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Project HappyChild NEWS - Issue 9
1st May 1999
Welcome to Issue 9 of Project HappyChild News.
This English version of the Newsletter is online at http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/news/1999/05.htm
As usual we'd like to welcome our new subscribers for this issue. During April there have been over 10,000 visitors to the site [this doesn't include our access here for pagebuilding, or the regular on-line checks for mail etc.] - we would like to thank everyone for their support.
As you may have noticed we have had the usual run of problems with the visitor count, where our Internet Server has regularly returned the count to zero during the course of work on the server (this affects other sites as well as our own and unfortunately we have no way of preventing this).
The count was last zeroed on 20th April (at time of writing). We were told it would be restored (it hasn't been, yet!) but Rob McInnes at Force 9 has kindly offered to help us set up some sort of independent visitor count on their CGI server. This may take a while (a) identifying the right counter to deal with the increasing access level whilst also preserving the anonymity of visitors from certain countries, and (b) actually setting this up and changing the html code on many of our pages. So please bear with us on this one.
Our thanks to Arash Farahmand of Japan Window who has put up a link to Project HappyChild from their education page, and to Matthew Charlesworth who has linked from the National Schools Network in South Africa - also to Kingston-upon-Hull City Council, and The Ockenden Venture (in the Directory) whose uploaded links were discovered recently. We've been advised that a number of other links will be included in due course.
We'd like to thank Carl Laidler of Virtual Intersoft for their recent publicity of Project HappyChild (in a software mailing) and subsequent donation of funds to help with the ongoing costs of maintaining this website. Intersoft have a wide range of educational and reference software (including items like house and garden design, golf coaching, and cookery), as well as games like Theme Park, Titanic, and Need for Speed III (car-racing), at discounts of anything up to 75%.
We have now been able to build the pages for listings of Schools and Universities in Russia and Singapore. The listing of Russia schools - "Russian School Education on the Internet" (which we located at School No. 172 in Moscow) seems to be a massive resource, with endless listings of schools by district and sub-district. We understand this is a humanitarian school and e-mailed them to ask for details of approximately how many schools are listed in total. We've just (30th April) had an e-mail from Vladislav Tikhomirov (author of the list) advising that he'll let us know when the English-language version of the list is on line.
We also discovered an excellent resource called Russophilia, set up by Rita Bogna, a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of South Australia and the High Court of Australia, which lists several hundred resources for higher education in Russia.
With respect to Singapore schools, we discovered 363 schools listed at the Singapore Government education site. There is a description for each school (including details of languages spoken at each) along with a detailed location map for each establishment. We didn't find any access to schools websites but only tested a small sample of schools - the Singapore government have since been in touch and we have asked them to keep us posted of any developments in listing schools websites, so that we can put details up on the site.
Schools and universities in Russia and Singapore are linked from the Eurasia page at Schools Interchange - http://www.happychild.org.uk/schools/eurasia/index.htm .
We discovered the location of the Singapore schools via a link from the Jersey government site - Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have been added to the main UK index at Schools Interchange [ http://www.happychild.org.uk/schools/uk/index.htm ], as it didn't seem appropriate to include Crown Dependencies in any of the UK area subdivisions.
There has been a significant development in another respect, when we were researching areas of Asia for Schools Interchange. We discovered a page about Regent Schools, and after e-mailing Regent were directed to their current website which has more up-to-date information - and then we found out about Project Hope.
China has literally millions of illiterate children. This is an awesome discovery. Many of the children would like to be educated but there either "aren't schools" for them, or they have had to "drop out" because their parents are unable to afford the costs of $50 per year [this in a country where 85 million people fall below the "poverty line" drawn at an annual income of $32].
In 1989 the Chinese Youth Development Foundation initiated "Project Hope" to attract sponsorship of individual pupils and funds for the building of more schools. By the end of 1997 this Project had given 1.85 million children the chance to return to school and funded the building of 5256 Hope Primary Schools.
You'll find more information about Regent Schools and Project Hope on the Schools China page [ http://www.happychild.org.uk/schools/eurasia/chn.htm ] which is also linked from the Appeals China page at http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/appeals/eurasia/chn.htm .
We received a delightful e-mail from a couple who have been in industry for the past 12 years and are now returning to teaching, helping to set up a CofE school in Macau, a Portuguese colony near Hong Kong [this is now on line at http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/views/index.htm ]. It's excellent to discover that the educational resource links of the site are now becoming accessible by children over a much wider geographical area.
