Sun 22 Jan 2012
Raising funds for, and giving management help to, the Outreach project which is being set up by Sujata, Elaine and the rest of the team at Bookworm is our newest goal.
As we left Goa in November 2011 we set ourselves the goal of raising £1000 in new funds before our return in January 2012. Ambitious? 60 days seemed an impossible timeframe at times!
We still had a stock of things brought back from Goa on past trips. And remember our Canadian friend, Maureen Decelles who had helped us so generously with gifts for the Bollywood Ball? Well she came up trumps again with a spectacular box of pearl jewellery to sell landing on our doormat! Superb generosity – thank you Maureen!
Now we had our stock, just before Christmas our friends and supporters attended our version of Tupperware parties in droves… and we did it! Not only that but we had enough to pay for the photocopier for the school at Mandrem! We know how tough times are in the UK at the moment for so many people, so we are just so grateful to everybody who helped.
Now we are back in Goa, and on Saturday 14th January I went out with, and then had a meal with, the next generation of Bookworm foot-soldiers that have taken it on themselves to set up and run, within Bookworm, an Outreach program that aims to take literacy out to the disadvantaged kids of Panjim. Although most children learn to read in whatever language at school, decent reading materials are very scarce for a large segment of Goan society. Did you know that a recent survey showed that the most common reading material for children in a Government Primary School was the old newspaper the local shop used to wrap the shopping in?
The young graduates of Bookworm, headed by our new friend Niju, have hit on the idea of taking the Bookworm Van out in the evenings when it isn’t being used with a range of books and educational materials. Suitable sites have been identified and everybody was keen to see it work.
From what I saw and heard, this project looks certain to develop into something special. The migrant workers’ kids I saw were keen and other educators I spoke to afterwards are very supportive and respectful of their vision.