Living in the slums in India usually offers no protection against the bites of the dreaded Mosquito, just walking around in the evening I seem to be plagued with bites and I often wonder how the children manage to put up with the masses of bites they must suffer. It must be a general acceptance of the situation as it happens every day. As the children and families living in the slums are bitten so much it opens up a greater chance of being infected by vector borne diseases especially the big one, malaria, which still is a huge killer in India.An article published in the New Scientist suggests that it kills between 125,000 and 277,000 people per year in India alone.
Whatever can be done to help protect the children is very important so providing the children mosquito protection each month, by using plug in adapters if they have electricity, otherwise mosquito coils which are lit each evening is an important part of the work we do. As well as hopefully reducing the risk of malaria, mosquitoes are carriers of many other diseases and wouldn't it be nice to get a good nights' sleep without scratching a bite or wafting an irritating buzz away from your ear.
UPDATE : Since I wrote this blog entry, two more children were diagnosed with malaria, both of the children are living in the same area in Mapusa. The two children were admitted into hospital and treated and we are happy to say that both have made a full recovery. If you are coming to Goa and want to donate mosquito coils or plug in adapters / refills then do please get in touch so that we can extend this protection to more families.
The school year started a little late for a couple of the children. One who returned late from the village was just spending his day mulling around the slum, and the second had a few concerns about his previous school and wanted to concentrate on his studies as his most recent results were not as high as expected.
Both the children were admitted to the same school which has a much better reputation in the local area so hopefully, the two boys (who will be joining two others admitted at the start of the year) will find success in their new school environment.
As well as the younger children, this year we are helping two older girls with their higher education. One is taking fashion design and the second has enrolled with the National Institute of Open Schooling which is situated at Don Bosco's College near Para.
We expect good things from both girls and continue to help with extra computer courses for one, and supplement their studies with extra resources so that they have everything they need to have a successful year.
One of the children has had a video project at school and Robert was roped in to help with a bit of video editing and inspiration. The video project was to highlight the need to Recycle, Reuse, Reduce And Respect. Eknath was a little unsure where to start. His first thought was, how about a bit of plagiarism. He spent the previous night looking on the internet and 'found' text which he would read to the camera. We couldn't accept this, and I don't think teacher meant that sort of recycling. Eknath had a bit of a shock when Robert said, 'NO', you can't use that. 'You need to think about what happens around where you live'.
Eknath went out into the big bad world with a trusty camera (provided by Nathalie) to video whatever he could find and later used a mobile phone to video much of it. After a few days he came back with a few clips, some great video of the men stocking up their bike with new 'recycled' items to exchange for broken plastic, video of cows eating plastic, a local river which was brimming with plastic waste and lots more. Unfortunately, writing the content was not so easy for him, but after a few attempts he really got the hang of it and managed to create a 6 minute video of why we should recycle. As well as videoing Eknath had to construct a basic storyboard and also record the voice over for the video.
It is suprising how much effort is required to create a small bit of film. His video will be shown at the Kala Academy in Panjim.
Thank you to Rebecca Manari and family for donating a handful of books, large box of toys, bag of clothes and some very useful A4 paper. It all helps, it was a delight to meet you all this morning and we are happy the news is spreading about the charity work that we are doing.
Sadly the last month has been a little on the quiet side due to Robs eye operations, but hopefully things will progress as his eye returns to normal. Thanks again to Rebecca and her family and also a special mention to Aljai Singh for putting them in touch with us. Thanks Aljai!