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April, 2007

Newsletter #16

The Director, Alicia, with some of her charges.

The Director, Alicia, with some of
her charges

Reflections after comforting 24 small orphaned children following the tragic death of little Lucho: We know tears and loss but they reinforced us. People who have never known tears have never known warmth of peace and the comforting strength of God. (Quote from Anita Goulden.)

Message From the Chairman

Roger Brown: 'On the road again' - Regular readers will remember that towards the end of 2005 the Anita Goulden Home moved from the old La Sendita building into a newly rented house with better facilities. The local management committee had hoped that the Home could remain there for some years, but in a new development the owners of the house, a family living in Lima, have now returned to Piura and, quite naturally, want it back. So once again the Hogar Anita Goulden is on the move. Another house (in the Miraflores district) has been found to rent, and the move is taking place as I write, over the weekend of 24/25 March. This latest development has convinced the local committee, and your trustees, that the only real, long-term solution to the problem of providing the best surroundings and opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged children and young people in Piura is to purchase a plot of land there, and put up a new building designed and constructed for the purpose. This will be a major undertaking, and of course the main burden of planning and execution will fall on the excellent local committee. But they are well up to that task, and the trustees in the UK will give them every possible support, including, if it should turn out to be needed, advice from experts specialising in designing for children with disabilities.

We will keep you fully informed as plans proceed. In the meantime the local committee is also embarking on a scheme to help those residents of the Home who are now young adults to live independently or semi-independently, so that, with support from the Home, they can continue to develop and fulfil their potential. The committee is also looking at the possibilities for co-operation with other local charitable organisations, while still preserving the individual character of the Home. All these activities depend entirely on your support, and I, and the other trustees, once again want to express our appreciation and gratitude for your encouragement and donations. It is quite literally, thanks to you that Anita Goulden's work can be continued. Please continue to help us.

Regular readers will also know of the tremendous contribution made to the redevelopment and reorganisation of the Home in 2005 and 2006 by Leonora Borg (Leo to all who know her) who spent many months in Piura working with the local committee and ensuring a smooth transition to an altogether better Home, where the needs of the children could be properly met. All the children adored Leo, and they were not the only ones, for we now learn with delight that she and Victor Riega, the young lawyer from Piura who was until recently Vice-Chairman of the local committee, are to be married in May. After their wedding Leo (who will shortly become a Trustee of The Anita Goulden Trust) and Victor will live in London, and we are very glad that they will both keep up their close connection with the Home. Congratulations and every happiness to them both.

Annabel Returns to Peru

Hugo with two of his paintings.

Hugo with two of his paintings

In October 2006, Annabel Buchan, the Trust's Administrator, returned to Peru after several years with Sallie and Dick Morgan, to spend one week in the town of Piura lying 1000 kilometres north of Lima in the coastal desert where Anita Goulden founded her Home for abandoned children some 50 years earlier. Our aim was to meet the new committee of local volunteers now overseeing the running of the new Home and to observe how it has developed in the past four years since Anita's death. Above all we looked forward to spending time with the children. This was a long anticipated trip and then suddenly we were there and "Anita's children", now young adults and the special children, were greeting us with smiles and laughter. They all looked well and happy, the older ones busy with courses and planning their futures, the disabled benefiting from the therapies specially adapted to their needs. Ivan and Karina can now walk unaided, the latter with the help of leg braces. Jaime who, since our visit has won the gold medal for the 100 metres walking race in the Special Children's Olympics, enjoyed several games of chess at which he is very skilled and always wins

Other boys joined in spirited games of table tennis. All are now attending various local schools best suited to their needs. Rosmery, though still paralysed from the waist down, has graduated from a wheelie bed to a wheelchair which enables her to pursue law studies at the local University. Others are qualifying in fashion, art and design, administration and dentistry. The Trust aims to ensure that all the able-bodied members of the Home are in a position to lead independent lives before they leave the Home. Severely disabled members have a permanent home here. Hugo, who lost both his legs in a motor accident now lives independently away from the Home and he set out his impressive paintings and sculptures for us to see. He is studying at the College of Art in Piura and hopes to qualify soon as a teacher of Art. He is currently gaining some practice by teaching a class on Saturday mornings at the Home. Everyone still feels keenly the absence of Anita who gave so much love to so many children. Their written testimonies bear this out poignantly and some will soon appear in a slim volume together with other tributes plus extracts from Anita's own fascinating accounts of her experiences in Peru. We were delighted to see again many of the same nurses and assistants who were there when we last visited the Home several years ago. They are truly wonderful people whose loyalty to and love for the children is a shining example of goodness.

Sallie Morgan and Jaime.

