Carla Wye’s memorable trip to India in spring 2014 led to the Friday Media Group Foundation sponsoring a child at the Hampi Children’s Trust.The Trust aims to promote and improve the educational prospects of young children in Hampi and the surrounding areas in Karnataka, South India.
They work with children aged 4 to 16 who have not received any education in the past, often due to family financial problems. Many have been rescued from begging on the street.
Magical Day in Hampi – by Carla Wye
I recently enjoyed a two week trip to the beautiful country of India. It was a particularly special trip as I was going with a large group of friends, some of whom I hadn’t had the chance to see much of since graduating from university and we promised we’d involve ourselves in some charitable work whilst we were enjoying all the country had to offer.
India is a truly fascinating place and certainly an assault on all of your senses. You could be watching a large water buffalo walk down a dusty road with dogs, cats and pigs running by its side, with the noise of 100 tuk tuks beeping joyfully and swerving round it. At the same time, you’re overwhelmed by the thick, unforgiving heat and the smells of fresh spices, hot chai and beautiful, tropical landscapes.
After spending one busy week in South Goa, doing lots of fishing and food sampling, we headed to the magical land of Hampi. Hampi really is a truly overwhelming place, an enormous expanse of ancient land, only recently discovered and inhabited.
The whole of Hampi is built around giant boulders and ancient temples. Hampi embraces a number of different religions but due to the volume of Hindu’s, meat is strictly off the menu, as is alcohol. Hampi has very few permanent residents and those that do reside here make a living from the few tourists that come during the summer months alone.
We were overwhelmed by the landscape and the views that Hampi had to offer, but nothing could prepare us for the kind spirited people we were to meet there.
We visited ‘The Hampi Children’s Trust’ on our first day in Hampi. We were told by the owner that all of the children were there because they have not had any education in the past and that their parents were unable to look after them, normally due to financial problems. Without this vital education, the future for the children of Hampi is bleak.
Immediately upon arriving at the school, the smiling children came straight over to us. This may be something to do with the fact we came armed with a large bag of flavoured sweets, costing the grand total of 40 rupees (around 40p). Each of the children smiled politely and waited their turn to take a sweet. They were extremely polite and so grateful for something so small. They had clearly been taught how to speak to adults and each extended their hand to us before introducing themselves and asking in turn for our own names.
We played with the children for some time, teaching them famous English sing alongs and of course, noughts and crosses. They too taught us some tricks of their own and waited patiently until we knew how to play. The children demonstrated to us their English writing ability which was fantastic and so impressive. We even tested them on the English alphabet, which they could recite fluently. They were fascinated with taking photos on our phones and giggled hysterically when we showed them photos of themselves.
As the day wound down, the children started to get tired and retreated to small groups, as instructed by their teachers, to pray and read goodnight stories to each other. We left the children’s trust full of optimism for the children we’d met and with a heavy heart for those that don’t have the same fantastic trust to rely on. These smiley, polite and happy children have so little compared to a lot of children in the UK yet this didn’t dampen their spirits. It was a truly humbling experience.
Friday Media Group Foundation’s commitment to help
In light of Carla and her friends’ efforts at Hampi, the Foundation is delighted to sponsor a child there, at a cost of around £140-150 for a year. The group who originally visited the centre, continue to stay in touch with the Trust, and are hopeful of making further visits in the future.
Socially responsible tourism – Carla’s previous charity ventures in India
Godfreys Elephant Sanctuary in Calangute
I have visited India a few times before and always been drawn back because of the genuine, kind nature of the people there and of course some of the beautiful, exotic animals we don’t get here in the UK.
Every trip is different and I always leave wanting to go back and see more. On a previous trip I visited ‘Godfreys Elephant Sanctuary’ in Calangute. We had tried to visit the previous year but a few months later and were told that the elephants weren’t in Calangute during the very hot, monsoon season, and were moved into the jungle in Kerala for rest and shade. Much to our disappointment it was also lovely to hear that Godfreys genuinely cared for the elephants and put their needs before the potential money that could be raised. When we eventually got to see the elephants, it was well worth the wait. We washed them and fed them bananas and learned a little about how they had been saved from working in the logging industry, which requires elephants to carry heavy weighted logs for hours in the intense Indian heat.
Children’s Orphanage in South Goa
I have also visited ‘the girls home’ at a children’s orphanage in South Goa, in Panaji. As soon as we walked into the orphanage with pens and pencils, the children came running over and were desperate to use them. The last time we visited, the orphanage were applying for planning permission to extend their buildings to cater for the many poor orphans who need their care.
About the Hampi Children’s Trust ( HCT)
We enable the children to attend school, as well as providing food, healthcare and emotional and educational support. We currently have over 40 children enrolled in our programme and provide each with:
- Full school uniforms and the essential materials for their education. The children are enrolled either at the local Government school or the Sri Pampati private school, with Hampi Children’s Trust paying their annual school fees.
- Healthcare, dental care and medical treatment.
- A teacher to help the children with homework and their studies.
- A cook to provide the children with three meals a day, six days a week.
- An “out of school hours” programme seven days a week to develop the children’s “life-skills” through special projects like art workshops and yoga classes.
We hope to expand the Trust – we already have more than ten children on our waiting list, with many many more in need. This expansion is fully dependent on donations and volunteers, from both Hampi’s residents and tourists. Not only are monetary donations needed, but equally important is the participation of volunteers, and those who can raise peoples awareness of our cause, work and aims.
We are always looking for volunteers to help out at Hampi Children’s Trust. We
need both short and long term volunteers to help the children with homework, teach
English and assist with cooking and cleaning. Volunteers also come and lead special
projects with the children, from art or filmmaking workshops to singing lessons and
yoga. We have rooms available for volunteers to stay at Harmony House, where the Trust is based.
Hampi itself is a magical and spiritual place and a major Hindu pilgrimage destination
with 26 square km of temples, ruins and a surreal rocky landscape. It is a uniquely
beautiful place to stay and volunteering at Hampi Children’s Trust provides the perfect opportunity for people to get to know the area and see what life is really like
– a lot more so than one would by simply taking a tour or staying in Hampi for a few days.
If you would like to volunteer email Kali at firstname.lastname@example.org or