Rachna is hoping to attend SHINE. She lives in a slum community in the city of Bijnor which is 50km from Kotdwara. Rachna has 2 children, a daughter Sanchi (aged 6) and a son Raghav (aged 4). Both children attend a ‘Project Help India’ education centre, which is the first ever school that they have attended. Rachna’s husband is a labourer, and the family live below the poverty line. Both parents are thankful for the gift of a Project Help education which also provides a meal each day for the kids, as well as the opportunity to attend SHINE, if the family is able to juggle Rachna being away from the home for the day.
My family, 8 other Aussies and a South African will be heading to Kotdwara in North India in just three weeks time, for ‘Project Help India’s second women's SHINE19 conference. This conference is an important aspect of the 'Project Help India' vision, and we can't quite believe that another year has come around. Compared to last year, the number of delegates has doubled, spanning two days and receiving registrations from close to 900 women.
Most of our delegates are women who live in slums, in terrible poverty. These women can't afford to pay, so we are not charging them. We want to bless them and give them an experience they will never forget. Teenage girls from local high schools will also be attending as well as women who are community leaders, because our aim is to empower all women in all spheres of life.
After SHINE18, our conference this year has become the talk of Northern India, with local media doing press releases, billboard advertising, and even politicians and Bollywood celebrities wanting to both attend and be seen supporting and advocating for this important cause.
Because of SHINE19 we are positive and confident that women's lives will be changed and empowered.
Through this we will see…
stronger lives, stronger families, stronger communities and a stronger India.
‘Project help India’ is pioneering this cause in this remote part of the world, so please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
If you could make a tax deductible donation to support our work, we would really appreciate this. And please spread the word if you might know people who might be passionate about human rights, human justice, anti-human trafficking, and who might be stirred to make a donation to this worthwhile cause (we need some help as the cost all adds up and is now close to $6000).
How you can help
1. Please share this blog to people you know whose business or company might like to support this wonderful cause…it’s tax deductible for them too.
2. Please make a donation.
Go to http://projecthelpindia.co/donate to make your tax-deductible donation in Australia
OR if tax deductibility is not required, your EFT donation can be made at
BSB: 062 230 (Commonwealth Bank Randwick)
Account: 1134 1909
Account Name: Project Help India
Please write your name and SHINE19 in the reference section so we can thank you.
With love and thanks for your support and interest.
We were shocked and saddened by last Friday’s tragedy in New Zealand. The loss of innocent lives is deeply confronting. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to those immediately impacted and their communities, particularly in schools across Christchurch. Due to the many educators who visit Claremont College, we have formed many close friendships with a number of schools in New Zealand, and so we have reached out to them offering our love, prayers and support.
Schools provide a safe and supportive environment for all students, staff and their community, and so our primary goal this week has been to review and consider our response to this tragedy. Each week, on a Monday morning, our Pastoral Care team meets to review the pastoral and wellbeing needs of students, staff and families. We evaluate issues from the week before and we plan how to best care for children and others across the week ahead. As a team we considered how we respond to the Christchurch tragedy and discussed what would be the best way to talk to the children. Our actions included:
GRANDPARENTS AND SPECIAL FRIENDS DAY
This week we were blessed to have so many Grandparents and special friends visit us. It was fun and very special. Congratulations to the children and teachers for your presentations. There was certainly a lot of love in the air!
HAPPY GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY
This weekend we celebrate Greek Independence Day. I look forward to being with many of our Greek families at Martin Place on Sunday.
NATIONAL FUTURE SCHOOLS EXPO AND CONVENTION
I have spent three days this week in Melbourne attending the ‘National Future Schools Expo and Convention’ which was attended by approximately three thousand delegates. It is always such an honour and privilege to talk about Claremont College. Yesterday I was a member of panel of Principals where we were asked to speak about ‘Strategies for School Leaders to Realise Learning Improvement’. I was also a keynote speaker at the ‘Future Leaders’ Strand where I presented on the topic ‘Planning for the future – change, strategic planning, and a leadership toolkit for disruption, and your personal wellbeing’. If you are interested, the slides of my talk have been uploaded to the school website. Click here to follow the link.
