A History of Projects Supported by The Children's Health and Education Fund Australia
Ongoing project support to The Lotus Children’s Centre, Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia
Assisted Project 2016
The focus of the 2017 Children's Health and Education fund sponsorship is to provide financial support for the continued education of four students in India. For a fuller account of the 2016 initiatives please see the home page.
2016 PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES
The focus this year of The Children's Health and Education fund is to provide financial support for the continued education of four students in India.
Sanjay is from a poor Jhakhand state in India and has proved to be a very determined and resilient young man. He suffers a permanent disability as a result of a post operative infection after foot surgery. While he was recovering for a time in a NGO children's village, he became a very enthusiastic student and athlete and since then has competed in a number of interstate Paralympic meets in various sports. Having passed year 12 at a local college, Sanjay now studies engineering at S Sukhjinder Singh Engineering and Technology College in the Punjab. Although he receives funding support for his education from the State, this does not cover his board and lodging. The Children's Health and Education Fund is covering these expenses, which makes it possible for Sanjay to continue his education.
Vimal Kirti "Krishna" Giri's parents live in Orissa state and run a small medical clinic in a rural community. Both are qualified acupunturists and his mother is an experienced midwife. His father is also a qualified ayurvedic practitioner, orthopaedic technician and school teacher who divides his time between the clinic and teaching in the local school. The Children's Health and Education Fund has provided the financial support for Krishna to go to an English-medium school since his primary years. This year, however, Krishna is doing year 11, and needs to attend a school in the city to receive this higher education. CHEF will provide the funds for his schooling and board. With this continued assistance of their son's education, Krishna's parents have been able to stay in their rural community providing much needed medical and teaching services in the community.
Marina Gupta's mother is a physiotherapist in a clinic run by a rural NGO. Her father works for another rural NGO. She has two siblings, one of whom is profoundly deaf and attends a school for the deaf away from home. Marina is about to start Year 10 and CHEF has been providing a full acedemic and boarding scholarship for her to study in a small English-medium school for the past 5 years, leaving her parents free to pursue their constructive work for the local community.
Sunita Kumari and her sister were orphaned while young and grew up at the children's village of a local NGO in interior Jharkhand state.
Having completed Year 12 and then a basic nursing-midwifery degree, she is now finishing her 1st year BSc and is applying for a number of Nursing Colleges to transfer to BSc Nursing in her second year.
CHEF supplies a study scholarship that takes care of all her application and admission fees and day-to-day nutritional needs.
Assisted Project 2014 and 2015
Teacher's Training for Indian Rural School
The aim of the 2014 and 2015 sponsorship was to give a selected teacher from an interior rural school in India, the opportunity to spend a month in an Australian school to observe and film teaching methodologies.
From India, Parameswar Giri came from the Tinitia Upgraded Upper Primary School in Karanjia, Mayurbhanj District from the state Orissa. Parameswar holds an MA and BEd, and is also a fully qualified acupuncture doctor, having completed the full six-year Chinese course, a qualified ayurvedic doctor from India and a trained orthopaedic technician from Germany. He and his wife who is also a qualified acupunture doctor and midwife, run a low-cost clinic for the local village people in their area.
Parameswar joined a group of four teachers from the Sunshine School in Vientiane, Laos at the River School in Maleny, Queensland. The Children's Health and Education Fund supplied him with a camera to record the classrooms and teaching practices and a digital projector to show the videos he filmed to other teachers and the stocks of educational documentaries and other materials to the children.
Since returning to India, Parameswar has been give training to teachers in his school and the district.
Assisted Projects 2013
The Lotus Children's Centre Repairs and Construction
In 2013, CHEF sponsored a trained tradesman, James Barkway Jones, from Berry, NSW, to visit the Lotus Children's Centre in Mongolia for two months to assist with repairs and construction. Whilst there he undertook a number of projects: repairs to the Lotus School building, paving and pathway repairs, building maintenance and the construction of a gazebo next to the children's playground.
