Reports on how charity work and development continues at the childrens and young women's residential boarding school in Bhubaneswar in Odisha, India.
By Malcolm Harper
ANNUAL RECITAL AND DINNER IN AID OF PUSS — FILGRAVE, 25TH JUNE 2010
Our recital will be given this year by the Adderbury String Quartet. The leader will be David LePage (www.davidlepage.co.uk). Christopher Allan will be the cellist, and the second violin and viola will confirm their participation shortly. The programme will include Mozart's D Minor quartet, KV 421, Haydn's quartet "The Fifths", opus 76 number 2, and the theme and variations by Handel and Halvorsen for violin and cello.
The recital will take place as before at the Old Farm House, Filgrave, at 7 pm on Friday 25th June, followed by a candle-lit dinner, and preceded, weather permitting, by drinks in the garden. The all-in price, also as before, will be fifty pounds (£50) a head, although higher sums will be gratefully accepted.
If you want to join us, please let us know right away, by phone at 01234 711764, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robin and Ruth Dibblee are two of our newer (and very generous) supporters; they were going on holiday to Orissa and found out about Friends of the Children of Orissa and the PUSS school from our website. They sent us the following account of their visit:
Older girls waving goodbye
"We visited PUSS a month ago, learning of the school's existence from the Friends website and contacting Kuku for permission to visit, via the Harpers. It was the most enjoyable and rewarding experience of our time in Orissa - which was in itself our best visit to India to date.
The challenges the school faces and the superb work that Kuku does, have been reported on by previous visitors in the Newsletter. What we found most attractive was the feeling of a really happy and involved community with at the same time an academic discipline and focus rare in UK schools, of any social class.
Kuku has managed, aided by the children themselves (and the mutual respect which makes Indian society so different to the UK), to create a democratic atmosphere without all the organisational baggage we seem addicted to in the West. Kids or staff, it doesn't seem to matter, all seem to have a say in making the school work. And it has produced excellent results, confident bright kids with high self esteem - which given the challenging backgrounds many have, is nothing short of amazing. We felt the kids hosted our visit - although Kuku's cooking was superb!"
Very grateful for the support we get
Kuku, and the 401 children at the PUSS school in Orissa, are as ever very grateful for the support we get from all our Friends. Food prices in India are going up at an annual rate of twenty per cent a year, and food makes up the majority of the running costs of the school. And the pound is going down in value when compared with the Indian rupee, so we need more money just to stay in the same place; thank you all, very much.
I had to spend most of February in Delhi; the weather at that time is perfect, but I was tied up in an endless series of tiresome and mostly pointless meetings with British and Indian bureaucracies; it's a toxic mixture ! But I managed to escape for two weekends to Orissa, which went some way to keeping me sane.
An evening of Orissa dancing
The first weekend was the occasion of the PUSS annual day; we had an evening of Orissa dancing and other entertainment, and Kuku successfully persuaded the chief guest, an important government official, to agree to make a grant to pay for a new wall around the school premises. I merely sat and enjoyed the dances and admired Kuku's selling skills.
During the second weekend I was a little more useful. One of the children, a sweet little six year old girl called "B", who had been suffering form TB for several months, was found to be HIV positive.
The government provides free medication and other care for this problem, but, like everything in Orissa, it is very hard for poorer people to find out what they are entitled to, and to get it. I was able to support Kuku's efforts and to help her open a few official doors, and B is now getting the care she needs.
"B" recieves medicine
On the Sunday we took all the children (except B, who was still not well enough) and the older girls who were preparing for their exams) on a picnic to a nearby hilltop park and Buddhist temple complex. They had a great time, and so did I, and I was very sorry to have to go back to Delhi.
Please keep your support coming. Take a look at the school on the website, www.orissa.org.uk, and new individual supporters are always welcome !
If anyone happens to be going to India on holiday, and would like to call in on the school, let us know. We are also always happy to talk to prospective 'gap year' visitors who might want to do some English and IT teaching, and to have a great time.
Malcolm Harper, Filgrave, April 2010
© Friends of the Children of Orissa