At our Club Zoom meeting Ken Holmes from the Rotary Coventry Club of Coventry outlined the work of International Children's Trust (ICT).
The ICT was originally formed in 1967 and worked in the Chennai region of India where it was supported by the Rotary Club of Madras. It later took over the work of the Barbara Kelly Home for girls (supported by Inner Wheel). ICT now has programmes around the world with 12 local partners in implementing the work. 180 children are on their sponsorship programme.
ICT create real and lasting change in a child’s life by tackling the root causes of child poverty. They focus on vulnerable children living in poverty, facing abuse, violence and discrimination. They tackle the physical, educational and emotional barriers to a child’s development and create strong family and community support structures. Their aim is a world where no child has to live or work on the streets.
Ken highlighted the work in Burkino Faso where a walled village has been developed as a shelter for young women and children by their partner Keoogo. The project offers a nursery school which is open to children living in the shelter with their mothers, as well as to children from the surrounding community.
The Inner Wheel Club of Coventry held a virtual handover meeting via Zoom.
Ethel and Judith were virtually presented with a gift from the club to celebrate their year in office and Janet was presented with the chain of office.
President Janet's charity is the Coventry Winter Night Shelter (CWNS) which is is a project run by Coventry Churches around the city. It provides rough sleepers with support, a hot meal, a safe and warm bed for the night and breakfast the next day. The project runs from 1st December – 31st March every year.
Homelessness can affect anybody regardless of their nationality, religion, race, sexuality, age or gender. Most of the problem is hidden, and the statistics do not reflect ‘sofa surfing’ or families in B&Bs. The numbers of people who are homeless are growing quickly.
During the meeting our speaker Rev. Canon Fr. John Yethi Rajulu Batthula told us about his work in India with the Batthula Care Trust.
The first aspect concerns the Leprosy Mission. He mentioned that originally, they had built 15 houses for 15 families. Each house cost around £3,500. Nowadays it costs a lot more to build a house. Each family is supported with a pension for food and medicine. They cannot interact with the local community because of the fear of the disease of leprosy and live far away on a hill. This is the mission that Janet and Kevin visited when they were in India.
The second aspect is supporting education for children. They have a school where 1,100 children study and they also pay school fees for the labourers and those who are unemployed etc. Altogether they support 7,200 children paying for their books, uniform, and school fees.
The third aspect is supporting poor, especially widows with monthly payments of £15 each for food and basic supplies.
The four aspect is supporting teenagers studying at college and university. He pointed out that education is not free in India. They also contribute to hostels run by Christian communities.
Finally, they provide financial support for those suffering medical emergencies such as cancer or heart attacks.
Every little helps even though the Trust is a very small Trust - they make a big difference on the ground.
During the last three months, owing to coronavirus and the lockdown in first week of April, the population were stuck in their small rental houses in the towns without work or income. As a result people began to walk home a few thousand miles to their home villages. The Trust has been supplying cooked food packages and water for 200 of those travellers.
They have also distributed basic food and supplied to 300 families - for example a 25 kilogram bag of rice, oil, lentils, salt and washing powder. Each family has been supported for at least two and a half months. The Trust has also paid the teachers who had to stay at home and do online classes for the children a percentage of their salaries.
In answer to questions he clarified that that the food was distributed by those who worked in the schools and volunteers, for example from a van on the highway. The situation is gradually improving now that buses and trains have begun to run again. The ground floor of their school has been used for the testing. They stay there for a week and if it is negative, they can return to their homes. The government provide the money for them to be tested. Their work is concentrated in three areas where they are aware there is a lot of poverty and unemployment.
Contributions can be given via their website and they also have a Go Fund Me page. £25 can provide a uniform and books for a child. No amount is too small.
While we cannot meet face to face we are having weekly Zoom meetings. We are taking this opportunity to learn more about the various charities that we
We also want to take the opportunity to keep in touch and foster friendship with our members.
