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December, 2005

Newsletter #14

Dear friends and supporters of the Anita Goulden Trust: In normal times you would have received by now a bumper Christmas number of our newsletter, bringing stories and pictures of the activities at La Sendita over recent months, together with news of the progress of individual children and young people. I must tell you how sorry I am that, instead, this newsletter is both late, and short on content, and I must explain why.

La Sendita Was Her Home

When Anita Goulden was alive, La Sendita was her home - it just happened to be full of disabled and disadvantaged children and young people. Her children, as she saw them. Your donations went to Anita, and she used them as she thought best. Since Anita died in early 2001 your Trustees have been struggling to find the right way to ensure that Anita's work can continue successfully and, indeed, develop and expand in the future. We have been encouraging our friends in Piura to arrange for the work to be overseen by a committee of well-intentioned and well-regarded local people, and to ensure that transparent accounts of a high professional standard are produced. We have been doing this because we feel that, now that Anita is no longer there, we are in a new situation, and that you, the donors who provide life and hope for the children, will want to know that the work is managed in the same way as that of reputable charities all over the world. These changes have proved to be extraordinarily difficult to make, and have inevitably caused some turmoil. A further complication, which not everyone may know of, is that unfortunately Anita died without leaving a legal will. This has caused many problems, not least over ownership of property and other legal matters, and these have been compounded by differences over management. The situation in Piura is still not as we would wish, and it sometimes seems as though, as soon as one problem is solved, several others spring up to take its place. Distance plays its part, of course, and local customs and different ways of doing things. We must hope that these difficult times will soon pass.

But the good news is that we do now have a full local committee, and an accountant who is producing detailed figures (although, for various reasons, she is still only catching up to last September). The new committee, all of whom I met and found most impressive during my visit to Piura in September and October of this year, has recommended the establishment of a new home, to be called The Anita Goulden Home (Hogar Anita Goulden). The Trustees have accepted this recommendation. The new home is now almost ready, and the intention is to start moving the children and young people into it (with the help of parents where possible) over the weekend 10/11 December. When this has been successfully achieved, and the new home is functioning properly, the local committee can turn its attention to resolving the legal and management problems of the old, and hopefully, one day, Anita's legacy will come together again. There is one further change which I should tell you about. The Trust has decided that in future the funds should be concentrated on support for disabled and disadvantaged children, and that we should no longer donate to the school, which is attended mainly by able-bodied children with families. There are, of course, several other schools in Piura to which these children can go. Arrangement will now be made for the children in the new home either to go to one of these schools in Piura or, if they have special needs which cannot be met by the schools, to receive the individual education they need in the home itself.

Annabel Returns to Peru

And so, we very much hope that the news, the pictures, and the success stories will follow shortly in the New Year. We shall certainly keep you informed. But we also very much hope that, despite the difficulties and uncertainties of recent times, you will feel able to continue to support the work of Anita Goulden in bringing safety, loving care, and opportunity to those children of Piura and the surrounding districts who need it so badly. A very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year, to everyone. Roger Brown, Chairman, The Anita Goulden Trust. PS. Stop Press! Just before taking this to the printer we heard that the children were moved last Friday, the 9th December. Leo says "They are all extremely well and happy, and being wonderful. I immediately imposed rules such as we all eat together and help - and this morning every single able-bodied child was hard at work. They are now sitting down and doing their homework". So that is wonderful news.