EWSCF children gather a crowd showcasing their performance skills

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The Performers Without Borders do it again!!

For the past month we have again hosted the fantastic Performers Without Borders. PWB is a UK based NGO that teaches performance skills to disadvantaged children in various parts of the world. They have been successfully working with and training the children (and staff!) of EWSCF for the past 5 years. At the end of their term the children get the amazing opportunity to perform in in Darjeeling’s main square. It turned out to be a beautiful day and the crowds started gathering around as soon as the music started and the kids began their performance. Some of the skills on display were diablo, juggling, hula hoop, uni cycle and poi spinning! The crowd were given an extra treat when the PWB members got up to give an extra show of their own at the end. Not only was this day about showcasing performance skills but it also gives our organisation an opportunity to highlight the ongoing struggle against child labour and child rights abuses in India.

Kalimpong Child Rights Programme

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The Child Rights Fair was held on the 29th April by the Kalimpong NGO Network. It was an opportunity to highlight child rights and to give children the chance to showcase their skills and talents through dance, drama, song and art n craft. All the NGOs participating were provided with a stall so that they could visually and verbally share the work they do with the other NGO representatives and dignitaries present. The Darjeeling District Magistrate (DM) was also there so was an important day to inform him of the hard work going on throughout the District on the topic of child rights. All the children did a fantastic job during each of their performances; the children of EWSCF in particular. They were the last to perform and the amazed all present with their diablo, unicycle, ribbon, juggling and poi spinning skills. This was something quite unique for the audience to see and even the DM made special mention of the talents of EWSCF in his closing speech!!

RUN FOR EQUALITY

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On March the 28th, a group of 20 children from EWSCTF were invited by World Vision India and the Salvation Army (school for deaf and dumb children) to partake in the “Run for Equality” programme.
This programme was organised with the intent to raise awareness on Child Rights but particularly promotion for equality of those with disabilities. All the children met at 7am and ran to Chowrasta where our staff members, 3 UCC students and American volunteer Liz were all waiting to cheer them on as they passed the finish line! At 10am a programme of song and dance was held for all the participants.

EWSCF COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMME

Last week our three new interns from UCC- Daragh, Stacey and Ruth- went along with our outreach staff to some rural communities to check up on some our children who have been resettled home and to visit the families/guardians of children currently staying with us. It is always the intention of EWSCF to rehabilitate children within their own communities but this has to be a very sensitive and carefully assessed process. Daragh captured some beautiful moments on his camera which can give you an idea of what they experienced on their first field visit. It is not always an easy walk up and down the side of the mountains to these communities but i think they all can agree it was worth it!

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First Impressions

A short narrative by one of our new interns from UCC, Stacey Walsh on her first impressions of Darjeeling and meeting the children at the foundation………….

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“When we arrived in Siliguri we were greeted by our boss Cath outside the airport. We then took the daunting but mesmerising trip up the narrow mountain roads to Darjeeling, during which I’m pretty sure all of us thought we were going to fall over the edge. When we finally arrived in Darjeeling we were greeted by a wealth of different sights, smells and sounds. The constant honking of car horns and dogs barking is certainly going to take some getting used to. It is a different world up here to say the least.
Our first day at the foundation was definitely one to remember. We had the pleasure of arriving just in time for Holi Festival, which is the Hindu festival of colours. We had researched some of the festival before our arrival, but what welcomed us was so much more than we could have ever imagined. When we first walked into the foundation we dropped our bags into the office upstairs and when we came back down the kids had positioned themselves into orderly queues as they waited to greet us. They were bundles of excitement to meet the new interns. As they waited patiently, we began to unload all the powder that was going to be used throughout the day. Not long after the kids began to take small amounts of different colours and ran around the playground smearing the coloured powder onto each other’s faces and onto our faces too, saying ‘happy Holi’ as they did so. The sounds of laughter and giggles echoed throughout the foundation and I think myself, Ruth and Daragh all began to feel like children again. It didn’t take long for all of our clothes, faces and hair to turn into a rainbow of colours. After the colours finally began to run out, the day turned to other fun activities like games and dancing. Unfortunately the electricity was gone, which is a regular occurrence over here, so the kids could not show us their dance moves just yet. We didn’t let this dampen our spirits and resorted to other forms of fun and played the game duck, duck, goose. The electricity only stayed off for an hour or so and it wasn’t long before the kids were busting some serious moves. It was crazy to see the amount of talent that these kids possess.
My first day at the foundation was undoubtedly one of the most amusing and gratifying days I have had in a long time and made me realise that the simple things in life can sometimes be the most enjoyable. The kids have an amazing ability to make you smile or laugh at every moment and when I was leaving at the end of the day I couldn’t wait for the next day of work to begin again.”