Sallie Morgan and Jaime

They will tell you that Anita taught them well. Rollo, who previously acted as an occasional driver, is a tower of strength now, carrying the disabled where necessary, pushing the wheelchair- bound on daily walks to the nearby gardens and curbing the wildness of one or two of the boys who can suddenly become hyperactive and therefore disruptive. The new posts of Director and Administrator have been filled and both are well qualified, committed Peruvian ladies who are beginning to bring the children together into more of a family group once again. The Hogar Anita Goulden is moving forward, of course changed in some ways but still providing a caring, loving home for the desperately poor, deprived, sick and disabled children in this remote corner of Peru. The tremendous gratitude and appreciation felt there for the continuing support from Anita's well wishers in the UK makes it all the more important to redouble our efforts on their behalf. We were extremely grateful for the generous hospitality and assistance provided by Sra Anita Mollet - an old friend of Anita Goulden - and for her introduction to Sra Lola Lama, aged 95 with whom Anita Goulden lived when she first arrived in Piura and whose admiration for her remains unbounded.

Leo Borg Gives Us the Latest News from Piura

Leaving the UK in snow, I arrived during the peak of another scorching Piuran summer. The children and young people greeted me with flowers and plenty of hugs. They were all excited to tell me their latest news, which included all the children passing their end of year exams; and Alvaro being reunited with his father. The Home is progressing well, with the staff continuing their excellent work. Marly, the new administrator, joined the team three months ago and is a huge asset. Some excellent new ideas are being put in place, such as involving the parents more and working alongside a nutritionist to produce healthier meals. Whilst I was in Piura, the bishop paid us a visit. The children prepared a ceremony, which included Kevin (who is paralysed) reading; Esther singing; Miguel playing the piano and the disabled children and young people putting on a performance to music. The bishop was extremely impressed with the Home.

One of the children.

One of the children

Cezar and Audencio, two adults with learning disabilities who were in the Home, are both living independently now, having been supported by the committee to find work. Cezar is living with his relatives in Lima and working for a fizzy drinks company; Audencio is working for a car rental firm, who also provide him with accommodation and food. Cezar rang the committee recently to say how proud he is to be helping his family; Audencio visited the Home whilst I was there and is very happy with his new life. Hugo, who used to be in the Home as a child, is now teaching the children and young people art in the Home - their work is stunning under his tuition. The Home is unique to northern Peru and there are over twenty children with disabilities waiting for a place in Hogar Anita Goulden. The committee are therefore considering expanding the Home to respond to the immense need. The Trust and committee continue to work closely together to continue Anita's work - thank you to everyone for your help, and a big thank you from all the children too!

Dr. Bach Flower Remedies

Our sincere thanks to The Director of the Dr. Bach Flower Centre in Wallingford who donated a complete box of Remedies to the Hogar Anita Goulden. Anita Goulden treated several of her severely disabled children very successfully with these Remedies and the current Director is continuing to administer them to the children, in particular Trinidad (see photograph), with spectacular results. They give a positive outlook to the future and help manage the emotional demands of everyday life.

Anita Goulden's Work on Dvd

We are making some DVDs of the original films of Anita visiting the villages in the mountains and her work during the cholera outbreak in the early 90s. We also have a DVD of the present children and staff. The films of Anita, called "For the Sake of the Children" and "Until Tomorrow Comes", are wonderful and very moving, while the DVD of today's children made during her visit by Leonora Borg, is also delightful. If you would like a copy, please let me know. The cost will probably be in the region of £8 (plus postage).

Memories Of Anita

Karina with Vera.

Karina with Vera

Sallie Morgan still hopes to receive more personal memories of Anita for her collection of tributes and excerpts of Anita's own writings which will be published in the near future. Send your contributions to me (Annabel Buchan) and I will pass them on.

Financial Report By David Thomas

The running costs of the Home are now higher than the Trust's regular monthly income. We do depend entirely on donations and we are most grateful to all our supporters. We have a reserve fund, which means the monthly shortfall is not of immediate concern, but the long term future care of the children does depend on increasing donations. But a significant part of our funds will be needed so that we can confidently support the Committee in Piura in their plans to build a house that will give the stability and security that the Home requires, and our hope is that your support will help us to keep these funds replenished. The trustees will make sure that the funding of the new house does not jeopardise our main objective of providing ongoing support, treatment and education for the children. The New Gift Aid Scheme in the past has been a huge success and we have been able to increase your donations substantially because we have been able to claim 28p in every pound you send us if you are a basic tax payer.

The Chancellor, in his last Budget, cut the basic rate of income tax to 20 per cent which will mean that we can only claim 25p back. To compensate for this shortfall means that we will need to increase our donations by 3% to maintain current income levels. This will make an enormous difference to our finances so if you are a tax payer and have not already signed the Gift Aid form (enclosed) please do so now when you send your donation. Another way to help us is to give a donation via Standing Order. This is popular from our point of view because we then have some idea of how much money is likely to come in during the year. Several of you already use this method and if you would like to increase the amount you give, please use the enclosed form.