Archive for the ‘Fund Raising’ Category

Positive Behaviour Management

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Many of you have responded to my posts on Corporal Punishment. I’ve had a lot of sympathy, support, outrage, sadness and encouragement. 🙂

And many of you have said that you don’t know how you would react in a similar situation. Which is exactly what I would have said before I experienced it. And, to some extent, is my reaction currently. I always find it uncomfortable and I never know what I should do and I always walk away thinking that I could have and should have done more.

But pointless regrets are pointless. Positive action is what makes a difference. And positive action is what we are doing!

VESS is running a Positive Behaviour Management programme this year. The Canning Trust is a UK-based charity that has very kindly donated some money to VESS and VESL so that we can run this programme.

We will be working with 36 teachers in 4 primary schools in poor, coastal, fishing communities near Trivandrum in Kerala. We are repainting the classrooms in those schools and rebuilding toilet blocks in three of the four (the fourth was done a year ago). We will be running a week-long programme for the teachers. The teachers will then run a half hour session each week with their classes for the term. We’re also funding a PE teacher to work in the four schools.

I am exceptionally excited about this!!!

I don’t think this will magically change the world overnight (or in a week) however, I am confident that we can make some changes. I’m hopeful that some of the teachers we work with will be able to teach as effectively (or more effectively) with less caning. I’m hopeful that the students in these classes will gain direct experience of being students in a class where the teacher didn’t need to use the cane. So that when they become teachers in several years’ time, the concept of positive behaviour management won’t be alien to them. And I’m hopeful that for the duration of this project we can make school classrooms a slightly nicer place for students to be.

And yes, I am being somewhat selfish in all of this. I’m also hoping that this programme is going to help me feel somewhat less powerless in the face of the violence that is a very common undercurrent in Indian society.


Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I’ve set up another JustGiving page because I’m hoping to raise some money that can be used in Sri Lanka to help schools out there.

So if any of you fancy donating some money to help some schools in Sri Lanka then please go to my Just Giving page. Especially if you are a UK tax payer, because then through the magic of Gift Aid, the government will give some money too.

The cash will be used by me when I’m in SL to buy books and other teaching aids for some of the schools I’ll visit. Any leftover money will go to VESL to help them to keep doing wonderful things in Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

Anyone who feels the need to give me birthday and Christmas presents (a bit early, I know) is encouraged to donate some money instead.

Thanks very much in anticipation!! From me, from VESL and from the Sri Lankan kids who get the real benefit of your generosity. 🙂


Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Today I posted my first item on ebay for selling.

It’s quite exciting!! Though, hopefully this time next week will be more exciting when I learn how much it has sold for!

VESL Sponsored Walk

Monday, October 20th, 2008

I went to the Peak District a couple of weekends ago for a sponsored walk and reunion that VESL were organising. I was the only person there who hadn’t been out yet. They had representatives of all the years they’ve sent people away including (thanks to me) 2009! It was really great to meet up again with the guys who are sending me away. I met them at the information day and will get to see them again at my training day. It was also really good to meet people who have actually been out there and volunteered.

I was sharing a room with 4 girls. Two of whom had been to India about a year ago, the other two had been to the same project about 6 months ago. So each pair had heard about the other pair but had not actually met before. It was really great listening to them talking about the project and comparing notes (and photos)! It was also quite amazing to see the bond between each pair. I am really looking forward to meeting my partner (whoever they are) and am quite sure I’ll end up developing a strong friendship with them.

I was also talking to some of the others who had been to Sri Lanka and to someone who had been to Thailand. They were all quite jealous of me since I have the trip ahead of me and all assured me that I will love it!!!

It was great to hear such positive things from them about their trips and about VESL too. Mind you, anyone who went and hated it isn’t exactly likely to go to the Peak District for a sponsored walk to raise money for VESL!!

Talking to the people who had been has changed my plans slightly too. Small things: I’ve decided that I need to get my camera soon so I can take photos of Cambridge and my life here to take with me. They work well as teaching materials and the kids apparently really love seeing photos of the volunteers and where they are from. I’m also going to try and get a camera that will be somewhat robust. After three months of 35 degree heat and 75% humidity and being handled, played with and generally loved but lots of small children, it’s going to take a beating. I also need to find some children’s songs that I can learn and teach the kids (singing seems to be a great thing to do as a teaching technique). Also on the shopping list are gold stars (or other equivalent stickers).

