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Project HappyChild NEWS

1st October 2005

[for ongoing updates, see Latest Site News]

Appeals and Projects helping children across the world

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


Hi there! and a huge welcome to all our new subscribers. This has been one of the busiest - and most surreal - summers in living memory.

London - and much of the UK - was in the grip of euphoria after landing the 2012 Olympic Games when the terrorist bombs exploded in London on 7th July 2005. The days that followed were indescribable - not only for us but for countless others and it must be remembered that many of the Charities in the Directory on the site here are also based in London.

The international expressions of support for London were much appreciated :) brief resumé on our London page here. Many of us have family or friends who had narrow escapes and our thoughts are with all those who were not so fortunate.


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


After the terrorists were caught (following the second set of bombs, two weeks later, which failed to detonate) life here started to go back to something approaching normal, for most of us, anyway. But then, of course, came "Hurricane Katrina" ..... and the unparalleled devastation that brought with it, to places like New Orleans, Biloxi and Gulfport [news page link here]. A million people displaced - and many of them still unable to return home after the renewed flooding caused by Hurricane Rita. This has been a summer few of us are likely to forget.

The huge financial costs of dealing with Hurricane Katrina (estimated by some of the media at $500 million per day, or more) have put one thing into perspective, though ..... the reason why, despite such massive donations, many organizations "on the ground" after the Tsunami, failed to receive any of the funds. One such was Gwalior Children's Hospital, in India, whose mobile hospital went out and helped Tsunami victims in Tamilnadu until they simply ran out of any funds to use. This has meant their already-planned orphanage is lacking the funding required to complete it on schedule by November 2005 .... they are desperate for help and are asking if anyone can donate £5 ($10) for a brick (inscribed with your name) to help them get the buildings finished on time.

They need to complete six buildings by 5th November (more are planned) and will gratefully accept any funds anyone can send. Each building will accommodate ten children - £5000 pays for a complete house with all amenities to be a home for 10 children. If any of you are involved with companies or schools that could raise or donate that amount of money, will you help? These projects are under the care of a paediatrician currently working for the British NHS. If you can donate even enough for a single brick (or more!) please see their page here which gives full details of what is required and how to give on line or by post.


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


Somehow the news that Romania has been experiencing its worst floods in 50 years has failed to make the headlines in recent weeks (see the BBC News report here). About 20,000 households in more than 500 towns have been affected by the storms, with thousands of properties and many hundreds of small bridges damaged, more than 1,000km (620 miles) of roads flooded and thousands of wells contaminated.

We were alerted to the situation by Betesda Home in Galati, Romania, whose July Newsletter (reaching us in August) said "Romania has been terribly flooded, 31 counties out of 41 are under water; many people lost everything they had. Our children were anxiously awaiting their summer camp at Valea Sarii, but this is not possible any more. The angry waters destroyed a bridge to Valea Sarii and the access there is impossible."

Betesda helps street children in Romania (see their most recent page here). Any support any of you can give to them will be much valued; they have had a difficult year in many ways but they keep going regardless, and make an incredible difference for children who would otherwise have nothing.


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


This has seemingly been a very difficult year for very many people, and our thanks to all of you who support organizations helping children with your time, and your donations. Our main "Projects Helping Kids" page is here and our Guestbook page (including Appeals for help for individual children) is here. Linked in with these are the News Updates from SLSCO-FLAME (supporting children in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami) and Benedict Xavier of St. Teresa's School in Chennai, India.

Meanwhile .... what of other news? The folder of things to include in this Newsletter is jam-packed so our apologies if some very *brief* resumés follow!

ANY LANGUAGE TO ENGLISH: Our thanks to several new translators and checkers who have volunteered for this massive project - see the Translators page. Help is still needed! both for new languages, and for checking the existing ones, specifically (1) checking German (2) checking Spanish (3) checking Italian (4) checking Russian (this one is urgent as the vocabulary database is almost completed) (5) checking Bengali (6) checking Singhalese (7) checking Romanian (verb database already completed).

