Teachers Max Richmond and Trisha Halstead wanted to put their time off over Christmas to good use, helping others. They planned to fly out to India and lend a helping hand in an orphanage and associated school called Future Hope. This non-governmental organisation (NGO), set up thirty years ago, aims to provide shelter, education and support to some of the worst affected street children of Kolkata.
Max knew the school well as he had worked there between 2013 and 2015, and felt compelled to do more whenever he could. Despite fundraising at school, they needed just a final injection of cash to get them on their way. The family connection and goal of helping young disadvantaged children made this an easy decision to support. We then teamed up with loyal supporter Mahesh Singadia, who has a keen interest in supporting projects in India, due to his involvement with the UK India Charitable Trust Fund. Together we boosted the Future Hope Fund.
Max and Trish flew off days after their school in the UK broke up and vowed to keep the orphaned children engaged, happy and entertained over the Christmas break. They maximised their time with varied and fun activities which the children may not normally have the opportunity to do such as:
- A fun and interactive paper aeroplane design workshop which was followed by a flying competition!
- A painting workshop taught them how to make and paint paper butterflies
- A dance class enabled them to learn some French dances
- A trip to town on Christmas day for a look around
- A Magic Show held in a local bookshop
- A bike ride for two of the girls
Both teachers ate lunch and dinners with the children, helped them with homework and kept them company throughout the time of their stay. Not too many pictures were taken as the teachers felt it was a bit of an intrusion on the privacy of the children, who were after all simply having fun on their Christmas holidays.
Trisha said “It was obvious our fundraising would be put to good use. The NGO is at any given time barely six months from bankruptcy, after it has provided three meals a day, a roof over their heads and salaries for the fleet of very dedicated, under-paid but incredibly valued staff.”
Max said “What struck me most when first meeting these children is how much they fully appreciated any effort to amuse, educate or entertain them. They were delighted to make paper planes and then compete like Formula One racing drivers; to learn a French dance and then perform it like Strictly; to make symmetrical pictures and see them as the butterflies in the field of ochre flowers where we picnicked on the last day. It was a pleasure to give hope to these delightful and creative children.”
It is so nice to be able to be part of a project focused simply on giving these children a better chance at a life we all feel should be available to every child no matter where they live or their personal circumstances. It is also beautiful to see how children of the same age in the UK were keen to help their friends across the globe to make some happy memories this Christmas.
Thanks must go to Max and Trisha for giving their time and skills for free and to Ethan and his school friends for the time they spent helping make this happen. We can only do more projects like this with your continued support, so please share our work and introduce us to new contacts who might want to help us make lives better.
Students from Shiplake C of E Primary School, raising funds is that their friends in Kolkata could have a special Christmas to remember.
Students in Kolkata enjoying making happy memories thanks to their friends from Shilplake, UK India Charitable Trust and LMF.