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Archive for February, 2011

Featured Volunteer – ANGELA WONG

We are proud to present Angela Wong as our featured volunteer this quarter. Angela has been dedicated to our cause while completing a Masters degree in Pacific studies at UBC. She has successfully organized Paper Kite’s involvement and led volunteers during a major public relations event with Deepak Chopra.

Angela’s on-going commitment continued while she raised $1000 through a personal fundraiser during the holiday season from friends and family. $1000 has purchased one month of food for an orphanage of 80 children, including fruits which the children rarely receive.

Angela’s generous commitment has set a wonderful example and demonstrated the power of individuals to effect remarkable change. Volunteers with her passion and dedication are so hard to come by. Her strong dedication, commitment and compassion has made a difference in the lives of the children in Bihar, India.

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Helping children for Profit or Compassion?

“You’re helping children here in India and you’re not getting a profit?” I was asked this question by a young man while writing my last blog in a café. He was more surprised when I told him I paid for my own flight, hotel and food. At first I did not give much thought to his question, but after a few days I realized I did not answer his question. The young man was shocked that I used my own efforts, resources, energy and time to come to Bihar, India to help children without earning a profit. At first, I thought the reason I am here is because of compassion, but that does not completely answer the question. Compassion is feeling what others feel. Not only did I purchase items that the orphanages needed, like food, medicine, school supplies and clothing, I spent time in each orphanage and connected with the staff and children. But why did I do that? I did it because I could!

I live in a country of plenty and I am not limited. We have basic necessities like food, water, clothing and shelter. We have access to stable and reliable electrical power. We have schools in our communities and we have advanced resources. I have received formal education and see a doctor and dentist once a year. The sight of fruit, something all children need daily, excited the children like a chocolate bar did to me as a child. With the dedicated team of volunteers in Canada, we are unlimited. Each one of us in Paper Kite has made a difference in the lives of the children. I have been a part of and seen the difference we are making.

To me it’s not about profit – it’s about personal connection. I now have the faces of the children in the homes imprinted in my mind and heart. I will never forget them. I am more passionate now than ever before. When I went into Jeanamitabh for the first time three weeks ago, I read a poster in one of the classrooms which is a good conclusion to my blogs.

“Never, never, never, never give up!”

Thank you for reading my blogs and for your continued support for Paper Kite Children’s Foundation.

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Being busy does not escape being poor

Field Blog from Johannes Jenkner – a Paper Kite volunteer in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India

My first impression of India is that people are very busy. The streets are full of people and they all run around minding their business. My friend in Delhi told me that people love their work and they work late hours. In other words, their work sometimes might not be as efficient as in other countries, but they are very devoted and dedicate a lot of time to their work.

At the train station in Patna, there was a woman with her 4 or 5 year old daughter. She let her daughter present some acrobatics while she played the drums. I am sure they do it all the time to get some money in order to survive. On the train, I was placed in the comfort class, but it was still the oldest train coach I have ever sat in. A girl wiped the floor of the coach with a binding of leaves and then asked for some rupee coins, which is just a few cents.

I got a similar picture when I arrived in Bodhgaya where our orphanages are situated. The main streets are packed with people, monks on the way to one of the numerous temples, rickshaw drivers offering a ride, people buying their daily needs and a lot of beggars. People seem to enjoy what they are doing, but they have to do most things from scratch. Bricks for construction are fabricated in the fields around Bodhgaya from a special kind of clay. Metal is processed at multiple places in the streets. We went to one of those places to buy a metal box for the Sunway orphanage. The idea is that each child there has a box for personal items. A lot of trading and bargaining is done at the farmer’s market in Gaya. We went there to buy vegetables and fruit for the Sunway orphanage. People take their time there to check the quality of the products and then to discuss the price. It is very busy though, and you can barely stand still, because people are pushing from all sides.

In summary, I have to say that most people are really eager here to make something out of their lives. However, the conditions are very poor and people have to work hard just to have a small home with brick walls that they share with multiple family members. The poorest still live in simple cottages made from cotton. I do not want to imagine how those homes look like when it rains. The people deserve support from abroad and they might acknowledge it a lot. Paper Kite invests in children who will make up the next generations of Indian people in Bihar. So we can hopefully contribute a tiny bit to offer Bihar a more prosperous future.

Johannes Jenkner

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Helping Dreams Come True – Part 2

On January 28th, Tarik told us the story of Rajesh, a 15 yr old boy he met at Jeanamitabh Orphanage.  Despite the daily struggles he faces due to his lack of mobility from the chest down, Rajesh still maintains a positive outlook on life and keeps dreaming of a successful future for himself.   Tarik’s description of how Rajesh spends his days laying on a blanket and depending on 4 other boys in order to be transported from one area to the next really touched our hearts and motivated us to make a difference.
Tarik expressed his disappointment in not being able to provide Rajesh with a wheelchair during his trip due to Paper Kite’s lack of funds.  Upon reading these words, we, the remaining Board Members in Vancouver found it unacceptable for Tarik to leave Bihar without providing Rajesh with the mobility and independence that a simple wheelchair would provide.  As Board Members for Paper Kite we are proud to come together and personally donate the funds required to provide Rajesh with a wheelchair and consequently, the autonomy he deserves.
On behalf of all Board Members (Amanda Rogers, Brigitte Prud’Homme, and Gerry Wahl), I would also like to thank Tarik for all his hard work and dedication during his stay in Bihar – It is true what they say; COMPASSION DOES BREED COMPASSION.

Kind Regards,

Isabel Estan (Paper Kite Vice-President)

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Giving dreams flight in 2012

Today I went to purchase the wood and metal for the chairs, tables and bed for Sunway Children Home. These items will be used by the children at the home. As well, Paper Kite will be purchasing cement, bricks, sand and stone to repair drainages from the home. All the orphanages sign a service agreement before accepting donated items from Paper Kite. The agreement states that all donated items will stay in the home and will be used for the sole benefit of the children. Removal of the donated items will terminate our sponsorship. Our next Paper Kite volunteer that comes to Bodhgaya, Bihar, India will come unannounced to ensure the items are still at the locations and being used by the children. We structured Paper Kite to ensure maximum effectiveness. The items we are purchasing will have a direct impact on the daily lives of the children. Our volunteers will be involved throughout the whole process to ensure the work gets done property.

It has been a great pleasure to be a part of this whole process. From founding this great cause, connecting with others who are passionate and dedicated, to returning to India and seeing how our hard work has made a difference. Seeing the children eat the food we buy, take the medicine we purchased, and attend school now sitting on a bench instead of the floor. It is so beautiful! A little does make a large difference. Donating money or your valuable time contributes to the happiness and future of the children. I have witnessed this and I will never give up!

There are many opportunities to help our cause, including coming to India in 2012. I will be posting the details on our website soon. There will also be an opportunity to explore India during the next trip. Please let us know if you are interested and we will contact you with details. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog :)

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