Talk by Rtn. Ian Talbot
Ian gave us a very interesting talk about his memories of Pakistan in the late 1970s when he was starting his PhD research, outlining how he would have spent a typical Sunday and also the opportunities he had to travel freely and watch test match cricket. He described the hospitality he had received and gave us an insight into the culture of the country including their love of poetry.
Ian also talked about the large number of extreme weather events that they now have due to global warming. Besides currently having to cope with Covid-19 they are currently also having to cope with the worst swarms of Locust for 25 years, which are currently devastating crops.
Normally we meet on the first Monday of the month but during this lockdown we now meet every Thursday at 11am via Zoom. Please contact Coventry Inner Wheel at firstname.lastname@example.org if you require any further information.
On St. Goerge’s Day we had the second of of speakers from one of our Presidents' charities talk to members via an online Zoom meeting. This time it was Tony Whitmore from Laura Centre. Tony works more on the statistics and utilities side of things and trys to help save money instead of raise it. The first year he started he saved them £400 on their phone bill.
At the Laura Centre they counsel children who have lost a perant, guardian or grandparent. They also counsel parents who have lost a child. Coventry was the third of the Laura Centre’s to be opened and at the moment they are based at the Salvation Army. They are looking for suitable premisess, they want somewhere that can be made homely. Last year they had around 50 new clients in this area, they have two counsellors who are now working from home. Instead of face to face counselling they are using on-line or telephone calls. This has meant more work for Tony as he is the one that looks after the IT systems.
The Laura Centre Coventry and Warwickshire Appeal,
C/O The Laura Centre, 4-6 Tower Street, Leicester LE1 6WS
In April Coventry held an on-line meeting. We had held a couple of on-line meetings previously to this but this one was the first one where we had invited a speaker. During our April meeting we were supposed to hear about our Presidents' charities. So we thought that it would be a good idea to have a talk from them anyway, we could not meet up in person so we arranged for Geraldine Tsakiraki to talk to us about Emmaus.
A number of our members managed to join the meeting with cups in hand and even a biscuit or piece of cake.
It was a very interesting talk about a charity that has been working in Coventry for 27 years. Due to COVID-19 they have closed their shop but the 18 companions they have staying with them are now busy doing other charity work as well as working in the garden. They are also still delivering food and have also been delivering toiletries to our local hospital – normmaly visitors take in personal toiletries for the patients but of course visitors are no longer allowed into the hospitals and many patients had ran out of personal items.
Recently we ran a coffee morning in aid of the Coventry Inner Wheel’s charities.
This year our President's chosen charities are: -
Emmaus, Coventry, who provide a home and an opportunity for homeless people to work, enabling them to regain their self-esteem and confidence; and
The Laura Centre, who offer specialist bereavement counselling to parents whose child has died and to children or young people who have been bereaved of a parent or other significant person.
It was a pleasant warm day and along with a number of friends and families from Inner Wheel and Rotary we were joined by volunteers from the National Trust. Whoever baked the cakes and biscuits did a really good job. We ran a raffle with a number of very good prizes, a beautiful flower arrangement was auctioned and there was a sales table. All of which were well supported by the people present making it a very successful day.
On Monday 3rd December during our normal monthly meeting we were wonderfully entertained by Joanna Kunda. Her singing was just incredible, it was a feast for our ears.
She told us about herself and about each of the pieces she was singing. She was accompanied by her friend Varvara Maggs.
Towards the end of her performance she told us about the Polish traditions at Christmas and sang a Polish Christmas Carol. She then encouraged us all to join her in singing Christmas Carols. She even had us singing in two-part harmony!
Joanna is the Musical Director of a local Polish Choir Senza Nome and on the 26th January 2019 they will be holding an afternoon concert at the Polish Church in Coventry to Celebrate 10 years of singing and performing together. Well worth going to see if you are in the area. http://senzanome.co.uk/
The District 6 International Charity is the International Aid Trust - find out more on our International page.
The National President, Enid Law, has chosen Riding for the Disabled for her charity.