children from our schools who have shown excellent personal achievement and good attendance. We set off from Leading Light School with six volunteers and six members of staff reaching the water park by 11.30.
After some careful instructions and a shower the excited children all ran into the pools and started climbing the steps to use the slides. For many of the children it was their first experience of the water park and it took them a little while to get used to it but with the encouragement of staff and volunteers and just watching how much fun the other children were having it was not long before everyone was enjoying the slides and water fountains. Some of the older children took advantage of being in the big pool and have started to learn how to swim. After a good few hours of fun in the water it was time to enjoy a lunch of Pulao (fragrant rice) and bean curry which Prashanti our cook had prepared earlier and we had brought with us. All washed down with a soft drink. After all that food a short break was called for before everyone re-entered the pool and the fun started once again. By 4:30 it was time to get out of the pool and despite being exhausted the children were reluctant to leave, but sadly it was time to go after what had been a long and enjoyable day. All the children had behaved wonderfully and we are looking forward to the next visit once the monsoon is over
We Call them The LeadersThese two very exceptional boys defiantly stand out and have fondly become known as the Leaders
SandeepOriginally a rag picker earning between 300 and 400 INR per day looking for empty plastic bottles that he would then sell on to make a few rupees to support his family. Sandeep had previously had a brief taste of school when he attended a state school for a short time having lessons in his mother tongue of Marathi. This was not long lasting though as he was needed to earn money to help support his family and his parents could not afford to pay for the uniform and books for him to continue attending school. After leaving school Sandeep started to work in small hotels earning small amounts of money by washing dishes and cleaning fish. As time passed he heard about Educators Trust India and Leading Light school. After studying at Leading Light for two years Sandeep now attends Don Bosco School, a local Government School here in Calungute where he has just completed his first year, he now proudly informs everyone how he has been promoted to class seven after just one year. During Silcoates visit in April Sandeep was an absolute star, we were so proud of him as he did an excellent job translating for Sandra the Silcoates teacher, whilst Neeta our teacher was busy with the children and other classroom duties.
SantoshWe first made contact with Santosh and his family when they lived in one of the slums we attend. It was obvious from first meeting him that there was something very special about Santosh. He was keen to learn and was quick to pick up new concepts. He soon started attending Leading Light where he and Sandeep first met and the boys became firm friends. After just eighteen months at Leading Light Santosh started at Don Bosco and has now also finished his first year and is doing well.
Like all the other children who started with Educators' Trust India and are now attending Don Bosco, Sandeep and Santosh still receive support from us and after going to the local school in the morning they both come to Leading Light for their Lunch and to study during the afternoon. They have become known as the Leaders as they are always encouraging other children to study and attend our schools. The other children constantly look up to these two very mature and trustworthy boys who often act as spokes people for them informing us of any problems the children have.
Clare RaybouldClare has been one of our regular supporters for some time now and wanted to do something special with the children when she visited in April this year. Clare is a music teacher in the UK and she knew she wanted to do something in this line but was not sure exactly how until she arrived and started interacting with the children. Read on to hear Clare's account of her visit :
"I had a truly memorable time with the children of New Light and Leading Light. I am a Suzuki violin teacher so was told by everyone at Educators' Trust that since I was a 'music teacher' I should teach the children music. Initially I felt a little apprehensive about this - I teach the violin, I don't have the fantastic repertoire of songs and games that a classroom music teacher would and, I wondered, what could I teach them that would be 'of use' to them in the long-term? But then I remembered that Shinichi Suzuki's violin teaching was a response to the needs of a very poor, war-torn Japan. He believed that everyone was born with ability and that whether or not this ability developed was largely dependent on the environment the child grew up in. His philosophy was that learning music should teach the child about their potential as a human being, it should let them see their ability to learn through the discipline of learning an instrument, teach them to focus better and raise their self-esteem. So I took his philosophy and, with the drum, tambourine and bells at Leading Light, had great fun teaching the children to read, write and play rhythms.
We started with some listening and movement games. A teaching method called Dalcroze teaches children to connect with music through movement and they can learn about all elements of music including pitch, rhythm, tempo and dynamics in this way. Using ideas I had picked up from Dalcroze teachers we moved around the classrooms and playground to 'walk', 'jogging' and 'running faster'. 'Running faster' was, inevitably, most of the children's favourite and I was often greeted by children calling out 'running faster, running faster!' when I arrived at school!
Over the 4 weeks that I was there the children learnt to identify these rhythms as musical symbols (1 crotchet, 2 quavers and 4 semiquavers), figure out which combination of words matched their names, and finally 'compose' and perform their own combination of rhythms.
One morning during the children's break-time I was preparing slips of paper for the children to do their compositions and was joined by Bhartiya and Ramjan asking for pens and paper. The two of them sat with me and spontaneously wrote their own rhythms. I was thrilled and touched by just how much they had taken in and by their enthusiasm for what we had been doing.
