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Project HappyChild NEWS

1st April 2005

[for ongoing updates, see Latest Site News]

Appeals and Projects helping children across the world

... the longest journey starts with a single step ...

Hello again! The four months since the last Newsletter have been the *busiest* we have ever known here, with over one million page views per month logged by Webalizer during January, February and March 2005.

This huge upsurge in traffic coincided with our heaviest-ever pagebuilding period! but we're delighted to say that an entire new area has been built here since December 2004 - "Any Language to English" - and the overall website framework is now - finally! - fully created and in place. This has taken seven *years* since our domain name came through on 4th March 1998 ..... though in actual fact Project HappyChild was first conceived as long ago as 1st April 1989, 16 years ago today.

... the longest journey starts with a single step ...

The start of 2005 has of course been overshadowed by the unbelievable devastation wreaked by the Asian Tsunami waves ....... of particular concern now is the nuclear reactors being built in the affected coastal region in India, but more about that further down this page. Please do read what we've written! and pass on this Newsletter to anyone who should see it.

There are a lot of issues to cover in this Newsletter! so we'll make this summary as brief as possible; you can also read more about specific areas on the individual site pages linked from news items.

SURPLUS RESOURCES: Our thanks to Blue Fish Kids (based in London) who have just offered around 100 rain macs for children up to 6 years - more details on the Surplus Resources page. We've also been offered 1000+ stale dated cartridges (HP/Lexmark) by Xtra Core in Florida ..... no further details as yet but we'll add these to the SR page as and when received here.

ANY LANGUAGE TO ENGLISH: The structure of this new area (known otherwise as "XXXXLanguage", or simply "XL") arose largely out of the free French-English-French worksheets on the site here. All the verbs for the French are in place now, incidentally, and *all* the vocabulary has been translated, so the rest of the worksheets should be checked and on line soon :)

The XXXXLanguage pages are already all up on line, both verbs and vocabulary, here, along with an explanation of what the 800+ worksheets are for, and how they can be used immediately to teach English from any other language - or to help in teaching any other language to English-speaking children.

But - more than this! - we are asking bi-lingual people across the world (any of you reading this page!), to help kids the world over by translating the worksheet content (around 4000 words each for verbs and vocabulary) into ANOTHER LANGUAGE, and enter the translated words into an already-prepared database (which we can supply, free). Mario Becroft in New Zealand has been kind enough to sort out the programming to allow all 800+ worksheets for any new "language set" to be run off a database ..... so we could produce a "complete set" (eg English-Polish-English, or whatever) in a matter of *weeks* after receiving the checked and verified database here.

... the longest journey starts with a single step ...

TRANSLATIONS: Our thanks to Fiona in Germany, for offering to translate the vocabulary worksheet-content into German; to Kate in England, for offering to translate both verbs and vocabulary into Spanish ..... and to Steve in Switzerland, who has just offered to help with the translations into Italian, starting in July :)

For the use of translators (and for many other purposes) each complete language set will also have "overview pages", like those already built for the English XL area. These we can build here from the *same* database. The English set is already in place; the French overview pages are done and will be on line shortly. Each linked page provides an overview of all the worksheet content of any given category, for the benefit of teachers, parents and children/students alike. The English-only pages have spaces in which to write the translated words; the other overview sets will be *dual-language*.

The KCF charity in Iraq has asked for help with a number of language sets! to help children of many nationalities in a single school (see the main page *here*). We already have "offers" for English-German, English-Spanish and English-Italian ..... can any of you help with other languages? Bear in mind that the English-French-English pages already receive around 500,000 visits a year (and rising) ..... giving up a few hours of your time to translate the verbs or vocabulary on the overview sheets could make a *huge* difference to kids learning languages *everywhere* - because the worksheets will be on line here, and because they're *free*.

KSC-KCF was started to help children in Iraq in 1991, when thousands of children took refuge in the mountains during the attacks on Kurdish people - these children were rescued by KSC-KCF and orphanages set up to look after them. Yet after the recent war to liberate Iraq, no UK-government-funds were apparently "available" to KCF to help these children, nor to support KCF's work helping the children from the looted Baghdad orphanages .... word has it that no UK-government-funding ever reached KCF.

Why should KCF be helped, you might ask. Well, why ever not? Whatever the rights or wrongs of the Iraq war, Shanaz Rashid (Director of KCF) did a great deal to put the war in perspective at the Labour Party Conference (which she appears to have rescued singlehandedly! - and where, incidentally, she spoke without fee) and if her charity directly helping the children of Iraq has indeed been ignored in the handing-out-of-official-funds, this is a situation which is long overdue for redress. Official apologies are also long overdue ....

... the longest journey starts with a single step ...

ACCELERATED LEARNING Many of you will recall Michael's article some while back, on "How to Pass Exams" by Dominic O'Brien. We have had a *lot* of e-mails since then, from people having trouble finding a copy of this book ... but Dominic has written recently to advise it's available on Amazon. Accordingly we've (finally!) set up "proper links" from here, so that you can now buy this title direct from the "How to Pass Exams" review page.

Michael is currently very busy with his work for "Positively Mad", which has taught Accelerated Learning to many thousands of children and students (they also offer crash courses in Accelerated Learning for teachers). He plans to start writing again for the huge Accelerated Learning area here, from about September 2005; in the meantime his e-book, "The 77 Habits of Highly Effective Students" is available direct from the site pages.

ANDY'S GUIDE TO POKÉMON: We're delighted to say that a whole new section for "Ruby & Sapphire" Pokémon has now gone on line - including a full list of "braille codes" which appear in these games - with the beginnings of a further area for "Fire Red and Leaf Green", and the "Cheats, Tips & Shortcuts" pages continuing to increase with input from children and students in many countries worldwide.

