Weʼve raised £525 to Help Bangalore Orphans
- st albans, hertfordshire, uk
- Funded on Wednesday, 7th August 2019
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I am but a folically challenged, married, father of two girls. I am also a full-time secondary school teacher and a part time Newsquest newspaper columnist (writing tongue in cheek weekly columns on topics as diverse as 'Benny Hill' and 'Supermarkets'). I enjoy football, mountain biking and shouting at politicians on the telly, and It would be true to say I am somewhat a cynic.
Despite looking like Phil Mitchell and Kojak's long-lost lovechild, I am in fact part Indian. My grandmother, Rita, who was loved dearly, came from India after WW2, after meeting my Grandfather, and settled outside of Hastings, East Sussex. She died a few years ago. My mother, now aged 70, had never been to India so I, along with my 2 brothers, travelled to Bangalore during half term in February with her.
We were lucky enough to meet the sisters at St Joseph’s convent in Bangalore and spend a few hours touring their orphanage and school, as well as meeting the girls they have saved, and are saving, from a life of destitution, abuse and abject misery. My grandmother was bought up at St Josephs, not because she was an orphan, but because her father died when she was very young and her mother was blind. It was the best option for her at the time.
We visited the actual ‘block’ she slept in for many years, which remarkably still stands with the bunk beds and outside washing facilities still in use. It gave some level of closure to my Mother who may never get the opportunity to see, first hand, where her mother came from. We met the girls, all working hard in the sun, and playing chase, all with beaming smiles and extremely well mannered, thankful for the situation they now found themselves in.
The week we spent in was amazing, awe inspiring and extremely saddening. As the stereotypical 'rich' westerners, we hired a driver for the day and took a trip to the shopping mecca of Commercial Street in Bangalore a few days into the holiday. It was not frequented by tourists and we loaded up on bargains after some serious haggling. During the afternoon, near the mosque, in a very busy area, I waited to be served by a street vendor for some sweets to bring back for my 2 daughters aged 7 and 11. As I waited, I felt something tug on the bottom of my shorts. Thinking it was a pickpocket, I turned to remonstrate, but was surprised to see a little girl, no more than 4, matted with filth, but with some level of innocence still in her eyes, who, having gotten my attention pointed at the sweets. The store keepers shooed her and her sister away, as I told him to chill out. The girls, like all kids, no matter the situation they found themselves in, just wanted some goodies. We bought them a handful of sweets and gave them a fistful of rupees each.
Later that evening, sipping a cold beer around the hotel pool, I discussed with my brother, that I couldn’t stop thinking about their 'lot'. We both agreed they were genuine, due to where they were begging, and the sorry state of them both. We discussed where they might be ‘now’ and what awaited them in the future. It looked bleak. I then said I wished I had taken a photo to show my girls when I got home, to make them appreciate what they have, and take for granted, but thought it would have been too ‘touristy’. It was at that point he said he had taken a photo (the person in the shorts is me).
I arrived back home a few days later and gave my girls a few gifts including the sweets. Their faces lit up and again I thought how the 2 Indian girls had that very same look in their eyes once we had handed their haul over. I like a crazy scheme, and wanted to help, or at least try to, so decided to contact the convent. After a series of emails, one of the Sisters spent 4 days, with the photo, searching for the girls on my behalf around the streets of Bangalore, to no avail. I had discussed my plan to a few friends: I wanted to find the girls and then pay for them to not only be safe with bed and board, but give them an education, and a shot. The school was exceptional: with PC’s a plenty on a gated, spacious, secured site where the other side of India could be well and truly hidden away.
The friends I told all said they loved the idea and would like to help. It is to that end that I have set up this Just Giving page. Yes: The girls I wished to find have not been found…yet…but there are thousands of others out there who can be. Young kids, with no chance of avoiding the misery that will be heaped upon them as they have nothing to trade except for desperation and themselves.
Yes, I know that we have kids in the UK who need help and live in poverty: I see it every day. Putting that aside, this is not about ‘them’ and ‘us’. It is not about race, religion, or if our poor are better off than those Indian kids, but about kids who, for a few quid can have their lives changed irreversibly for the better and allow them to become someone and something. I have told the convent I would still like to help. I am unsure how this will go, but I plan to have 5 young girls taken from the streets of Bangalore and given an opportunity. The convent has given me the ‘price list’ per child:
St Joseph’s charge (in rupees) : School uniform (2 sets): 5000 : Bags and shoes (1 set): 3000 : Text books: 5000 : School fees: 10000 : Boarding and mess fees: 7000
Total= 30,000 rupees
30,000 rupees is £331.87 per year, to cloth, feed, educate and keep safe a homeless orphan girl in Bangalore. That’s £6.38 per week (the cost of 1 and a bit pints). That’s 91p per day to give them back some hope in humanity, some food, shelter, and oodles of safety to protect them from living like dogs and ultimately facing a world of abuse and desperation.
That is why I have set up this Just Giving page.
I hope you can help, no matter how little.
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brett ellis started crowdfunding
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Jul 2, 2019
May 17, 2019
May 10, 2019
Well done Brett, a good man trying to help a good cause!! Good luck, Fleur and Michael
Apr 29, 2019
Apr 28, 2019
Well done Brett and Laura! Hope you manage to reach your target!Love, Mary, Chris and family xx
Apr 25, 2019
Hope it all helps to make a differenceAnna
Apr 24, 2019
Couldn't be bothered reading war and peace that you typed, but heres a tenner slap head.
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