I am forever grateful...
women is an important part of the strategy in a bid to find a long-term, sustainable solution to the serious issues this community faces. My road over the last 10 years has been far from easy, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. My yoga journey has taken me to the most magical of places, blessed me with unforgettable memories and introduced me to 39 Ugandan children who taught me what it means to be courageous. I am forever grateful to Forget Me Not for stepping up to the plate when all hope was nearly lost. Here’s to the future and all it now holds for the lucky ones under Forget Me Not’s wing in Nepal, Uganda and India. Forget these children? Never! Today, the Ugandan orphans are attending boarding school in their villages and going home for the holidays under the watchful eye of local authorities. They receive counselling, ongoing support and are visited regularly by Forget Me Not representatives and sponsors. Project H.E.L.P is in the early stages of development. Recently evacuated from their shelters due to drainage works, eight families now reside on the side of a busy road, with only a few plastic sheets between them for shelter. The children have no access to medical care and little protection from the burning sun, cold winter nights or torrential monsoon rain. They are severely malnourished and have never attended school. The families of Kalyanpuri Slum have struggled for survival over three generations; living in constant fear of starvation, disease, abuse and eviction.
14 HERDMATTERS May 2013
The children have had little hope for the future – until now. Stage One of Project H.E.L.P (Health) aims to meet their urgent medical and nutritional needs; and provide safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, shelter and basic training in health and hygiene. Stage Two (Education) focuses on establishing the Brighter Futures Study Centre from rented premises to provide a safe, clean environment for 11 infants and toddlers; along with informal education for 12 children to prepare them for enrolment in the formal school system. The Centre will also run vocational training for the children’s parents after hours. Stage Three (Livelihood) is designed to bring families confidence and independence by helping parents secure full-time employment or start a small business. Relocation to safe, secure housing in the final stage of the project (Possibilities) will give the children and their families the potential to live a quality of life they have only dreamed of. HM
Joanne Heath now lives in Melbourne and has recently completed her first book. She hopes to continue inspiring others to make meaningful changes in their lives and a positive difference in the world. Article first appeared in Australian Yoga LIFE magazine www.ayl.com.au If you would like to help the children of Kalyanpuri Slum by organising a fundraiser, making a donation or volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.forgetmenot.org.au
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