Jewels in the Crown…

Posted by Helen 
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Over the last two weeks since our return we have held three jewellery sales to raise funds, have fun and let some guests do their Christmas shopping. I would like to say a big thank you to my good friend Sarah Jane for the use of her house and thanks too to her long suffering husband Steve.

Also my sister in law Elaine and husband Ray for their continued support, with a special mention to our niece Hannah who made and sold Christmas cards and donated 10% of her proceeds to us too. Last but not least my friend Lindsay who let me take over her shop to display our wares. If anyone would still like to see our jewellery and missed the sales, a small number of items are on display at LK Lily at 23 Beehive Lane, Ilford, or you can let me know directly what you are interested in.

Over the course of the three sales we raised approx £600 for ‘Helping Elsewhere’ – this alone will ensure the twenty children we supported last year to attend school will be able to continue to attend for a second year.

Looking into the new year we are hoping to set up an online shop where our exclusive lines can be seen and purchased via this website. We are also looking to hold a fashion show in the spring with some beautiful Indian cottons and silks at really great prices. And we are thinking of holding an art exhibition so watch this space for some interesting events coming up.

Finally on a personal note, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has given support to us over the past year. I had no idea when we started this project where it would go – it has been an amazingly rewarding journey and I know all our friends in Mandrem would like to join us in wishing everyone a ‘Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year’!


Back to Blighty…

Posted by Helen 
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Well we have been back a week, and what a week it has been. Apart from freezing temperatures and a re-assessment of the life work balance, I have had emails from people we have met in Goa who want to help and we seem to be collecting new supporters as we go.

I have been asked by many people, ‘What Now?’ so I have created a second wish list with our goals for the next year. We are obviously looking to continue to pay for the 20 poorer children in the village to attend school, but now we would also like to top up the salaries of the teachers. Currently, they work for little more than expenses which understandably means the teachers must quickly move on to better paid posts as they become available (sort of like doing gap years so to speak). We would like to raise the salaries our school can pay in order to keep the young, excellent and keen teachers we met and provide a bit of much needed stability. Our goal is also to provide enough teachers to allow the kids to stay on past the age of 14 – currently to continue their education they have to travel much further afield to other schools.

Also having put work into supporting the sports side of the school, we are now looking at the arts and so would like to provide some music teaching. The education department has already agreed to give money to provide one teacher and instruments but the school has been forced to chose whether to teach Indian or Western music but the children (and their parents) obviously would like both. So we would like to add to the budget to allow this to happen. And, of course, adding to ‘Alice’s Library’ is always a good goal.

All in all, this means our target is to raise £3500 over the next year. That’s what I call a challenge!

We are now in regular contact directly with the IT teacher and Dustin has emailed over to us some pictures that were taken on the digital camera that we were able to buy for them, that show more of us at the football tournament.

‘Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking’ I ended up giving a speech!

And finally actually awarding the ‘Horley Town’ Trophy.

Anyway, if any of our trusty supporters have any good fund raising ideas that I (or you!) can put into practice I would love to hear from you – as I really hope that we can achieve our second years target. (more…)