The bigger change is my thoughts about my time out there. They were all quite unanimous in telling me that I won’t want to leave. My plan had been to teach for the 3 months and then spend two weeks with Sam and Pete holidaying in Sri Lanka. I had then been planning on coming back to Cambridge. I’m now budgeting for spending an extra month or two out there and am considering popping across to India for a bit of travelling there too, since I’ll be in the vicinity. So I should be back in Cambridge sometime between April and June. Or maybe a bit later. 🙂

I’ve started trying to acclimatise myself to chilli and will be trying to eat as much of it as I can manage between now and going away. The Sri Lankan curries are apparently very hot!! But, when your only food option is curry, you apparently get used to them quite quickly. Though I have been warned that there will come a day when curry for breakfast (again) will be quite difficult to face!

But back to the walk. We did about 15 miles on the first day and about 5 miles the second day. I could tell I’ve been in Cambridge for far too long since my knees seemed to be quite concerned about the walking downhill thing. They could cope ok with going up, but going down proved quite a problem. So I did have a rather painful left knee for the best part of a week later. Oh, and my feet got rather wet. I had only brought one pair of shoes (trainers at that) and they got very soggy about a quarter of a mile into the walk on day 1. Ah well, a wet foot or two isn’t the end of the world and I had enough clean, dry socks to change into. And frankly, if I’m going to be phased by a weekend in the Peak district then I’m really not going to cope well with Sri Lanka. 🙂

I know that it is traditional to request sponsorship before one does something like this, but I’d been rather busy in the lead up to going away and had forgotten to tell enough people about it or to specifically ask for sponsorship. But if you’d like to sponsor me in retrospect (the picture on the VESL website shows me (in the white jacket) on the top of a hill – proof I’d actually done it), then please feel free. For UK tax payers, please go to my Just Giving site. For all others, please donate via my Paypal account (the link is on my website).

Fund Raising Dinner

Monday, October 20th, 2008

I did another fund raising dinner on Saturday night. There were 9 of us. I made bread, hummous, chestnut and mushroom pie, mashed potatoes, honeyed carrots, balsamic cabbage, white chocolate risotto, dark chocolate chilli sauce, strawberry chocolate ganache, coffee ganache, chilli and orange ganache, whipped cream, raspberries and failed meringues. It was all quite tasty (even the failed meringues) and was a really great night. So thank you to everyone who made it. Your presence and assistance was greatly appreciated. As was the cash! That’s me £80 closer to getting away.

Selling All My Stuff

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

I’ve decided to sell all of my stuff (well, most of it anyway). Given that I’m not one for stuff to begin with, this is a really good feeling. Added to which I’m hoping to get some money to help with my trip. So I end up with less stuff and more money which in my book definitely counts as eating two Penguins* with one cup of tea (well, it’s a nicer image than birds, stones and killing)!!

So my website now has a list of my books and my stuff on it. Please have a look and see if there is anything you’d like. What I don’t sell to you lovely people will go to eBay and the remainder will go on Freecycle or to a charity shop.

Please remember that all the money I get from selling all these things will help me on my way to Sri Lanka. Thank you in advance. 🙂

* Note for non-UK people: a Penguin is a biscuit a bit like a Tim Tam, only not so tasty. I’m not actually eating penguins.

My First Fund Raising Activity

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

I have now officially started the fund raising process!!

As some of you may know I have a habit of periodically cooking dinner for some of my friends. And yesterday I did another one of these – but with a difference. This time I asked for a donation from people coming along. And a big thank you to those who could make it. It was great fun and the food certainly seemed to go down well. Plus, I have £130 more in my Sri Lanka fund than I had this time last week!!

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a list of what we had (just to make you jealous)! 😉

Homemade bread
Aubergine, garlic and chocolate dip
Beetroot, chocolate and tahini dip

Mushroom and chestnut pie
Nut and vegetable rice salad

White chocolate risotto with dark chocolate chilli sauce
White coffee, dark coffee and dark cream ganaches
Strawberry coulis
Homemade meringues (plain and chocolate)
Strawberries, raspberries and cherries
Whipped cream

Tea and coffee

For those of you who couldn’t make it, I will certainly be doing others before I go away so you will get another chance!! Leave me a comment or drop me an email if you’d like to guarantee your place on the next one.

First Donation

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

A big thank you to Calum who is responsible for kicking off my fund raising. He went to my Just Giving page and donated online.

Thanks Calum!!