In August, during my visit to Germany, some friends, specially the people of Arnsberg and some relatives of Sebatian Pieper, gave some gift money for the children in India. Whereas I left a lot of it with Sebastian as the seed money for the foundation that we are planning to start, I had little left with me. Along with the support I received through the sponsors of assistachildproject.org, and the gifts of the German people, we gave 285 blankets to children under the age of 14 in Altapur and Bolaigaon. All the children were very happy to receive the blankets. 124 boys and 160 girl children were given good quality thick blankets in the last week of November to beat the chill of December and January in this part of India. Thank you very much to all the sponsors and the people of Seattle, USA, and the people of Arnsberg, specially Sebastian, Julia, Fr. Blottcher, family of Evelyn, Michael, and every other sweet face that I met there. Besides this are some of the photos of the distribution. Thank you dear friends for your generous support. (Please, accept my apologies for uploading these pictures too late.)
For all those who have been wondering on the TV and media reports on the attack of avian influenza (H5N1) virus found among the chickens in parts of West Bengal, including all the three districts where Social Welfare Instituteoperates : theDistrict of South Dinajpur was the first among all to be affected by the virus along with theBirbhum district. The virus has been confirmed in the samples from Malda as well. Some samples from Raiganj in North Dinajpur district have been sent for testing.
TheDirectorate of Civil Defense called for a meeting on 22 Jan 2008 at the State office of the UNICEF in Kolkata. Representatives from Government and Non-Governmental organizations also tookpart in it. SWI was asked to build awareness among the people to halt thespread of the virus. UNICEF also has sent 360 posters and 1500 small size wallpapers and a six minute film clip. To match with the efforts of the government, we have printed 6,000 leaflets. All these will be used for awareness building in 90 Panchayats in the three districts. We have also made VCDs out of the video clip and we will use it to build consciousness about the virus and the disease in 20 Panchayats in 40 places (two each) inthe coming 20 days by using two LCD projectors in interior villages. And from 26th Jan onwards, a ventriloquist (“talking doll”) will also go to 30 places in the next 10 days covering 15 Panchayats and create awareness on the Bird Flu. So, next time you think of visiting our areas…. Well, don’t be afraid of the flu! We shall treat you to a delicious chicken curry for the dinner!