The children at Educators' Trust want to learn and experience everything they are offered. Seeing the huge smile of many children as the tambourine or bells came around the circle and reached them was wonderful - the expression on their faces was a "Wow! I really get to play this??". One day some of the children watched a short video on my iPhone of 800 Suzuki children playing their violins at the Royal Festival Hall. The response from Sarfudin was "You teacher? You teacher? You bring? You bring?" I asked him "You want me to bring a violin?" "Yes, yes, yes, you bring..." So my hope now is that I can return soon with some pitched instruments and continue this experience. Maybe even with some violins!"
Painting Inspiring LightAs many of you will know we opened our third school Inspiring Light in November last year, because the need to have a school for the children living in this area of Goa to attend was so great we made the decision to open despite the poor condition of the building. One supporter heard of the plight and made a donation to cover the cost of painting the inside of the building, with the paint bought and some of the older children on board we set to, to transforming the building and what a result it was. The children had great fun getting involved with the painting and were so proud of their work. The children who attend Inspiring Light can now enjoy coming to a bright and cheerful classroom which makes learning so much more fun.
Facebook appealRishu from Switzerland visited Inspiring Light in March after hearing about the work we do from her friend who was volunteering with us at the time. She immediately fell in love with the children but what really touched her heart was how the children radiated joy and enthusiasm. It was also obvious to Rishu how important it was that we supplied the children with a good healthy diet. Deciding to do something to help, that very same day after returning from the school she went on Facebook and asked her friends to save just 1 Swiss franc (approximately 50 INR) per day till the end of May. This would pay for one Banana and another fruit for the children's breakfast. Within just a few days she collected enough money for 2 fruits per day for the children for one whole year! And the children are now enjoying bananas, papayas, grapes, and even strawberries. This just goes to show how easy it is to get people involved and also how a small amount of money can go a long way to helping the children, who would like to say a big thank you to Rishu and her Facebook friends.
Fund RaisingWe have had some great support already this year. Below are a few we'd like to mention. If you have helped us recently and would like a mention in the newsletter then please let us know and we would be happy to include you.
Thank You For The FilmEarlier this year Janusz & Julia from Poland visited Educators' Trust India and spent a couple of weeks with us visiting and learning about our different projects. Janusz had his video camera with him and took many hours of footage, the end result being the film many of you will already have seen and enjoyed. Filming turned out to be a bigger challenge than expected as the children were intrigued to see what he was up to and were extremely interested in the camera, constantly wanting to see themselves on playback. The end result is a fascinating insight into our projects and a useful tool for raising awareness of the work we do. Janusz says
"Working with such idealists was a very important experience for me and my girlfriend. We had a great time, somewhere beyond hard work and holiday at once that made our stay in Goa very meaningful. I keep in my mind the idea of going back there and do something more (not necessarily moviemaking) and I recommend it to everybody."
Sophie's ChallangeAt just fourteen Sophie is an inspiration to us all, having given herself a target of £1000 which she intends to raise before she hopefully returns to Goa later this year, Sophie now spends her weekends and evenings getting involved with various activities raising funds and awareness for us. Her first challenge was her 50 mile sponsored walk to Whitby from her home in North Yorkshire. She decided though that this was not far enough and now has increased it to 100 miles.
The walk, thankfully, will be done in stages but when you consider she has to fit this in between car boots where Sophie is selling what sounds like most of the contents from her own bedroom, as well as many items donated by friends and family, and the household jobs, baby sitting and baking she is doing for her neighbours and friends, with the fact that she needs to organise her Mum and Grandad who accompany her on her walks, then the walk suddenly becomes more of a challenge.
Sue one of the UK Trustees and her husband Ian went to visit Sophie and her Mum earlier this month and were impressed by her unassuming dedication and the want to help those less fortunate than herself. It was impossible to leave without popping their loose change into the collection pot Sophie had made, which stands prominently by the kitchen door waiting for visitors to notice as they leave the house.
Good luck Sophie with your challenge, keep up the good work. Updates on how Sophie is getting on and what she is up to can be found on Facebook, causes and our Website.
The Old TramshedThe Old Tramshed in Saltaire continues to do an amazing job raising both funds and awareness, their monthly contributions from their menu have already reached a staggering £531.50 and the owner Mark took the beloved Jaguar Bertha with our logo proudly on her bonnet to France to take part in the Barcelona Banger Rally which left Paris on 1st June. Some of the UK volunteers and trustees enjoyed the launch of the fundraising at the Old Tramshed on May 20th where the highlight was meeting Bertha and having their photo taken with her. Many, many thanks to everyone at The Old Tramshed for their hospitality and continuing support. << The Old Tramshed >>
Nicks PlaceA special thank you to everyone at Nicks Place in Goa who supported us throughout the season with their monthly quiz nights. This season they raised in excess of £1,800. We look forward to working with Nicks Bar next season and hope many of you will be in Goa to join in the fun and games.
