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Project HappyChild - linking children all across the world

Project HappyChild NEWS - Issue 14

1st October 1999

Project HappyChild - linking children all across the world

Welcome to Issue 14 of Project HappyChild News.

This has been a landmark month, in many ways. Probably the most significant step forward (from a pagebuilding point of view) has been the setting and uploading of *all* the remaining pages of "Bricks and Mortar", our free-to-print reading system. With an additional 76 graphics and a total of 158 new pages uploaded on 28th September, the "full set" available now comprises 243 pages, each of which can be printed onto an A4 sheet direct from screen [despite the quantity of pages, the entire reading system can be read daily to a learner in less than two hours, from start to finish].

Completing the setting of "Bricks and Mortar" fulfils the final residual pagebuilding commitment from the website's very beginnings, and frees up time now to expand the range of resources within "Schools Interchange" and to research more organizations helping disadvantaged children in other countries within "Appeals and Projects" worldwide.

FOCUS
Did you know that simply by visiting The Hunger Site on line each day you can make (free!) a donation of food to help hungry children? Their site says that every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger somewhere in the world - three quarters of those deaths are children under the age of five.

We've added a link to the Hunger Site from our main FOCUS Index page. You'll recall that MERU (custom-designed seating for disabled children) is featured in FOCUS, and we've recently had contact from two new organizations, one of which makes switches to enable disabled children to use Nintendo consoles, and the other manufacturing battery-powered Go-Karts for disabled children. We hope to include details in FOCUS about both organizations in due course.

RESOURCES REQUIRED
We've included in this area a request for toner cartridges from BIBIC - The British Institute for Brain Injured Children, who are now able to recycle both laser and inkjet cartridges. Also on this page we've added general resources required by the Wonderland Foundation for a children's kindergarten in Romania.

More details about the kindergarten have been added to our Guestbook page - because the school is a very recent initiative (commenced 7th September 1999) it was felt inappropriate to add it to the "Appeals and Projects" area just yet. A number of other e-mails (on a variety of topics) are being added to the Guestbook, progressively.

TRANSLATIONS
In response to an increasing number of requests from schoolchildren for *immediate* help with translation homework (!), we've input a link from the main welcome page to an English version of what appears on the foreign-language translation link pages, to enable them to access the "instant-translation" services for themselves, as well as the on-line language dictionaries available via our Index of Educational Resources.

Also in the context of translations, we're looking at the possibility of translating our "Publicity page" into a number of foreign languages, to enable us to register this with a number of search engines overseas [many of whom are unable to register pages unless set in their indigenous language, despite a proportion of their inhabitants speaking English or one of the languages for which "instant translation" facilities are available on our site]. At present we're simply requesting help from linguists who contact us to offer us their translation services - there's an explanation of the help required (below the main text) on the Translators' version of the publicity page, if anyone receiving this Newsletter is able to help with any given language.

PUBLICITY
Our thanks go to Nelson Larance, who publicised Project HappyChild in his e-zine "FineLines TIPS" leading to a significant upsurge in website visitors (please refer to the webstats page). Our ISP Force 9 has had a few problems with generating webstats for the site, and these haven't been available at all on some days - a situation complicated by major problems with their server equipment recently, lasting several days. Webstats are excluded for the relevant days as the server problems impacted to a considerable degree on visitors being able to access the website over that period.

VISITOR COUNT
Those of you who receive the Newsletter regularly will know this is a recurrent problem! On 8th September the count was registering 80858 visitors and then for no apparent reason returned to zero, defeating the best efforts of Mike Ridyard to restore it (he had offered us free use of his counter after the F9 counter kept zero-ing because of numerous people accessing the site simultaneously). Finally it was up and running again on 17th September only to cease working entirely when Force 9 disabled .cgi access on 27th September to resolve some residual matters arising from their server problems.