A letter from the 2013 special project volunteer:
" I arrived in Ulaan Baatar on the 4thof July and went to the orphanage on the 7th ,leaving at the end of August Didi outlined the issues, maintenance wise, before heading off to London. There seemed a lot of work to be done! I decided to divide my time between the general maintenance work and organizing then starting the bigger projects such as the school floor and the gazebo .
The first priority was the school. I siliconed the outside and then the inside of the glass pyramid roof. It ultimately requires a major fix, possibly replacing the pyramid glass top with a more conventional and sealable alternative.
I sanded and painted the trim around the outside of the school windows as my first job. Various door locks, barrels and handles were bought at the market. General work in the houses included repairing the drawers and lockers. They don’t seem to be standing up to the punishment they get and in many cases the rail sliders needed to be replaced .
The first major job was to fit the new top on the school floor. The builder from the British School started this and we worked together for a couple days before I finished it. Both the builder and I were concerned about fitting the floor before the roof leak was fixed.A couple of days were spent dismantling the hut at the old Yarmag grounds .The timber from this was used in the new gazebo.
James and Lotus Centre Teenagers
Due to a problem with the plumbers I volunteered to fit the new shower in Will and Angie’s room which was finished before I left.
The last three weeks were spent building the gazebo. I purchased the posts and some of the cladding and used the timber from Yarmag . The original intention was to build a structure six metres square but once the posts were set to this I realized the roof span would be too large to build safely considering the materials available. I adjusted it then to four and a half metres. I have planned to do a mosaic brick path to join it with the playground area .
In the first couple of weeks the earth-movers were on site and Will and I discussed the areas to be levelled for a basketball court, soccer pitch, skate park and garden which I marked out.
I did little painting during my time there but Ariana took on the job of repainting the dining room which came up well. Many times I was happy to let one or two of the children help for a while, until they got bored .The gazebo seemed to be a magnet at various stages and there were a couple of incidents. Generally I was happy to have the children around and when it got too hectic I stopped work to look after them!
I loved my time at Lotus and would happily come back on a regular basis. I’m planning on funding my own way next year if possible and would love to hear of any summer projects. As I left I had earmarked the establishment of the playground area next to the gazebo as to do next . Thanks for the opportunity CHEF gave me this year.
Assisted Project 2012
The Lotus Baking Training Programme - Second Phase
In 2012, CHEF continued to work with the Lotus Children's Centre in Mongolia both directly andindirectly. Apart from funds and sponsorships sent to Lotus during the year, CHEF also organised for the next phase of the Baking Training Programme begun last year by Australian Baker, Paul Wilderbeek. Paul was immensely generous in spending his annual leave to to Mongolia to conduct this training for Lotus. CHEF sponsored his fare and also the new equipment required for the course, which was shipped from China.
This two week training course to staff anhd students at Lotus was extremely successful. The professional oven CHEF purchased last year and the other equipment acquired this year continue to be used for daily baking needs at Lotus and will ne able to be used to continue the training programme.
The Lotus Children's Centre is planning to build a bakery at the Centre and open a shop in the local town of Gacchurt. This will provide training, employment and income for Lotus and the older children.
Assisted Project 2011
The Lotus Baking Training Programme
After long discussions with the management at The Lotus Children's Centre in developing this programme, and with fantastic co-operation and support from the Hospital Training Association of Brisbane, CHEF helped co-ordinate a new young adults' training programme at Lotus in 2011. HTA kindly sent Mr Paul Wilderbeek, a senior lecturer from the HTA College to conduct the first part of a three-part training programme in commercial baking. CHEF purchased a large commercial oven and other necessary equipment for the programme and co-ordinated the visit.
