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Reports on how charity work and development continues at the childrens and young women's residential boarding school in Bhubaneswar in Odisha, India.

NEWSLETTER—October 2004

By Malcolm Harper

On the roof of the new building

All continues to go well at the PUSS school in Naharkanta. I have not been able to go there myself since earlier this year, but other friends who have been there report that all the children are flourishing. I shall be working in Orissa at the end of next month and shall take the opportunity to spend a day or so with PUSS.

The children in the boarding section are now able to take advantage of the new dining and recreation space that has finally been completed in the new top storey of the classroom block. Building works are always rather drawn out in Orissa, because of the monsoon, which was very heavy this year, and because of the 45 degree summer temperatures in May and June, but they are able to work to budget and to produce very serviceable accommodation, at what seem to us to be astonishingly low costs.

An incidental by-product of that part of your support that is used for buildings is that it creates jobs for labourers, both men and women. They may not earn more than a pound a day, but this is a great deal better than working in richer people's fields for even less, or than earning nothing at all.

Musical evenings at the Old Farmhouse

The wind trio recital in June was a great success. We had much better weather than last year, the music was great, and we raised well over a thousand pounds for PUSS. Make a note now in your 2005 diary for next year's musical evening at Filgrave; Friday 24th June. We have been fortunate enough to persuade Hazel Brooks and David Pollock to give us a violin and harpsichord recital of salon and court music from eighteenth century London, along with contemporary readings from Pepys, Boswell and others. Just to see their amazingly beautiful harpsichord is a wonderful experience in itself.

Long overdue septic tank nearly completed

One very important but less visible construction project is the long-overdue septic tank. Through the good offices of Helen Beck, one of our supporters, Femmes d'Europe, a small charity based in Brussels, have made a donation of 4500 Euros specifically for this rather un-glamorous but very necessary work, and it is nearly completed.

Telling children about India

We have undertaken a number of other fund-raising activities. I have put together a series of pictures showing how the PUSS children, and other Indian children, make do with rather less luxuries than we enjoy. I have shown this to groups of 5 to 8 year old children at Alleyn's School in London, at Emberton first school, at Portfields in Newport Pagnell, (to three separate groups of 80 or so children) and at Filgrave school. It is great fun, for me and I hope for the children, it teaches them something, although they seem already to be extraordinarily well informed, and it raises some money. It also reminds me how much nicer, and brighter, young children are than post-graduate students!

If anyone knows of a school where they might welcome something of the sort, do please let me know.

Annual General Meeting June 2004

We had our annual general meeting on 9th of June and are very pleased to have two new members of our committee. Chris Pouncey, who is well known to you for his sponsored mountain climbing exploits, and David Scott, one of our longest standing supporters, as well as being father to Doctor Lizzie Scott, who has worked at PUSS in India, and has also served on our committee.

This brings the numbers of our committee members to seven, including myself. Rodney Newth continues to be our indispensable Hon. Treasurer, without whom the whole endeavour would crumble within days. Uschi Kraus-Harper is Hon. Secretary, and keeps me and our member records in order. Eva-Maria Elliott has performed sterling service with sponsored pub quizzes and cycle rides, while Sri Srikanthan maintains our essential links with the Cranfield School of Management, without which this newsletter would never be printed or distributed.

Future financial needs of PUSS

Students play reading

We discussed the likely future financial needs of PUSS at the AGM and at the subsequent committee meeting in September. It is becoming clear that PUSS will almost certainly have to relocate in the next few years, since the area around Naharkanta is rapidly being developed and there is already pressure on the presently vacant land where the children play during their break times. We have therefore decided to try to accumulate enough money to enable PUSS to finance a move if and when it becomes necessary. We shall have to work even harder to raise enough money for this but we are sure that with your support it will be possible.

Malcolm Harper, Filgrave, October 2004

© Friends of the Children of Orissa