Here at The Pendsey Trust we are delighted to bring you our good news story about what has been our main focus this summer.
It all began with the crazy idea that we could get 100 bicycles out to India to enable the young people we are helping with educational scholarships to reach school safely and quickly, after finding out that many were having to walk hours a day across dangerous terrain. With some determined people involved, and a large dose of luck, we are delighted that, with the assistance of some incredible organisations, this summer we have successfully shipped and distributed 100 bicycles to our local partner, The DREAM Trust.
From 24-26th August, myself and my sister were lucky enough to be able to spend a few days seeing how all the hard earned money raised by our supporters is being spent at the DREAM Trust in Nagpur, meet some of the wonderful children there, and of course, help distribute the bicycles which The Pendsey Trust recently facilitated over to India.
On the first morning, we met with two very special children; Nandhini, whose medical costs are sponsored by our own family, and Khushi, who is sponsored by The Pendsey Trust to celebrate World Diabetes Day each year. It was lovely to be able to give them both some small gifts and to see how well they are doing now that they have a guaranteed supply of insulin. Nandhini told me how she dreams of being a doctor; whilst Khushi, aged 4, looks forward to joining school with the support of the The Pendsey Trust. It costs £200 a year to sponsor a child’s medical costs, and you will learn about the life of the child, be able to write to them, and even visit if you would like! We already have a number of Pendsey sponsors and are now seeking more. Find out more HERE.
We then conducted some home visits to children and young adults who are being helped by The Pendsey Trust. We met a young woman who has been able to set up her own business, buying spices in bulk and selling them to neighbours, and Gaurav, a newly diagnosed 11 year old boy who is being sponsored by one of our supporters, Dilan Shah, who will climb Mount Everest in November to ensure he receives insulin until he is old enough to support himself. Perhaps most memorably we met a 28 year old woman who just a few months ago had come to the DREAM Trust in a terrible state, being very depressed as nobody wished to marry her because of her condition, but is now flourishing as she has been supported to set up her own sari selling business which is growing rapidly. Both myself and my sister were delighted to see her looking so healthy and happy, and could not resist buying some beautiful saris ourselves!
On our second day at the DREAM Trust we focused our attention on the adolescents at the DREAM Trust, 50 of whom had turned up to receive bicycles. These bicycles will allow them to travel from their remote villages to school quickly and safely, instead of having to walk for hours a day to high schools which are few and far between. It was wonderful to hear how much of a difference the bikes will make to their lives- in some cases, the difference of being able to go and not go, as many have competing pressures of helping with family chores and working part time to earn extra money.
In the afternoon we were guests of honour at a ‘Vibrant Youth Function’, at which the top achieving young adults who had been supported with academic scholarships were awarded trophies and a number of them gave speeches. We were so impressed to hear the incredible academic results of these young adults- many gaining marks in the 90% range and above! It was hugely inspirational to hear how individuals from such difficult backgrounds, with the added obstacle of having Type 1 diabetes, had overcome so much and had such dreams and determination. It was also great to see many local figures of importance attending, and embracing the achievements of these individuals against the odds.
Visiting our local partner has only compounded my enthusiasm for this wonderful cause, and my belief that education really is the way to help these brave individuals break out of the cycle of poverty and become self sufficient. As several of our young adults go on to university this year, I ask you to consider, as a supporter of The Pendsey Trust, how you might be able to support us in 2014/15- could you contact local groups and offer to speak on our behalf? Help us write grant applications or find new volunteers? Or offer to organise an event for us. As I have seen first hand, your help in whatever form it comes really will go so far, with just £50 or less opening doors for these ambitious youngsters.
If you would like to see a little bit more about our bicycle project, and some of the children we help, please watch our video of the trip. We would love to hear from you soon!