We have *finally* (just!) discovered a way to cause Microsoft Excel to display hex codes (well, decimal codes, specifically) in the spreadsheet boxes - *and* to output the codes for foreign language characters (Russian, in this instance) into a .txt file. This means we can convert the Cyrillic characters directly into a format we can use for html pagebuilding ... so *major* progress and a means to generating the worksheets for virtually *all* the translated languages much more swiftly.

Having searched the Internet exhaustively for this information (which wasn't to be found *anywhere*) we will gladly share "how to do this in Excel" in return for (1) a generous donation to a children's charity of your choice, and (b) a link to our "Any Language to English" area (or other publicity for it). This has been such a *huge* breakthrough that it is likely to make a significant difference for many people currently using very long-winded routes to carry out language-characters-to-codes conversions.


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


RESOURCES REQUIRED and SURPLUS: Our thanks to Petra J. Nienhaus at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (London) for their kind offer of 250 black business satchel bags and 75-100 T-Shirts, which was taken up by Family Service Units literally within minutes after our e-mail went out to Charities in the Project HappyChild Directory .... these bags and T-shirts will be going to Young Carers in Waltham Forest, Camden and Islington, West London and Rochdale.

If any of our site visitors (schools, companies, government departments, individuals) have similar types of commodities (literally anything "in bulk") available to give away in the UK, please let us know on surplus2005 (at) happychild.org.uk as we can e-mail the Directory Charities via our private mailing list, so as to make the offer to all of them at the same time.

There was an interesting follow-up to this, in terms of a conversation with UNICEF (UK) who have kindly offered to refer people offering resources that they can't themselves make immediate use of, to our surplus2005 (at) happychild.org.uk address, to enable us to send details to all the other Directory Charities on our direct e-mail list. It would be appreciated if other Directory Charities could also refer anyone offering items to them, that they cannot accept at that time, to the surplus2005 (at) happychild.org.uk address! and our thanks to UNICEF for leading the way.

Also on the subject of "Resources", we get endless enquiries about computer recycling, and requests for computers - so we have massively updated our details on participating organizations, here (both for the UK and a number of countries worldwide). Our other major source of enquiries is in connection with used Postage Stamps - often more costly to forward than the stamps are actually worth - we have discovered that Oxfam shops (in the UK at least) will accept used postage stamps - see the entry here.

And finally - on the subject of items offered and required - we have discovered an amazing organization called FreeCycle. Already operating in 50 countries worldwide, they advertise (only) things people want to *give* away (or that are needed). Worth a look if you have any single items to offer, or have any specific requirements.



THE GREAT JUBILEE BALLOON RACE: News just in from SENSE that they are holding a "Great Jubilee Balloon Race" to celebrate 50 years of helping deaf and blind children (and to raise funds ....) Tickets only £1 each and you can buy them on line here, or possibly by telephone via the number on that page. Balloons go up on 10th November from London, Bristol and Birmingham.

MONARCH BUTTERFLIES: We've been contacted by a non-profit organization called "Live Monarch". For details of how to get free milkweed seeds [North America only], or start your own butterfly garden, click here or here. A wonderful site, with everything imaginable including how to fix a damaged or broken butterfly wing (see here). Even though this will be beyond the capability of younger children [due to the need to use contact adhesive], watching someone older perform such an operation is likely to teach more by its very nature, than any amount of theoretical studies on care for our environment :)

CHILDREN'S MEDICAL EXPENSES: To return to this theme of earlier Newsletters, some of you will recall a letter in the Guestbook late last year from Muhammad Ihsan Ul Haq in Pakistan, about his son Waleed's need for an urgent heart operation. Recently he was kind enough to let us know that Waleed has now had his operation (in the Children's Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, USA) and that the funding was provided by "The First Hand Foundation". Whilst looking for the website of this organization, we also discovered a CureSearch page here for "National and International Resources: Financial Assistance", featuring a number of different funding organizations.

