Hoping for Hope!

From the age of about ten I got hooked on helping, developing a passion for volunteering once I realised that little old me could actually make a worthwhile difference in this crazy world. I must thank the www.wwf.org.uk as they were the ones who put on a sponsored walk in my local park and this gave me the opportunity to take part in something which had a tangible result. Raising money and giving my time gave me a buzz back then and has done repeatedly over the years for the many community and charity projects I’ve been involved in.

Creating a community orchard
Creating a community orchard

So 34 years on from that WWF walk I’m currently working full-time fundraising for a Hospice charity but I have been looking for an interesting challenge for a little while now. I’ve jumped out of a plane for NSPCC and climbed the highest mountain in North Africa for Rainbow Trust, helped build our local Community Centre and done several years political volunteering standing for elections etc. amongst other things but it’s been a few years since I’ve felt excited about a new…big project.

Rainbow trek in Morocco (I'm in yellow)
Rainbow trek in Morocco (I'm in yellow)

As I know I can’t actually fix the entire world (although I do sometimes lay awake at 3am trying to work this out) I would have to say the two things I currently focus on are animals and children. My previous job was fundraising for an animal sanctuary and I’m a dedicated vegan. I also have two rapidly growing children who are my world and I cannot bear to see children suffering anywhere on the planet.

Getting political !
Getting political !

So having been looking for something to help with for a little while two programmes touched me and gave me the direction I’d been looking for. First of all watching TV presenter Saira Khan in Adopting Abroad being handed a tiny baby left on the orphanage steps in Pakistan completely broke my heart. As a lifelong feminist, the fact that this was a baby girl really hit hard, one of the lucky ones not left to die alone soon after birth on a rubbish tip in a culture which values males far above females.

The second programme was Kolkata with Sue Perkins which highlighted the work of The Hope Foundation with street and slum children in this Indian city of 15 million people. I was sold. Hope needed volunteers and I had my cause.

So I’ve applied to spend 3 weeks in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) volunteering plus fundraising in advance and trying to help raise the profile of this incredible little charity which I will tell you more about over the next few months. With working full-time and having a family I can only commit to the minimum volunteering stint of 3 weeks. So while I wait for the interview and reference process to be completed, I’d love to hear comments from you of the things which have made you jump up off the sofa and do something useful with your life and any tips and advice on travelling and staying in India also appreciated. Please post your comments below…

Sue with the street children The Hope Foundation helps
Sue with the street children The Hope Foundation helps

Results of the Fire Walk

Thank you to everyone who sponsored me for the Fire Walk in the autumn for WESC. Maggie – the fundraiser who organised it has emailed me to say:

fire

“It was indeed an epic Fire Walk this year, caused by the weather, but our brave Fire Walking team all overcame the elements, and we now know that nearly £2000 has been raised to support the children and young people here at WESC Foundation.

Everyone overcame their fears and did something incredible, and in so doing have raised this impressive total. This money will allow 2 of the young people who attend WESC all year round, to have a week long break at The Calvert Trust on Exmoor, where they can experience exciting and challenging outdoor activities. The activities include abseiling, sailing, challenge courses, zip wires, climbing, riding and much, much more. At The Calvert Trust, they will learn that it is what they can do that counts, and their confidence will literally soar.

They too, can then feel that same amazing sense of achievement when they overcome a challenge, that you all experienced at the Fire Walk.

Thank you all so much for joining in, doing it and making a difference,

Maggie”

Isn’t this wonderful ! Thanks everyone.