Also in the Guestbook is the "Jodie Choules" appeal - this isn't in the Appeals area as it's slightly different from the charity-based Appeals and Projects which are usually housed in this area - but we thought it should receive publicity somewhere on the site. Maybe someone out there reading this can help ....
Our thanks go to Sue Morris who has kindly provided some contact information (USA website and UK postal) re Erb's Palsy, which has now been added to the Syndromes links index. Additional info for this index is always welcomed - http://www.happychild.org.uk/syndromes/index.htm .
Michael Tipper's April articles went up on the site a few days ago [http://www.happychild.org.uk/acc/tpr/index.htm ], and his May articles should be up before the next issue of this Newsletter. As many of our subscribers will know, Mike doesn't add articles for the series during June and July (previously because of taking part in the World Memory Championships, at which he became an International GrandMaster of Memory last year - this year because he's organising the Championships) so there's likely to be a break until August or September. Meanwhile Michael has mentioned in passing that there's a World Learning Day in planning for later this year (where children are to be taught methods of accelerated learning in football stadiums linked by satellite worldwide) - I'll include more details about this when I have them.
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INDEX
The "general" section at the foot of this index is gradually developing, with links added recently to the White House (USA), the Australian parliament, and to Prince Charles's personal website where he is calling for a public debate on the need for genetically-modified crops - http://www.happychild.org.uk/wks/index.htm .
The next four articles from Kathryn are in preparation, but won't be on line for a few days yet (the pagebuilding schedule is as usual fairly heavy here!).
PROJECT HAPPYCHILD DIRECTORY
All amendments notified during the last four weeks for the Directory and Index have now been uploaded to the site. We would be grateful if charities concerned could check their Directory page entry, linked shadow page, and the Directory index and shadow index to verify that all notified items are correct - http://www.happychild.org.uk/dir/index.htm .
This month has seen another increase in the number of charities going "on line" and we are delighted to say that 75% of all organizations in the Directory now have their own Internet access. This compares with only 25% a year ago. It has to be admitted that this makes things radically easier here (eg for sending out this newsletter etc.!) but also because it reduces our dependence on email2fax facilities. We have limited free use of such facilities and with an increasing number of visitors to the site now making contact with charities in the Directory, it reduces the email2fax usage if they are able to make contact directly from the site rather than through the email2fax gateways. Currently we still have some degree of room to manoeuvre within our "free" allocation but we'd like to thank those organizations who have notified us of their recently-gained e-mail facilities, as this has freed up additional use of the gateways for other organizations in the Directory who are not yet on line.
SPONSORED EVENTS and GENERAL EVENTS
We're currently awaiting more info from the UK National Eczema Society re two planned events - the "24 hour wrap" (aimed at raising awareness of eczema in schools) and their "Three Seas Challenge", a sponsored bike ride in Israel. Provided the details reach us in time, we hope to have these on line before the date of the next issue.
APPEALS AND PROJECTS
We've recently been contacted by the Betesda charitable foundation, based in Galati, in SE Romania.They are working to help street children and poor families in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. They have a home for street children in Galati where 15 children live at present, and they also give help to poor familes whose children are at risk of becoming street children. Some of these children come regularly to their day centre where they can can have a shower, food, and some basic education. Most of them don't know to read or to write and the foundation wants to give more direct help to those kids who would like to go to schools but don't have the necessary clothes, shoes, school materials, transport or homework support.
Galati is a town of around 450,000 people (a third of whom have a real struggle to get by) and the number of children on the street is already 100-150, with more at risk because their families have difficulty in providing for their basic needs.
We'll be putting up something about the Betesda foundation in the Appeals section shortly - in the meantime if anyone can offer any help, please contact Benu Belugu, president of the foundation, at benub (at) yahoo.com .
When Benu e-mailed us back recently (to say that he'd be sending some material for a webpage on our site) he commented "sometimes we have felt so abandoned by the rest of civilization". There are probably very many organizations like the Betesda foundation across the world, working in isolation - and a lot of kids out there who need the help they can provide. Please - if you can - put a link to Project HappyChild from your home page (you can use any of the graphics on our site with a link to any of our pages) - the more people who find out about this website, the more likely it is that organizations helping kids in this way will hear about the site and contact us, so that we can add their details to the Appeals pages and help them to gain the publicity - and the help - they so desperately need.
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