Hopefully these resources will open up a little more hope for parents of individual children whose medical costs are well outside the family budget possibilities. Another possible avenue is St. Jude in the USA, which has treated children from more than 70 foreign countries; their "about St. Jude" page states "Patients at St. Jude are accepted by physician referral when the children or adolescents are newly diagnosed or has a disease under research and treatment by the St. Jude staff" and "St. Jude is the only pediatric research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay."

Still on the theme of help for individual children, we're delighted to welcome another Charity to the Project HappyChild Directory - "Facing the World", which has been set up by the UK's leading cranio-facial surgeons to help disfigured children in the world's poorest countries. Facing the World's medical team all donate their services and fundraise to cover (reduced) medical costs, travel and accommodation for children and a parent. 'Most children stay in the UK for three months and all are able to leave the UK significantly better able to have "normal" lives.'


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


Now for a very *brief* overview of everything else that has been going on here since 1st June! ... given that this Newsletter is already much longer than planned :) It's later than intended, incidentally, simply because our ISP has changed its CGI server which has involved us in setting up new visitor counters and re-coding 16,000+ pages *twice*. Not an easy task! but mercifully completed now, in the process releasing us from the need for weekly updates to the "about us" page where the visitor counters are now *live*. The visit levels are currently quite extraordinary! with over 1.2 million page views logged for September alone.

FREE DOWNLOADS: Our thanks to Andy Watson at @berNET for details of an unusual resource - hundreds of free downloads of curriculum support materials, for teachers, now linked from near the foot of the "Free Educational Resources" page here.

FREE FRENCH WORKSHEETS: Thanks as ever to Rita, for checking further worksheet content for "when", "where", "how" and "office", which brings the total number of French worksheets on line so far to around 770. IR and RE verbs remain to be checked, and the remainder of the "overview" pages (all words in a category on a single page) but all going well, the "Wall to Wall French" area will be able to be linked in some time over the next few weeks.

POKÉMON: Still unremittingly one of our most popular areas, Andy's Guide to Pokemon has been extensively interlinked over the summer months, to bring together more facets of this ever-more-complex range of Gameboy games. Our thanks to the many visitors who have sent in new Cheats, Tips & Shortcuts ..... with a following wind, we are hoping to have all of these on line and linked in, by the last week of October.

WORLD POVERTY: Many of you will recall the huge swell of support for "Make Poverty History" and all the events leading to the G8 Summit of world leaders in July (write-up on the LIVE8 concerts on our News page here). With the mass of extraordinary events in the interim, attention has tended to be focussed elsewhere, but the next mass rally already approaches, the "Mass Lobby for Trade Justice called for by the Trade Justice Movement and Make Poverty History - scheduled for Wednesday 2nd November, in London. Clearly Trade Justice is an issue that needs to be dealt with, in due course ..... but with so many other matters demanding attention elsewhere, whether it is practicable to resolve the Trade Justice issue during the WTO Conference in Hong Kong 13-18 December 2005, remains to be seen. With the sheer speed of events in recent months, one feels a little sympathy for the beleaguered political leaders who seemingly have the responsibility of trying to sort everything out simultaneously.

And finally - on a somewhat lighter note! - Harry Potter. By some curious coincidence - or not - Book Six, published across the world on 16th July 2005, starts off with ..... a beleaguered political leader and a freak hurricane. You couldn't make it up :) Our initial review of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" went on line later that day (you can read it here). No story-line details (we know better than *that*!) but very thought-provoking, judging by the flood of e-mails received. The Harry Potter area has been extensively re-organised this year as we have finally figured out how to include all the relevant aspects of the books without disclosing plot lines! but now that Harry Potter is increasingly being used as an "exam subject" we recognise that the rest of this area needs to be completed as soon as possible.

But it's likely to be a long haul ... and first (probably) we need to complete other areas so that we can focus on Sol's Guide to Harry Potter more completely, when the time comes. We have a lot of work ahead! literally thousands of pages to complete all the remaining areas of the site - so forgive us if the mail gets behind again, and the Newsletters are intermittent .....

Archive of 2005 Newsletters at Project HappyChildBest regards,

Penny.

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