I am raising money to donate some much needed equipment to a school in Hatibagan, a very poor slum area in Calcutta, India. I am organising some new play equipment and school resources for these children who have so little. If you would like to contribute, any amount will be greatly appreciated.
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Name: Lisa Carson
For those who would like to know more about the school, below is an account of my first visit several weeks ago:
"Baptist Mission Society is running a mobile school in Hatibagan, one of the slum areas of Calcutta. In the morning the bus goes around the slum areas and collects the children aged from 18 months to 12 years. There are two teachers and several volunteers, and the number of children collected each day varies from 40-70. They take the children to a school where they are given food, education (basic academic and life skills) and general care for the morning and then taken home again.
Last week I went with them....
Approximately 45 children arrived on a bus that would have seated 15. The children were so excited to see us, mostly laughing, with some of the little ones crying. They all wanted to touch us, it was overwhelming. I started singing “round and round the garden, goes the teddy bear” and you would have thought it was Christmas! They all anxiously wanted to play.
We arrived at the school and out they climbed in their scruffy clothes, with broken bags and smiles so big I nearly cried. Into the bare class room we went and opened a box of blue shirts, big and small, buttons missing and grubby; their school uniforms. Everyone put one on, with the older children helping the little ones and all of them trying to do the buttons. There were combs and they all combed their hair or did each other's.
One little girl came from somewhere else, not from the bus, perhaps off the street. She wore only a top and carried a pair of pull-on pants which were obviously too large with no elastic. She had a piece of string with a knot in it and was struggling to climb into the pants. I helped her put the string around the pants to keep them up. She looked so proud and her smile said it all. Shirt on, hair done, nose wiped, she sat cross legged on the concrete floor after helping the younger children get ready too.
An 8 year old girl carried her little sister most of the morning. Every time she saw her nose run she grabbed the bottom of her skirt and wiped her sister’s tears then her nose.?
We sang, they danced and prayed. They are so well behaved.
Soon it was time to sit outside on the ground for breakfast of milk and a biscuit. Then back inside for maths and English lessons, followed by colouring, all with blunt pencils and dry textas. Do you know how to make dried-up textas work? ?Pour some water into a lid and dip them in frequently, not forgetting to return the lid to the class water bottle afterwards!
After the lessons the children went outside to play and we did “Ring-a-Rosie”. Even the older boys loved it! The only play equipment there was a broken see-saw, two broken plastic bikes with the pedals fallen off and patched up with tape countless times. A well-worn skipping rope, repaired many times by knotting back together was the favourite thing to play with and was shared by all.
Lunch consisted of rice and vegetables, again sitting outside on the ground in a big circle. The children all waited patiently for their turn and helped those younger than them. I offered seconds to some, they said "No, no! Give to others." They are so supportive of each other. After eating the children all washed the dishes and cleaned up. I tried to help, but the children insisted "No, no! Not to do!".
I want to do something for these kids and this school now, not the next 10 years. While I am here I thought I might be able to get some equipment and resources for them. Perhaps bikes, play equipment, stationary, to stay at the school for the children to use. I am hoping to get some financial help from those who would like to donate, so if you would like to assist please know that your gift will be going directly to these beautiful children who have so little.