JOIN US FOR A FUN WALK/RUN

CROSSHAVEN TO DRAKES POOL

CROSSHAVEN TO DRAKE’s POOL (RABBIT ISLAND) WALK/FUN RUN AND BACK AGAIN!!

Enjoy a stroll, jog or run and help support the rehabilitation, education, health and skills training of the children of the Edith Wilkins Street Children Foundation, Darjeeling, India.

Date: April 27th 2012
Day:: Sunday
Registration: 2.30pm
Fee: 5euro
Where? Glen Car Park, Crosshaven (near RCYC)

DONATIONS WELCOME!

Any questions or queries please contact: 021 4293514

Story of an Angel

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HELLO, or namaste, my name is Sanjoy and I am a 16-year-old angel. Too young to be an angel, I know, but today I’m going to tell you my story.
I want everyone to know and maybe say a prayer for all of the voiceless children around the world, and in India especially where I come from.
I was born to two wonderful parents in a place called Dar-jeeling in north India, up on the border, north of Calcutta. They loved us dearly.
I was born in what every-one calls a busstee (or slum) and had two younger little sisters and one older brother.My dad was a milkman and my mum stayed at home to mind us. Things were hard but we were loved by our parents.
Ten years ago, one horrible night at about 8pm, my dad was out delivering the evening milk and my older brother was staying up in my gran’s shack (as we had little room). Suddenly, the door burst open and a gang of four men piled into our shack. My mum told us quickly to get under the bed I grabbed my little sisters and pulled them under our makeshift bed. The men were all high on drugs and as I was only about six, I really didn’t know what they were doing.
They were raping my mother and she was screaming and screaming for help. My father then rushed in the door (thank God, I thought) but they got a scythe and killed both my mum and dad and ran. They were never caught.
I stayed under the bed. I was just so in shock I couldn’t move, all I could hear was the silence in the room and no-one outside was coming. We lay there all night and I cuddled my little sisters. The following morning, when the neighbours didn’t see my mum up and about, they called in. Their screaming was so horrendous. We were pulled out from under the bed and taken in to neighbours’ houses. Everyone was crying, screaming and really not listening to us. There and then I stopped talking for a while, it was all just too much to bear. A local man we called ‘Uncle’ took my middle sister, she must have been aged four,and said he would put her into school. But though my gran searched high and low we never saw her again. Boju, my gran, couldn’t keep us as she couldn’t afford to look after us and we were shipped from pillar to post for two years.
I couldn’t stay anywhere — though they were all nice homes run by nice people. I couldn’t stay still, if I did I just heard my parents’ screams. Then I would start screaming and not be able to stop. I ended up twice in the men’s jail as the police picked me up and the men did horible things to me, I thought they were showing me they liked me but it wasn’t that at all.
About a year later a nice aunty took us to this place called Sai Prasanti. There were only a few kids there and this Irish woman had started a home for children. There was Duccu Aunty and Manju Aunty and Edith Aunty (who later became Mum) and her children.
There, I guess I started again. I would scream and scream at night for hours, but instead of telling me to shush, the aunties took it in turns to hold me. They would sit on the floor and just hold me and tell me it would be OK, they were with me.
I guess I just decided to stay, I was tired of having horrible things done to me on the street. I had lovely warm clothes and lovely food. OK, I decided, this would do!
In time, I started talking again and would tell Mum and Manju Aunty when I was sad. They would just hold me, they never forced me to tell them about that night my parents were killed, though I knew they knew about it. They left me to tell them myself in time as I got older. They got my gran to visit often and when she was sick she would stay also. We started learning to read and write and I loved the stories Manju Aunty told us. Every night she told us stories before she tucked us in to sleep and we were loved, safe and cared for. As the project got bigger we had to move to a bigger place with three houses in it and what did we have but a big playground in the middle. We helped mum and all the aunties and uncles paint them, they were beautiful red, yellow, blue and green slides and swings and we played basketball and cricket and had a great time. School didn’t suit me much, but I stayed for a good few years, mainly because I just loved my uniform. When I reached 15 I didn’t want to spend another five years in school and there were electric/mechanic classes. I decided I was going to do that. But my favourite class of all in school was music, we had guitars and violins and I just love to dance and sing. Sometimes, during a maths class in the centre, we would all just jump up and start singing and dancing, it was such great fun.
Then my health suddenly took a toll and I started to get ill. I was heading back to be reunited with my mum and dad. I was in a big hospital and all the aunties and the kids came and were all with me. I was trying to talk but I couldn’t. Everyone said their good-byes to me.
I look down on all the children now and see my little sister in sixth class, some of the older boys finished school and going to college, some of the girls doing the same and others training and now working independently, as nurses or in hotels. I know my little sister will always be safe and looked after until she’s old enough to stand on her feet.

