Friday, 27 August 2010

The Kindness and Generosity of Folks

As most of the sponsors and donors will know, that I have been in this country far too long- all 42 years of it! Imagine the untold shock waves I experienced when I became an OAP recently. However,I have never lost touch with some of the school friends ( from the early 60s ) whenever I went back to Malaysia to visit my family.

During my recent visit, I met up with 2 of them. We are all of a similar vintage. We started to talk about the various way we choose to spend our leisure time . Of course I shared with them my pet subject- Helping the children in Nepal to have better life chances. One of them asked about details of the fund raising activities I have done.I could tell she was suitably impressed, but thought no more about it .When I met her again on a different occasion, she said she was interested to help.Well, the rest is history .

She has sent me an amount which equates to sponsoring 4 plus children. However, she does not want to sponsor a specific child. She wants me to use my discretion to spend the money on the children for whatever needs they may have. It is very humbling to be entrusted with so much money(by one person). I have always put great faith in human nature, but this grand gesture surpassed even my wildest expectations. Sponsors, you can log on the Nat West account and see for yourself the donations that have come in. Or please wait for my year end account when I return from Kathmandu

I have sponsors who are also sending me donations towards purchasing things for the children. One of John's cousins saved £200 from her housekeeping since last autumn. Again I was gob smacked. My dentist, a young Australian girl, gave me £30 when I had my last appointment with her . In addition, all the new sponsors, (whom I have brow beaten into submission, ha ha only joking ) have come on board with very positive vibes. Thank you everyone. You have made me so humbled. I am indeed very privileged to be able to take the help and support to the children on your behalf.

John and I are thinking hard on how the children can benefit from this unexpectedly large donation with no strings attached. A second computer for Uma's children is a must.A table for studying for each of the new children will be essential.With daily power cuts lasting between 3 to 6 hours, a solar light/torch/lamp will be crucial for these children to continue to study in the evenings.Its no good buying battery operated ones, because there will not be the money to renew them. Furthermore, Kathmandu is very sunny and warm even in winter. It sits in a valley -maybe at 2,000metres above sea level . Its the evenings when the temperature tends to drop quite drastically. So, solar operated lamp/light/torch will be ideal. John and I will try the big camping shop in Croydon to see if they stock them.

Donors and sponsors, if you happen to read this and have ideas on what will benefit the children, please email me before or after my trip next friday. Obviously there are things which will be better purchased here and vice versa

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Pressies for the children

These are just some of the stuff I have purchased for the children.With more donations coming in, I have decided to buy more of the pencil sets (displayed at the front ) , for both boys and girls, thinking ahead about the new children whom we hope to sponsor in the coming weeks.
However, I do think that it is totally inappropriate to take photos of the various types of biscuits, chocolates , jelly babies and dolly mixtures etc which are safely tucked away in the suitcase. So one just has to imagine.... Yum yum........

On a serious note, I have received donations amount to £290 (cash) and £70 (cheques ) so far with promise of more to come. A very big ' Thank you' to you all, my warm and generous friends and relatives, from the bottom of my heart. I have spent £157 ( with full receipts ) to date. I am not going near any stationary shops any longer, for fear of buying more stuff. I keep telling myself ' Enough is enough '. The money will be better spent once Uma and I have met up with the children and their families in Kathmandu.
Uma and I have been thinking and talking about how we are going to support these new children. They range from 4 years to 12 years of age. The main difference between these new children and Uma's is that they are all living at home with either a father or mother, some with both who are not working.

Originally they come from different parts of Nepal, majority are from improvished and remote mountain villages.They are now all residing in Kathmandu, in order to have the opportunities of a formal education.They all attend state schools, unlike Uma's lot.Therefore I would guess that they do not speak any English . What we plan to do is to visit them individually in their homes, and make an assessment of the must haves. For example, we would like to see a table of sorts in the home so that they are able to study and do their home work with ease. This is set against the background of the Nepali people sitting and eating on the floor as part of their normal living.
The other thing Uma and I have discussed is the feasibility of starting a basic English class for these children.Uma will explore with the current English teacher whether she , or some one she knows can undertake to teach basic English to these kids . Uma can use her orphanage as the place for these new children to learn, say twice a week. Uma is very keen on the idea. What we need to do now is to include this as part of our discussion with the families when we meet them. I have every confidence that they will be in favour when they realise the potential of what it could mean for their children's future, and their career prospects.

So far, I have secured 7 sponsors. And I am literally scrapping the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. Believe it or not, I am running out of people to ask. I accept that I might not be able to achieve even 10 new sponsors. However, there may be ways we can help most of the children if we were to pool and share out the new sponsorship money. I just have to wait and see, fingers crossed. With Uma's help, we just might do it...........

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Nepal Calling , again !

Well, its that time of the year again. I could almost hear ' Lai See didi, Lai See didi, can you do skipping rope? Lai See didi Lai See didi,thank you for the goodies' in my consciousness somewhere. It is so faint that I know its coming from a faraway land in the Himalayan mountains. I must admit I do find it hard to resist the call to visit the place. It tugs at the heart strings to want to see how tall the children have grown, and how far they have come in terms of their emotional and mental development.

Having had a pretty traumatic year at a personal level, it certainly is therapeutic to be able to cast one's focus elsewhere for a change, to be less self indulgent and inward looking! The moment the flight to Kathmandu was confirmed, I was out and about trying to source things from different places. Uma is always ready to have a long chat on Skype. We discussed at great lengths the unmet needs out there. However, we both accepted that we cannot help everyone. She would do some investigation from the local state schools to see if there are children we could help. Back came a list of children a few days later- all 13 of them. She has met them with their families, and have taken photographs of them all.I was emailed with the background information and the photos. We have started to shortlist them in the order of priority depending on how may sponsors I am able to secure at this end. I have 4 possibly 5 so far. Talk about thick skinned.........and not letting rejections put me off

In the meantime, I have been quite sucessful in receiving donations from friends and relatives who are interested to continue to support my effort for the coming trip. I have donations of over £300 so far. I have bought jigsaw puzzles, Disney cartoon CD like Polar Express and Anastasia as well as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The charity shops in Beckenham certainly do well for these things. I have also purchased quite a bit of stationary stuff for Uma's children , as well as stock for the new children I am going to meet when I am out there. Matalan proved to be another good place to find bat and ball sets and skipping ropes and the like .And then its the usual M&S 's talcum powder, and the tiny pots of moisturisers from Astral for Uma's lot. They went down so well last year that Uma asked if I could do the same again this year, at their request. To date, I have spent £132 so far, with the receipts in full

For one who views food as an important aspect of any social interaction, its only natural that a fair amount of packects of fun sized nibbles and chocolates for the kids were purchased in good time.Uma loves dark chocolate. I have also bought some goodies from Malaysia. I am very happy to say that they are all safely packed away in the suitcase now. I must admit I do feel like mother Xmas, not that they believe in Xmas. They are Hindus after all .

Well, it certainlly feels good to start blogging again after almost a year. How time flies! And how life's event sometimes changes one's perspective on things . I am just thankful that I am still here to do all that I want to do.

Till the next time, thank you for showing the interests and continued support