Paul Wilderbeek was a great hit with the staff and kids from The Lotus Children's Centre who completed the Lotus Baking Training Programme in Ulaan Bataar in 2011. In just two weeks, the course covered the making of basic white dough, sweet bun dough, buckwheat bread, wholemeal bread, vegetable bread, cheese and dried tomato bread, hot cross buns, pizza, focaccia, Turkish bread, hamburger buns, croissants and honey briocheas well as
Within a week of the completion of the first part of the Baking Programme, The Lotus Children's Centre had orders from large numbers of the Ulaan Bataar ex-pat community for Easter hot-cross buns that they were happy to be able to fulfill and earn money for the centre. Since then, Lotus has been making fresh wholemeal bread for the children each week, adding welcome and healthy diversity to their diet.
Assisted Projects 2009-2010
1) Student Scholarships to Sunshine School, Vientiane, Laos for Children from Donkoi Village
Somneuk is 16 years old, from Donkoi village, fifth from a family of ten children who all live in a two room dwelling.
Souksavan is 17. His father is the manager of the Donkoi Children's Development Centre (DCDC) but his mother is often sick so managing the family on thefather's modest salary is not easy.
Dali is from a family of four children who all live in an unfinished house in Donkoi. She has been active in the DCDC and shares her artictic talents with the other village children.
Niradi is 14 years old from a family of four children in Donkoi village and active in the DCDC where she is a youth leader.
Khamapsong is 16 from a family in Donkoi village where her father has iregular work and her mother works very hard in the rice fields and is active in the Donkoi Village Women's Union. Together with Dali and Nitladi, she is active in the DCDC and in the youth leadership programme. They graduated middle school from the Sunshine School under the CHEF scholarship programme and hope to graduate high school now.
During and at the end of the scholarship period, the five chidlren were asked a number of questions:
Are you aware that you have sponsors? .How do you feel about that? Do you know where the sponsors are from? What do your parents think about you’re going to Sunshine School? Was this year useful for you? What will you do next year? And in the future, when you grow up, what are your plans?
These are the answers they gave speaking with the help fo their Lao teachers:-
Yes we know that we have sponsors. We’re happy that the sponsors help us for our educational development this year. We know they are from Australia. Our parents sometimes don’t have much time to guide us with our studies and so when they knew we had the opportunity to study at Sunshine School they were very happy as they knew we’d be in class with a small number of students and so that we could get more help from our teachers. They also knew that in Sunshine School we’d get the opportunity to study more English which is an important language in the world today. There are many activities in Sunshine School that we can learn from. We’ve progressed especially in English language. We also feel we’ve gained more self-confidence, are not so shy to express ourselves or perform.
i) Souksavanh – hope to be able to get a scholarship in Japan to study film making. (He’d already won a prize in Dec 2009 to go to Japan for 2 weeks for film study.)
ii)Somneuk – want to continue to study but don’t know yet what I want to do in the future.
iii)Niradi – hope to work with uncle who works in Customs Dept.
iv)Khong – would like to be an accountant
v)Dali – would like to be a doctor
2) Lotus Children's Centre - Mongolia:Transitioning Programmes for Young Adults
Programmes to assist young adults graduating from Lotus in their transition to independent life in the wider society have already been begun in the form of the Ananda Vegetarian Café, training some of the young adults in waitering, restaurant management and accounting and the Lotus GuestHouses providing hospitality skills.
The Special Needs Programmes have ranged from commercial cooking to crafts-making for the children with special needs who are resident at the Lotus Centre.
Small farm landholdings are also currently being developed for some of the now-adult former Lotus residents with special needs. CHEF has been providing general financial support towards these programmes as well as assistance in kind to support the Ananda Café.
3) GANESH- A STORY OF ENABLING THE DISABLED- FULLY MOBILE!
Ganesh is a poor rural doctor with a polio crippled leg. He grew up at a local project in Jharkhand, India, called Ashavihar, where he had originally gone for an operation to straighten his bent leg. This enabled him to swing along on crutches and stand balanced without them when necessary. He stayed on at the Ashavihar Children's Village to complete his primary and secondary education that was beyond the scope of his impoverished parents.
