How we want to help…

Colin and I discovered Goa in October 2006 and, for me at least, it felt like coming home. We stayed near the small hamlet of Mandrem which is nearly as far north as you can go in Goa. After returning every six months since we decided that we would like to give something back to the community that has made us so welcome and given us so much. So the idea of ‘Helping Elsewhere’ was born. After consulting our friend Gina who lives and works in the area we heard that we would achieve most by supporting the school in Mandrem Village.

So in April 2008 when we set off for Goa for our spring break, we managed to pack all our belongings into one suitcase and in the other we packed a whole team’s worth of football strips donated by Horley Town junior football squad (as we figured football always seems to be an international language all on its own!) Together with pencils, pens, paper and lots of arts and crafts equipment. After a few days R&R, Gina and Juze arranged for us to visit the headmistress who proudly showed us around the school and the old church. We had arrived just at the end of term so unfortunately none of the children were around to distract us! We handed over our goodies and explained our ideas of trying to raise funds for the School.

Handing over the football strip

Our plan before visiting was to raise money for Oxford Reading Tree Books which Gina, as an ex teacher, assured us were used in the international schools in India. Literacy is the key thing for all the kids and their families as they see this as the main way of helping themselves and getting on in life. But after discussing our ideas with the headmistress, she was keener for our first donation to be a computer as it would start them on the first rung of the Government funding ladder. We decided there and then that the first £300 would be given whilst we were in Goa for the purchase of this computer and we handed over the donation to the parish Father a couple of days later so that it would be available at the start of the new academic year in June 2008.

We have set ourselves the task of raising £1000 before we return to Goa in November 08, which is when we are due to go back. The first £285 will buy the first sets of Oxford Reading Tree Phonics books. The next £600 will buy two more computers and the rest more arts and crafts materials.

My Motto has always been ‘Take only memories and leave only footprints’ but this has now changed. I would now like to leave small changes to peoples’ lives, just as they have influenced ours.

Footsteps on Mandrem Beach