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April, 2006

Newsletter #15

Sergio P Harris.

Sergio P Harris

Yesterday is already a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. (Quote from Anita Goulden.)

Message From the Chairman

Roger Brown: Regular readers will know that recent years have been difficult ones for the Trust, and for the home in Piura. Anita Goulden's death in 2002 caused not only great sadness and loss, but also difficulties in administration and management on the ground, and your Trustees have been wrestling with these problems. I am now very glad to be able to report that solutions have been found, and that there is every reason to believe not only that Anita's wonderful work with the disabled and disadvantaged can continue, but that it can be carried forward and expanded in many different ways. In January the children, young people, and most of the staff, moved into new premises with a new name: The Anita Goulden Home (El Hogar Anita Goulden). A new Director, Nori, has been appointed, and a new management committee made up of local people is in place, chaired by Amarilis Ramirez, a local lawyer. And over the last few months enormous progress has made with the children's health, education and care, while they have had a great deal of fun and amusement as well. Much of this is reported in this newsletter by Leo Borg, a young British woman volunteer who has been one of the main architects of the transformation, along with the members of the local committee. Two things remain the same: the inspiration of Anita Goulden's life of service to others, and of course, the fact that the support we wish to provide to the home can only come from your support for the Trust. Do please help us if you can. With thanks, and all good wishes.

Leo Borg With Latest News

Now that summer has drawn to a close, the children are all starting at their new schools. Paul Harris school has accepted many of the children with disabilities, including Jose Luis, Veronica and Sergio. The able-bodied children are at San Jose school, which they are enjoying hugely and making new friends fast. Karina and Jefferson are at a special private school, as both children are physically but not mentally disabled and therefore need a quieter environment in which to study and be accepted into. They attend 4 de Enero primary school, which has just 10 pupils in each class. Both are progressing rapidly, and Karina, especially, is blooming - she is becoming outgoing and confident. The summer holidays (mid-December to mid-March) were great fun - the able-bodied children were swimming, playing football, volley and karate. They came away with first place in both swimming and football competitions, and 8 karate students were awarded their yellow belt. The children and young adults with disabilities were doing a lot more physical therapy, plus starting language therapy.

They also went swimming, went to the park and the cinema on a regular basis. In addition we had daily English classes. Ketty Tomes visited for a week and proved a huge support, cheering all the children on! Many of the children have made incredible alterations over the last 3 months. Jaime (19), who did not speak, now sings around the home; Johny Javier (12) is suddenly growing at the rate of knots and is responding to verbal communication; Trinidad is learning to communicate with small movements and using her voice; Karla is learning to read and write; Sergio can sit through a whole film behaving well; Karina is walking, as is Chavela; Rosmeri is applying for a university scholarship after receiving excellent grades; Brenda is speaking semi-fluent English; Miguel is learning to play the piano. We have some new and returned children in the hogar. Esther and Lander have come back to the home. Ivan, Danilo, Dalton, Mirko and Jefferson are new to it. Four of them were street children, working and sleeping on the street; Jefferson has Hydrodysphalia and cannot walk. Besides Isobel, the new language therapist, we have Fernando the fantastic psychologist and most importantly, Nori Figallo, the new director. Nori started 2 months ago and is so far doing a wonderful job. As a school director previously, she is accustomed to controlling a large number of children and is firm but very kind and loving with all the children. And a great doer!

The Peruvian committee welcomed Arturo as its newest member, who is a professor at ALAS Peruanas university and a huge asset. Meetings take place weekly between the committee, plus separate meetings with Nori and Fernando. Regular staff and children meetings have also been set up and a new fundraising committee in Piura is being started, which will include 2 of the older adolescents from the home. Plans for the future of the home and children include involving more Peruvians in the hogar as volunteers and donors. I am pleased to say that many people here really do want to help - we already have some great volunteers, who are teaching t-shirt printing, taking the kids to church, helping in the park and doing music with the children. It is really becoming a charity run by Peruvians who express a huge amount of care and give vast amounts of time to Anita's children. It is wonderful to see. Some of the older children, after speaking to Fernando, are opting for alternative career paths - Cindy will start studying to become a chef; Brenda will change from psychology to languages. Audencio, Cesar and Jaime will start part-time work whilst studying (art, computers, school). And in the longer-term, we are looking to help some of the disabled young adults live semi-independent lives. Hogar Anita Goulden is focusing on giving the children all the tools needed so that they have the opportunity to develop to their fullest. As bright young adults they will in turn be able to make fundamental changes to their country and worldwide.