Why am I telling this story to the paper in Cork? Because of the eight wonderful years I lived in Edith Wilkins’ Street Children Foundation — the love, food, education and games. The training and my beloved music.
In Cork they support us so much and if they can keep supporting us many, many children will have a wonderful future.

● To donate, see edith-wilkinsfoundation.org or drop into Unit 4, Drakes Centre, Carrigaline.

● To donate, see edith-wilkinsfoundation.org or drop into Unit 4, Drakes Centre, Carrigaline.

Standing ovation for GLAS

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STANDING OVATION FOR SILENT

GLAS raised 7,000 Swiss Francs for the Edith Wilkins Foundation for Street Children last night thanks to a spellbinding performance by Pat Kinevane in the Fishamble Theatre’s production of “Silent” directed by Jim Culleton.

There were moments of great humour, grace and beauty throughout the piece during which the homeless street beggar TinoMcGoldrick tells his life-story through a series of silent-movie like vignettes and direct casual conversation with the audience. It provided a very moving insight into the challenges of street life, alcoholism, mental health, suicide and much else besides.

Edith Wilkins was also on hand to talk about the work of her Foundation in Darjeeling with hundreds of children, many of whom have suffered unspeakable abuse. The Foundation does great work helping them to re-build their lives, providing them with love, education, health and a safe refuge. GLAS has been supporting them now for 18 months.

I urge all my friends in Waterford to go and see it tonight in the Theatre Royal where Pat is putting on a performance in aid of Focus Ireland’s work on behalf of the homeless in the city. How does he do it? Out eating fondue and entertaining everyone in the Bain des Paquis on Wednesday night and then 90 minutes of exhausting performance on Thursday night followed today by a mad dash from Dublin airport to Suirside for tonight’s performance.

Great comments coming in from the audience who gave him a standing ovation and rapturous applause last night. The poor old GLAS raffle was definitely a bit of damp squib by comparison!

Photos by Chris Black are of Pat Kinevane on stage last night and Edith Wilkins talking to the audience before the show got underway.

Children’s Day India (from Catherine)

These pics are a reminder of why we are all doing it, for both the good and the bad times. They make it worth it.
It was such a fantastic day, everyone had a ball, especially the kids themselves….especially when we ordered about 120 small pizzas for them. First time trying pizza for the majority of them!
Looking forward to meeting you all when I’m back
Cath xx

 

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‘Joyced’ in Geneva!

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Geneva Literary Aid Society proudly presents:

A very special double bill: 

Donal O’Kelly with “Fionnuala” and Katie O’Kelly with “Joyced” 

Venue: The Aula, Collège des Coudriers,
15a Avenue Joli Mont, Geneva

When: Tuesday, September 24th at 19.00

“JOYCE’S DUBLIN COMES ALIVE UNDER DONAL O’KELLY’S TUMBLING PROSE AND KATIE O’KELLY’S FERVENT PERFORMANCE…” The Sunday Independent
“…THIS BLIZZARD OF IMAGINATION IS AN INDEPENDENT ACHIEVEMENT…” – the Sunday Times
“ONE OF THOSE PERFORMERS WITH TRUE STAGE PRESENCE….” BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE

Once more many thanks to GLAS for your support