DIRECTORY CHARITIES: New e-mail address added for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (much in the news, of late); GOSH events (linked from the huge EVENTS CALENDAR on the site here) have been expanded and include a treasure hunt through Neverland in July, and "the ultimate kids' party" in October 2005. Many of the charities update their events pages on a regular basis, so it's always worth clicking through from the Events Calendar to see what else is on offer! See also the Risk Assessment Workshops for Play Providers, starting from April 2005, on the PLAYLINK web site.

CHILDREN'S MEDICAL EXPENSES: Two more appeals from mothers in Russia are now on line in the Guestbook ... from Julia, struggling to find the basic essentials to look after her 6-year-old son with MASS, and from Larisa, whose 10-year-old son needs an urgent operation if he is not to lose his sight altogether. Please help if you can :)

... the longest journey starts with a single step ...

THE TSUNAMI WAVES OF XMAS 2004: No-one could have predicted the total devastation caused by the tsunami waves ..... nor the deaths of 300,000 people. Our immediate concern, initially, was for the children of Tamilnadu (featured on the ECRDT Appeal page here). It was to be some long time before we heard from ECRDT; yes, there had been losses of life but not as many as feared, though 677 children (297 boys + 380 girls) in the Tirunelveli district and 1293 children (558 boys + 735 girls) in the Thoothukudi district had lost their school books, uniforms and stationery, and villages in these districts lost their houses as well. Some of the children in Kanyakumari district lost a parent; all have lost their houses, school materials, uniforms, etc. .... we are told the number of children affected in the Kanyakumari district alone was *17298*.

We have been forwarded *many* newspaper cuttings from the Indian press. Apparently the Indian Goverment refused outside help after the Tsunami? so it is not clear how much of the information sent to us has been available outside India.

We have seen reports that if the coastal SAND had not been removed by mineral companies, many lives lost in the Tsunami would have been saved (ECRDT drew attention to the problem of sand being removed, in their page on Child Fish Workers over two *years* ago). Also on that page, they pointed out the need to preserve the CORAL REEFS. During the tsunami, the coral reefs *protected* nearby areas - and apparently the tsunami did not have any major impact on reef areas, or the sea grass beds around the reefs. It is *vital* that these reefs be actively safeguarded as a defence against future tsunamis.

A significant concern also is the NUCLEAR POWER stations on this stretch of coast - not just MAPS reactors but also spent fuel pools, reprocessing plant and waste management facilities. Independent assessment of any breach during the last Tsunami is apparently prevented by the Atomic Energy Act - ?

We are told that a Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) report in November 1986 said that India was not vulnerable to tsunamis. Despite subsequent warnings from seismologists, it would appear that reactors now being built have not been constructed to withstand tsunamis.

We have been informed by another source that the Nuclear Plant at Koodankulam (scheduled to include *two* reactors) is in a tsunami-prone /seismic-prone zone, and that sea water entered the construction area ... and that this has been denied by the Government. These reactors are apparently scheduled to be fully operational by 2007 .... and it is also said that there are two dormant volcanoes in the Gulf of Mannar.

We have also been informed that the Government is proposing a new project called "Sethu Samudram Ship Canal Project" between the waters of Sri Lanka and Tamilnadu which would drastically affect the corals and endangered species, quite aside from the livelihood of the fishermen.

The Gulf of Mannar was designated a National Marine Park or Biosphere Reserve as long ago as 1989. Why is it not being properly protected?

The whole WORLD could be affected if there are more tsunamis in the years ahead, and the nuclear reactors in India are breached.

Help is needed. Firstly with PUBLICITY of these serious problems. Secondly with any funds which can be sent to ECRDT, to help the children and communities they represent. Funds provided by the government for temporary housing are apparently not allowed to be used for semi-permanent structures. ECRDT need help from people in the outside world to recreate homes and communities, and to help the children who have lost so much in the Tsunami.

Funds to help children can be sent to:
Account Name: East Coast Research and Development
Account Number – 19097
Name of Bank: Indian Overseas bank
Bank Address: Tuticorin Main – 100, Victoria Road, Thoothukudi – 628001, Tamilnadu, India.

We have been sent so *much* information from different sources, on the problems in India, that it has taken a long time to extract the salient points for this Newsletter! Hopefully enough has been included, to illustrate the very real dangers inherent in any future Tsunami in this coastal area. Any direct help to ECRDT would be appreciated - as would funds for the struggling "Bethany Children's Home" which was caring for tsunami survivors when last we heard .... cheques in the name of "Joseph Benziger" [a former priest] can be posted to Joseph Benziger, Bethany Children's Home, 79-V.K. Theatre Road, Arasaradi-Madurai-625016, Tamilnadu, INDIA.

We know that many of you have given very generously to "national appeals" (eg DEC, in the UK) - but it is difficult to know whether centrally-organised funds can actually reach to everywhere help is required. Only yesterday there was a letter to The Times by a writer appalled at the physical devastation still apparent in Sri Lanka ..... if any of you "still want to give", perhaps now is the time to send your funds direct to places where you know they are still desperately needed.

This is - probably - our longest-ever Newsletter. Ranging from the possibilities inherent in the "Any Language to English" project to integrate spoken languages across the board ..... to the very real threats posed by nuclear reactors in tsunami-vulnerable regions. Please circulate this Newsletter to anyone you know who might be able to do something constructive about protecting the Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve - not only for local people, but, longer-term, for all of us.

Archive of 2005 Newsletters at Project HappyChildBest regards,


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