Anita Had Several Stories About the Children

Most of them are too long for this newsletter, but here is one about Dilma: This child lives in the Cordillera. Her father asked me to have her and try and teach her something. She was only 6 years old and was blind from birth. Knowing her village and the dangers around, she was accepted immediately. There is always a little space for an invalid child from the mountains. I had her lungs checked, treated her for parasites, cleaned and cleared her of Pique. This is a parasite found in animals and usually forms a bag full of small eggs which eventually bursts and has to be treated. I usually burst the bag and clean with cotton wool and agua oxigenado and peroxide. After several months of tonics and regular food, I suddenly realised I had never taken her to an eye specialist. Her father had told me she was blind from birth, but knowing the Cordillera it was pretty certain she had never seen a doctor. I took her to the specialist who is also a friend, and asked him if there was anything he could do for her eyes. I nearly passed out when he said, "Anita, there is a chance but the operation must be done right away." I could only tell him, "Pepe, I do not have a cent." He said, "I will speak to the specialist at the hospital, and you must pray." I began walking home and wondered how I could raise the money for her medicine and hospital operation. An anonymous American used to send us 50 dollars a month which went on food. Dare we risk that money for the hospital operation? It would not cover it all. Then I thought, "Why, God Almighty, has this child to be denied sight because of lack of money?"

I then asked myself, "What kind of faith in God was mine?" I had to leave everything to Him. We walked home and I tried hard to dismiss all thoughts of the problem. When we got home 2 men were waiting for me. One introduced himself as a radio announcer and the other as a member of an orchestra who wanted to do something for charity. They wanted to know if they could help. We arranged a dance which was a roaring success. We had enough money now for the operation AND food. The night before entering the hospital, I asked Dilma, "If the specialists are successful with the operation, what would you like to see first of all?" I was sure she would say "my mother" or "my father". You can imagine my surprise when she said, "The Moon." I asked her why and she said, "Because it is the light of the world." She was 8 years old when she had the operation and she is now in the process of developing her sight. She still has to develop the art of judging distances and no doubt this will come in time. Her greatest pleasure is to see the colours of the cars and I have to take her out for her daily view of colours. Dilma's verdict: Colours are one of the most beautiful gifts of God.

Financial Report

Thanks to the generosity of contributors and the unpaid volunteers who administer the Trust at very low cost, we are covering the full running costs of the home in Piura and have been able to create a cash reserve. We do not aim to hold excessive reserves, but having a cash cushion has been of critical importance because without this money in reserve it would not have been possible responsibly to take on the commitment to the lease and the staff of the new Anita Goulden Home. The costs of setting up the new home and for running it in these early stages, are now being reported by the committee in monthly accounts. The costs have been higher than incoming donations over recent months, but happily we can support this out of reserves for the time being. This will give the committee time to develop supplementary sources of income locally in Peru that will secure the future of the Home for the long term.

Memories of Anita

Sallie Morgan is compiling a "slim volume" of stories, sayings, photographs etc in memory of Anita Goulden. If any of you have letters or tapes from her, do please share them with Sallie. You can send them directly to her at: 13 White Horse Street, Hereford, HR4 0EP, UK OR to Annabel Buchan at: The Anita Goulden Trust, 144 Bronsart Road, London, SW6 6AB, UK.

Donations

Thank you to all of you who have sent donations - both large and small. It is wonderful to know that there are so many of you who support the Trust. Thank you also to those of you who support the Trust through standing orders. It is such a help to know that we can rely on a certain amount of money coming in each year.

Christmas Cards

We will be starting to sell Christmas cards again this year. It has been a year or two without one, but the children are working on something and details will be circulated in September.