Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Fund Raising Concert

The Ketones have very kindly agreed to do a fund raising concert for Future Hope . There will be lots of other entertainment on offer as well (more details to follow).

Headline act

"The Ketones" :

The evening will also include a support band,

"Think it was June"

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Training Expedition

As a warm up (and some endurance training), this week I have completed the Two Castles Train in Devon. {I managed the 24 miles at an average speed of 4 miles an hour - Which gives me some confidence for the task ahead}.

The route is a trail of 24 miles between Okehampton and Launceston - Which given the recent wet weather was more boggy than I had expected (good training for Wales !). 

The two Norman castles at Okehampton and Launceston, which give their name to the Trail, mark the starting and finishing points.

Further information can be found here :

What is the Climb Every Mountain Challenge

I have set myself the challenge of climbing every peak in Wales over the height of 2500 feet during 2012.

There are a total of 29 peaks - in ten different ranges. Four are in the South and the remainder in the North.

I want to do all of the southern peaks in one 24 hour period, and then all of the northern ones in a five day endurance challenge (which will involve more than 120 miles of walking and a total of around 15,000 feet of ascent).

I will post more details of the peaks (and the route, for those interested) in the spring.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The challenge of Rural Poverty in India

As the large cities in India expand, and become ever more affluent; there is a significant negative effect on the rural population of the sub-continent.

Land value goes up, food prices rise and those living at the lowest levels in society become the victims :

Some facts about India :-

40% of India's population is below the age of 18 years which at 400 million is the world's largest child population.

.Less than half of India's children between the age 6 and 14 go to school.

.Only one-third of all children who enter school in grade one reach grade eight.

.One in every ten children is disabled in India.

.95 in every 1000 children born in India, do not see their fifth birthday.

.70 in every 1000 children born in India, do not see their first birthday.

.Only 38% of India's children below the age of 2 years are immunised.

.74% of India's children below the age of 3 months are anaemic.

.Acute respiratory infections are leading causes of child mortality (30%) followed by diarrhoea (20%) in India.

.Amongst married women in India today, 75% were under age at the time of their marriages.

.23% of India's children are underweight at birth.

.More that 50% of India's children are malnourished

How can I find out more about Future Hope

Future Hope has a fantastic website that you can visit (and sign up for regular newsletters)

it can be found at -:


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

About Future Hope

Future Hope was set up in 1988 to provide a home, education, medical aid and opportunity to some of the children of Kolkata who found themselves living on the streets of the city.  These children suffer extreme poverty and have little or no ability to change their lives.  More than anything they need the love and security of a home.  Future Hope now runs eight homes where more than 200 former street children live and enjoy life. 

Kolkata is a heaving metropolis of some 15 million plus.  People from every possible community gravitate towards the city and it is surrounded by some of the most economically disadvantaged areas of the sub-continent.  The children in Future Hope come from many different backgrounds and almost every community.  Most are forced onto the streets through a combination of economic hardship and broken homes.  Many street children have withstood abuse at the hands of their parents or other adults.

During the day street children roam the streets earning a meagre living and at night and in the early hours many can be found sleeping in the main railway stations of Kolkata – Howrah and Sealdah.  Some street children, though destitute, remain with their families on the street and so have some protection.

Many children sleep alone and vulnerable on the station platforms and surrounding areas.  These children are our immediate concern for they are alone, noticeably thinner and more unkempt than the others.  Many are ill, all are vulnerable and most are exposed to serious forms of exploitation.  It is these children for whom Future Hope was established.

Sport is a key pillar of life at Future Hope and is a daily activity for the children.  We have found sport to be a very effective medium for instilling positive values as well as offering a constructive outlet for children’s energies.  We encourage excellence at sport but are just as encouraging to those who are less interested to develop competitively.

Every afternoon the Future Hope bus sets off for the 100+ acre Kolkata Maidan, a green but dusty park area in the centre of Kolkata.  Depending on the season the children enjoy cricket, football, rugby, hockey and many other sports our creative team can come up with.  Three times a week we have one of the coaches of the Indian women’s football team coach the girls.  For those youngsters with talent we try to ensure this is encouraged and nurtured.  We have five boys attending the cricket academy of Indian cricketing star Arun Lai.  We have two boys and two girls regularly attending tennis coaching at Kolkata’s premier South Club.  It is up early at the weekends for some youngsters as they take part in a rowing camp in South Kolkata.

Future Hope’s best known sporting achievements have taken place on the rugby field where we play officially as the “Future Hope Harlequins”. 

At Future Hope School, as well as in the homes, we hope that each child will learn much of what is needed for work, further education, independence and happiness. 

On the one hand, our children have a normal English Medium Indian education following NCERT guidelines in preparation for NIOS or CBSE Board exams with the accepted range of subjects including:  English, Maths, Social Sciences, Computers, Second Language and Science.

The curriculum includes non examinable subjects such as Art, Singing, a Library lesson, and PE each week as well as a daily individual reading session for each child in the Primary Section.

On the other hand, and unusual in India, is the degree to which the curriculum at FHS fits the child.  Our average class size is a child-friendly 12, our teacher pupil ratio1:8.

We have fast track to support the older child who newly arrived at, say, 12 years old cannot read and needs individual care to be able to join a main street class.  There is provision for individual assistance for the child who needs help to enrich classroom teaching.

The syllabuses are aimed at the important needs of a child who doesn’t have parents to read or tell him stories or someone to discuss current affairs with her.  In this individual work the teachers are supported by a steady supply of classroom assistant and skilled volunteers.