Ashavihar is primarily a multi-therapy clinic that provides free treatment to a large number of villages in an extremely poor district of Jharkhand state. Each day up to a hundred villagers attend the clinic and receive treatment from fully qualified professionals at the acupuncture, allopathy, homeopathy, ayurveda, maternity and physiotherapy departments at the clinic. In addition, twice a year surgeons come from Germany at their own expense to conduct corrective surgery and family planning clinics.
Ganesh began his acupuncture training while still in High School. On completion of his school studies, he went on to complete the six year course in five, and received his Diploma in Acupuncture. He then continued to attend the Ashavihar free acupuncture clinic - now as a doctor treating the people from his own community. He is now married and has a young child.
In 2010, during a routine field inspection, our C.H.E.F. officer discovered that Ganesh was most often coming and going the two kilometres from his village home to the clinic by walking on his crutches , as he was often delayed by patients and missed the infrequent local bus. Having recently attended a state level paralympic meet, he had seen other disabled young men riding specially adapted motor-bikes, and seeing an opportunity to assist the many by assisting one, The Children's Health and Education Fund decided to fund an adapted motor-bike. Almost two years passed, but an adapted motor-bike did not become available for purchase. Then in 2011, a new car came on to the market in India - a car for the masses costing just $2000. In a great stroke of lateral thinking, Ganesh took a smal loan to make up the balance, and purchased a Tata Nano - a car he can drive even with his disability and can also convey his small family. Here you can see him sitting proudly behind the wheel of his own car. A long journey from a background of grinding poverty and illiteracy. One man's journey that helps transforms the lives of many others.
Assisted Project 2007-2008
Hutul Youth Centre - Mongolia
In addition to the ministering to the needs of the children at the Centre itself, The Lotus Children's Centre is reaching out to a wider demographic of young adults and youth in need within the community.
This is especially critical in the isolated mining towns in the far north of the country where there are few occupations for young people who are especially at risk because of easy access to alcohol.
The WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004 reported: “It has also been noted that alcohol abuse could be Mongolia’s biggest stumbling block to economic and social progress, with women especially falling victim to a daily round of vodka-fuelled violence. 69% of school-age youth report drinking alcohol”
By establishing the Lotus Youth Centre in Hutul, in the north of Mongolia, there are hopes of alleviating the causal problem of this early drift to alcohol - aimlessness and lack of recreational facilities for the youth, which has lead to a crisis of alcoholism pervading the country, beginning with young adults, and in some cases even children. The Lotus Youth Centre will provide classes in computer, English, a café and pizza parlour and Library and Reading Room. New projects and classes will be added over time.
The establishment of this Centre hopes to alleviate the causal problem of aimlessness which has lead to a crisis of alcoholism pervading the country, beginning with young adults, and in some cases even children. The establishment of the Youth Centre hopes to offer an alternative to the young people of this mining town by offering after-school activities, classes, a library and an alcohol-free café. Commencement of the Centre
Assisted Project 2006
Lotus Children's Centre : Life Skills For Special Needs Children
A programme for special needs children at The Lotus Children’s Centre. The funding supplied purchased a ger (traditional Mongolian tent) as a class-room for the programme and supplies for the programme for the 2006-2007 year.
Assisted Project 2004-5
The Sunrise School, Greater Noida, India
The first project assisted by The Children’s Health and Education Fund was in India. In 2004, a progressive women’s organisation called Narii Abhyudaya (“Women’s Development Association”) applied for assistance to begin the Sunrise School for the children of daily labourers in Greater Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi.
Teenage girls nursing younger siblings at the Sunrise School, Greater Noida, India
CHEF worked with Narii Abhyudaya on development of the project and provided funding for the training of teachers and materials for the Sunrise School which has now been successfully operating for over six years.
CHEF officer on field visit at the Sunrise School , India
Children's Health and Education Fund Inc. (Australia) : ABN 43602533050