The webstats (when operational!) give a more accurate overview of actual "visits" and overall "accesses" on any given day [because they register all page-hits whereas the visitor counter does not appear in some areas, such as free-to-print maths worksheets and Bricks & Mortar pages]. Long term we'll need to identify some sort of continuously-reliable tracking method which we can house in our own cgi-bin [to avoid having to make reciprocal links to commercial tracking providers, thus possibly compromising the integrity of the site and the safety aspect for children which as you'll know is a primary focus here].

FREE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
All links from the main Educational Resources Index have recently been verified and several new items have been added - (1) "Educate the Children", a non-profit site which provides free lesson plans and worksheets for children across the primary-school range [ages 5-11], (2) "A Web of On-Line Dictionaries", linked to 1000 dictionaries in over 200 languages - also accessible from this site are On-Line Thesauri and On-Line Grammars, (3) Signing Dictionary [for communicating with deaf people], (4) a link to the WWWVL Classical Music Library, hosted by Georgetown Preparatory School.

ACCELERATED LEARNING
Michael Tipper has been away in Hawaii for the last two weeks of September (working, not holiday!) but wrote his October articles before he left - there's a long page on "effective learning" and this month's featured "Great Mind" is Abraham Lincoln. Michael's pages have now been uploaded and you can access them from the main Accelerated Learning Index in Area 3.

DIRECTORY
The major re-structuring of the Project HappyChild Directory back in June has borne considerable fruit, as we're receiving very positive feedback from site visitors on how easily they're able to locate relevant information on the site, now that all related areas are thoroughly interwoven and bookmarked.

We would request that Charities in the Directory forward details of any General Events and Sponsored Events scheduled for the next 6-12 months, which they'd like included on the website, also any new Appeals and Projects, Resources Required, etc. Additionally we'd appreciate further details on catalogues, particularly Christmas Cards, and booklists where these are available. Our pagebuilding schedule for the next few weeks is particularly heavy and unlikely to allow us time to contact organizations in the Directory individually to request this information, but notifications received for these areas can usually be put on line within three working days.

SCHOOLS INTERCHANGE
We'd like to thank Malte Aronsson, Sweden, for the recent information forwarded about the Isle of Man Department of Education (please see Schools UK ) and John Stephens who forwarded details of Schools in Swindon, Wiltshire (please refer Schools England counties N-Z ).

LINKS
Our thanks go to Wolverhampton Education ICT [UK] for their recent link to Project HappyChild, also to LATNET [Latvia] for a link which additionally specifies languages available on our site, to Mike Andrews at Pathways Development Group Inc. [Washington, USA] and to the Mind Sports Olympiad website [UK]. Additionally we'd like to thank Michael Marshall at Educate the Children [UK] for including Project HappyChild on their "Sites of Distinction" page, and
Vince de Rosa for linking from the Knights of Columbus pages [Chicago, USA].

LAUGHTER ....
We recently rented the video "Patch Adams" (certificate 12) - a delightful story some of you may have seen about the value of laughter in healing. Put me in mind very much of POD, the charity in our Directory which organises children's entertainers to go into hospitals across the UK each month. If you too enjoyed this film, take a look at the POD page. Incidentally we'd be interested in details of organizations overseas who organise similar projects.

*****

Well, that's all for this month. Somewhat "action-packed" here, as you'll appreciate. I've made this Newsletter as brief as possible (for those of you who receive email-to-fax versions!) but there really has been a lot going on. The website is virtually up to date now (and the mail!) - however if there's anything I should have included in the Newsletter and haven't, or you're waiting for a reply to mail sent over the last 10 days, please drop me a line [some of our mail may have gone astray during the recent problems experienced by Force 9].

Thanks as usual to everyone for their support. Please do let us know if you've been able to link to the site - we can only mention links from school-nets, schools, universities and organizations (rather than personal homepages) in the Newsletter, but all links are always very much appreciated.

NEWS ARCHIVEBest wishes,

Penny.

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Project HappyChild News - 1st October 1999 - http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/news/1999/10.htm
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