On Fri 20 Apr, I had the privilege of being invited to Project Hope. This is one of the many projects run by The Rosie May Foundation, an international charity helping children, mainly girls, in Sri Lanka and Nepal. The charity was set up by Graham and Mary Storrie after the murder of their ten-year-old daughter, Rosie May, in 2003.
Project Hope offers single mothers at risk of abandoning their babies and children, the support and opportunity to empower them, to help themselves. Also, to improve their life chances and outcomes, and those of their children. It also offers an alternative to unnecessary institutionalisation for babies and children.
Project Hope is behind the Think Pink Sri Lanka – Women Driving for Women Scheme. They have recently trained 3 single parent ladies, living below the poverty line to drive Tuk Tuk’s, Pink ones! The aim is to provide an income for these women, but also to provide safety for other women using them.
I was met with the biggest of smiles from the ladies and children. I could immediately see the sheer determination and courage that they possess. What struck me most was how happy the children were, full of laughter and mischievousness. In fact, just the way children should be.
Self Defence Class
I was there to teach the ladies basic self defence. The aim was to give them the self esteem and confidence needed, whilst out trying to earn a living, in a very male dominated line of work. The language barrier was a problem at first, but a very shy 12 year old girl who spoke very good English (gained from the classes offered at Project Hope), helped translate for me. I broke the stages of an attack into Safe, Ready and Action. I also taught the ladies how to deal with different types of attacks and how to recognise where they may come from. The ladies (and children!) threw themselves into the class and put on their best aggressive faces.
By the end of the session, they were all confident that they could defend themselves, if required. More importantly they now understand how and where a potential attack could come from.
Nirosha, one of the female Tuk Tuk drivers cooked my wife and I the most amazing Sri Lankan lunch, fit for a King. When they found out that Nicky was vegetarian, she made her the most delicious soya meatballs.
As we were leaving they asked when I was coming to deliver the next session – hopefully soon!
This is an amazing charity, doing simply wonderful things. Please take a look at their website (www.rosie-may.com). You can sponsor a child for £25 a month, which ensures that a child who is abandoned or who loses a parent, can still get the basic education that every child deserves.
This was probably one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and I was completely overwhelmed and humbled by the spirit of the ladies and children.
Thank you for inviting me!
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