One of the things I love about conferences such as this, is the chance to hear cutting edge talks on a variety of topics that interest and are important to me. Some of the presentations I attended included the new Digital Technologies Curriculum, Positive Psychology in the school setting, researched based strategies for students with autism, latest research findings in brain based learning in children, future innovation and emotional resilience. All up, it was a productive time and I look forward to sharing my ideas and all I have learnt with the staff, and with you all.
As I gave my talk yesterday, I concluded by saying that we need to “keep things simple” and to not lose the perspective of the things that are most important to us all. Our communities must be places where people come first. For me, this means that we must prioritise hope, purpose, reconciliation, unity, diversity, empathy, compassion and most importantly… love.
Let’s continue to hold up Christchurch in our prayers. My heart also breaks for Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe as millions of people come to terms with the destruction of Cyclone Idai. Our world is certainly hurting. Even if it’s a ‘drop in the bucket’, and we are all positioned to make a difference.
Thank you for all you bring to our school community… It wouldn't be the same without you.
I am grateful for the opportunities that bring us together as a community, for it is in community, working together as a School and parent body, with our conversations together, our shared purpose, consultation and collaboration, that we find the solutions to best care for your children. For this reason, at a recent parent function, I shared my perspective on some heavy stuff, as a concerned and very grateful Principal, and also from my perspective, as a dad who has seen my three teenagers navigate and try to make sense of the world they are growing up in.
If you did not attend the event, I shared an experience of my childhood. My mother would often describe me (and probably still does) as “a little bugga” and I fully understand why. I sometimes did things that I am sure mystified her. Like the time in Grade 2, for no reason at all, I ran up to a girl at school and whacked her hard on the bottom. Our scary Deputy Principal at the time (who every child feared), summoned me to his office and proceeded to hit me on the hand with his thick black rubber pipe, which he affectionately called his "licorice stick”. I recall that moment clearly and I remember my mother saying that afternoon “well you must have deserved it!”. My mother asked no further questions and she directed no accountability for my punishment towards the Deputy or School. Times have certainly changed with some parents in this day and age, challenging schools, without placing any responsibility on their child for his or her actions (or on their own parenting). “My child would never be a do that!” one might say, and if a consequence is put in place, the school is unfairly criticised.
As we work together in a spirit of trust and respect, there is a healthy middle-ground.
With children growing up in a new world filled with new issues and concepts to those we experienced as children, and a very different to the world our mothers and fathers, we must work closely together. Take a child’s easy access to pornography for example. How necessary is it for both parents and the school to work together to help our children navigate this ugly territory? It both saddens and maddens me that psychologists and schools must now deal with a disorder termed ‘pre-adolescent porn addiction’. The majority of children aged 10, will have looked at explicit porn. My experience when working with these children who feel that they have done the wrong thing, is that they clam up and don’t say anything to their teacher or mum or dad. If it’s a group of children who have done the wrong thing there may be a code of silence, or they all point the finger of blame in different directions. It is easy for kids to live with the guilt and shame of their actions, often without telling a soul, way into adulthood. We must carefully balance the issues of debriefing, resolution, consequence, learning from mistakes, and knowing what is appropriate for the future. If we don’t do this well together, a child or young person’s mental health is certainly at risk.
How do we do this? The School and parents must work together in partnership. We certainly don’t blame or attack, should a child make a mistake. If we just ‘punish’ then our children will never come to us for help. As children get older, the challenges they will face will only become more difficult and complex. With children’s forms of social media thrown into the mix, it’s a foreign language for all of us adults.
It takes a community to support a child and it takes a community to support mum and dad. It takes great mums and dads to support a school. We are in this together, and on behalf of my entire staff team who work so tirelessly for your children, I offer you my sincere thanks, for working together with us to support your children.
Thanks @timmarshall for the fantastic image.