Children need a place to play and develop as individuals - especially when the children are Indian orphans and the play is educational!
I have fundraised for the charity 'South Orissa Voluntary Action' in tribal Orissa, India for the past 12 years. Together, we have developed many projects and last year, when SOVA were asked to take over the management of an orphanage, they in turn asked me to help out.
When I visited the orphanage in Januuary 2015 I could see the children’s basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and education were being met. But it seemed that the previous management had been very strict and the children weren’t encouraged to play - I couldn’t see any toys at all! I returned a year later with 2 suitcases full of donated educational toys, and realised then that a 'playroom' and safe outside space to run around in would enhance the childrens lives.
SOVA constructed a new hostel for the children which was completed last year, but the area surrounding the hostel still needs a lot of work (it's currently red soil) to create a homely, nurturing environment for the children. I would like to build a 20' by 20' playroom, cement the area immediately outside the hostel, and build a small wall to enclose the orphanage. If I raise enough money, I will also add an extension of 12' by 20' which will be used as a hostel by our older students (from Goats and Hopes original school) who need access to colleges without 3 hours difficult travel each day! It would also be a benefit to the orphans to have older 'big sisters' living with as role models.
My background: 10 years ago I was first introduced to the wonderful work of SOVA, Koraput in Orissa - I photographed their projects to help them. Their dedication to the local displaced tribal people inspired me to fundraise in the UK in order to support new projects. A year later, I returned to India with £800.00 raised from a small charity event to begin the work of ‘Goats and Hopes’.
Since then we’ve financed goat farms which have flourished and transformed lives. We’ve illuminated villages with money-saving environmentally friendly solar lights. We’ve dug clean drinking water wells, invested in irrigation pumps and seeds to grow in the resulting fertile land. Our mosquito net initiative has hugely reduced the incidence of malaria in our villages with a big drop in the number of cases, and no further deaths.
We’ve financed the running of 2 schools. Over the years we’ve seen the children transform from illiterate, malnourished boys and girls, into strong, competent and confident adults. Some of our original students are continuing their studies with dreams of becoming teachers, doctors and engineers.
I would love to be able to support the orphange and make a difference in the lives of these unfortunate children, who find themselves in need of an alternative loving and nuturing home.