Racing for Educators' Trust IndiaMany of you will have enjoyed the exceptional weather we have been experiencing during May. Not so ideal for a group from Sheffield who decided to take part in the Sheffield Half Marathon and fun run which took place on Sunday 27 May, organised by Mum Sam they were hoping to raise money through sponsorship. What they did not expect were temperatures exceeding 23 degrees Celsius, which put many contestants off from running altogether with others failing to finish the course, I am pleased to report everyone running on behalf of Educators' Trust India all completed without incident. Well done to you all.
We are still waiting to find out just how much was raised and once we hear we will be sure to let you know so keep an eye on Facebook for up-dates. Sam also got her children's school, St Patricks Catholic Primary involved which held a non-uniform day, which raised £180 on the Friday before the run. The children also enjoyed a talk and power point presentation from Ian and Norman two representatives from Friends of Educators Trust India when they visited on the Thursday. The children were given an insight into the work we do and how we help children who attend our schools and an idea of the poor living conditions of the children whom we help.
I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the three participants of the half marathon - Sam Maidment, Ian Hodgson and Michelle Hadley and also the children and adults who took part in fun run - Clare Humphries, Will Davies, Sarah Davies, Eden Fisher age 10, Reuben Fisher age 8, Constance Fisher age 6, Daniel Davies age 8, William Davies age 5, Conor Hadley aged 8, Ryan Hadley age 11, Mackenzie Swearing age 5, Marcus Swearing age 11 and Thomas Hodgson age 3.
The previous weekend also saw one of our volunteers from last year taking part in 10k Great Manchester Run with a total of £215.00 raised so far. We would like to say a big thank you to Louise and her two friends.
It is important to remember you don't have to be able to run to help raise funds, take Helen who set up a just giving page and asked for donations rather than gifts and cards for her birthday. In May we kept an eye on her Just Giving page checking to see how she is getting on and before we knew it her target of £200 was reached and now stands at £246
And as the enthusiasm for having fun and raising funds keeps on growing we look forward to your varied and wonderful ideas. Like Becky from Peterborough who got together a group of her friends and arranged for an evening of collections in Peterborough Town centre, many thanks to all the unsuspecting punters in Peterborough who kindly helped to fill the buckets and raise an amazing £320.29.
More stories pleaseThe above are just a few examples of how people have helped us recently. We are only too aware that there are many more of you who have been involved with fund raising, donated money, clothes or other items to help us with the work we do, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank every one of you. If you have an interesting story of how you or a friend have helped please contact the UK office and we would be happy to mention it in our next newsletter.
WebsiteThe website has had a few improvements recently, the volunteering section has had new application forms added and the project pages have been improved, Please do take a moment to look round the website. We are always happy to receive comments. For more details about the main changes, please see below << Charity Website >>
Photo Gallery<<Thomas Cook Photos>>
We have also started creating a 'needs list' for the new home. <<Silcoates School and Liahona Light>>
VolunteeringOur volunteeing section has seen a great deal of Activity over the last 6 months, so much so that we are down to our last few places for the coming year. If you would like to volunteer and haven't applied yet, please do check out our volunteer calendar to see if you can find a suitable slot. Please be aware that ALL volunteers require a clear police check. << Volunteer Calendar >>
Join our facebook cause'Causes' is the world's largest platform for activism and philanthropy and Educators' Trust has now created their own cause. The 'cause' allows Educators Trust to post news, pictures and information which is easily shared with all the members of the cause. It is also a great way to keep in touch with fellow supporters. We currently have around 150 members and we hope we can double this in the next month, but we can only do that with your help! So please take a moment and 'join' our worthwhile cause.
Click the Facebook 'Like' buttonFacebook is set for world domination and like many of you, we here at Educators Trust love it. If you are already 'hooked' on facebook and enjoy our website then why not click the 'Like' button to share your interest with your friends. It is a great and simple way to help us by providing a bigger audience to our website.
The Like button can be found in the top left hand corner of each webpage just below our main logo.
How To Support Us
EasyFundraisingEasy Fundraising continues to raise us FREE funds. We receive a cheque from the Easy Fundraising people every quarter. Our last quarterly payment was for £38.46 and with over £39.00 raised already, this next quarter ending in June is going to be even more successful, so come on you internet shoppers keep up the good work and let's see if we can reach £50.00 for this quarter. To register and help raise funds for us please visit http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/
Just GivingJust Giving http://www.justgiving.com/educatorstrustindia/ is a safe and secure way to donate and you know your money will go to help the children of Educators' Trust India. Take a look at pages other supporters have set up and see what they have been doing. If you have any ideas of your own, a just giving page is often the best way for people to donate. You can always contact our UK office for guidance and support and we love to hear what you are all up to.
As I am writing this I am aware that many of you will have donated money and helped with the projects whilst you have been in Goa. And to you and all our dedicated volunteers I would like to say thank you. If anyone has a story they would like to share then please let the UK office know as we love to hear from you and about your experiences.
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