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NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2009 FROM TREVOR HUDDLESTON ASSOCIATION / CARE-CO
Camp Du Roi,
The days and months rush by, In the northern hemisphere the end to the summer holiday season is in sight.
Here in the south we are back to normal activities after our 'winter' break.
The recession is still biting, and we wonder sometimes how we are going to manage to survive.
The Special learning Centre re-opens this week.
All our teachers and children are expected to resume attendance and restart all our activities.
However our start was delayed by one week as all schools in the Republic of Mauritius were ordered to close for some days due to the FluA H1N1 Epidemic. Fortunately we have no reported cases here.
Susan is back on Rodrigues after her trip to the UK, Ireland & France.
The teachers and the children are all ready to start classes and we expect the classrooms to be healthily busy and noisy soon.
We had a 'thank you' event for the members of the E.U Decentralised Co-operation Progamme in July, and are grateful for the programme of improvements that we have been able to develop here. The school is better equipped and has expanded to the numbers and activities all meticulously identified in our Logical Framework Matrix.
The Trevor Huddleston Association has also benefited from more EU/ DCP Project Grants for part financing of projects for Poverty Alleviation.
One project of which is especially aimed at the Hearing impaired, and backs up the equipment purchased with the grant from the Prime Ministers Solidarity Fund.
Another special 'poverty alleviation' grant will enable our group of workers to engage in our own special project to improve the living conditions of a community of disabled living nearby, and we shall be able to provide better housing, social and educational care to the children and a banana plantation for the men to earn additional revenue from.
This project has been the concern of Kathryn and her group of volunteers in Munich for a number of years, and now about to come to fruition.
Our friends at Ashford (Middx) Congregational Church increased their Christmas gift to double the original sum, and this has been one of the most significant factors in helping us to combat the effects of the recession on our income.
The Swiss Foundation 'Hear the World' is also thanked for a substantial grant to help with the hearing impaired.
Here is a story of one of our children who has benefited from our programmes at the Gonzague Pierre Louis Learning Centre from Susan and the school staff. (Attached)
Meanwhile the Care-Co Workshop has been engaged in a direct struggle to maintain its activities, which are not generally supported by gifts or grants, but have to survive on their viability to bring in cash from sales of the products.
The products are great.
For Instance... our Award winning Honey. Miel La Caz.
Honey from our disabled beekeepers has persistently won prestigious wards at the National Honey Show in the UK.
We are participating again this year!
Like to know more and even support our stand at the NHS this year?
You can get full details on the website. www.honeyshow.co.uk.
Click onto Show Schedule, and you will be able to read an article by Mr. Gladstone Solomon( on Page 14,) He is leading beekeeper from Tobago who visited us last year.
If all goes well, both he and Mr. Michael Duggan (who started us off in our successful 'hives for the handicapped' project in 1992) will all be there on the Rodrigues stand together with myself and Eric Speville one of our Rodriguan. Beekeepers
This participation has largely been made possible by the generosity of Mr. Michael Duggan and the National Honey Show Committee.
A rendezvous then at the
National Honey Show. October 29th -31st at the St.Georges College, Weybridge.
Full details on the Website.
We will be pleased to meet all our friends there!
In July 2009 we reluctantly decided that for our reduced present income to meet our costs, it would be necessary for us all to reduce working hours, and a part-time work programme was introduced, which means that the workshop is inactive for two days each week.
Fortunately the government has proposed, through a stimulus package, to try a scheme whereby all workers put on reduced working hours can attend training courses at the Industrial & Vocational Training Board Centre for two days a week, and still earn full wages. However this scheme only lasts for three months, and not all the details about how it will work for us have been made clear yet.
Will we be over the 'recession' hump by then? We hope so.
We are not the only ones to be struggling to survive in Rodrigues, we know that in Mauritius and in much of the rest of the world has been affected by the recession.
In August we were honored to have a visit from the President of Mauritius and Lady Sarojini Jugnauth who have both followed our work with keen interest since the 1970's!
H.E.Mrs Kathy Johnstone, the Australian High Commissioner also visited to see us, and was shown the equipment in use that the direct aid Programme of the Australian Government provided for us. She was also intrigued by the painting that Rolf Harris did for us when he was Guest of Honour at our new workshop and school inauguration in 1998.
Well that is all I have space for this time.
Many things have had to be left out..... & I apologise if maybe your special interest in us has not been mentioned.
Hope to meet some of you at the National Honey Show.
Fax 230 8312276
Email firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Jonathan, and his older sister, Linda, have been pupils of the GPL Centre for many years. Both had severe speech and language problems, and were extremely introverted.
Their parents are both alcoholics who are often involved in fights at the weekend - often injuring one another to the extent of requiring hospital treatment. As a result, the children are frequently absent on Mondays, and, although they try to hide it, are emotionally and socially disturbed.
Moreover, although they rarely pay the requested Rs10 contribution to the cost of the mid-day meal which we offer all our pupils, Jonathan always eats at least 3 platefuls, then waits to clear the plate of any child who does not finish his lunch. Since this is probably the only meal Jonathan will eat each day, we try to ensure that he takes his time and benefits from it.
Over the years, Jonathan has gradually gained self-confidence and grown into a polite, friendly 11 year old, who loves to help and especially to be praised.
I was stunned recently when some visitors called in to the school and Jonathan came forward, held out his hand, and said, "Good morning, Madame."
This from a boy who, a few years ago, refused to make eye contact or say a single word.
Linda, now 17, wanted to stay on long aften our age limit as she feels secure and confident in our environment, so she helps out in the kitchen, learning how to budget and prepare the food, serve the meals, and clear up afterwards.
see PDF for pictures
Nielson's parents know that Nielson had a problem but did not know what it was. He was 3 years old, not talking at all, and did not seem interested in playing with his toys. Instead, he sat quietly in the house all the time, not venturing outside or even exploring his surroundings. It was only after a number of visits to the hospital that they met a paediatrician who was concerned with delayed speech in children, and she referred him to the GPL Centre for assessment.
He was immediately offered a place in our pre-primary group, and it was not long till we realized that he could not see well, so we arranged for him to be examined by a visiting optician who informed us that he had bilateral cataracts. His mother was relieved to have discovered his problem but anxious about the forth-coming operations he would need to have the cataracts removed. The first operation was done in June this year and the second eye was operated on in September.
He is already walking more confidently, raising his head to make eye contact, and happily taking part in the pre-school activities of colouring, sorting and counting.This week, he was able to pick out all the blue beads from a box and thread them onto a thin cord, something he would never have been able to attempt a few months ago.
Moreover, his speech has also improved and he is beginning to say words and even short phrases. A completely changed little boy. We are now confident that he will catch up and maybe even be able to join his local primary school later.
see PDF for pictures