On the 16th October 2009 my friend Nicola Kelly (MIMTA) and I were very excited. We were taking part in a charity fundraiser for the Hope Foundation for the street children in Calcutta. After distributing fliers, sending emails, collecting donations and selling lots of tickets we were making good progress. We organised a team of fellow complimentary therapists to participate so we had a variety of practitioners.
Our venue was the Glenview hotel and all therapists were based in the Library. Gentle soothing Indian music was piped into our room which was bathed just in candlelight. Incense filled the air and we all took our positions. A few of us dressed in Indian costume to enhance the fun of the night. The room offered mini sessions of Indian Head Massage, Hand Reflexology, Amatsu and subtle Healing. The treatments lasted approximately 20-30 minutes. We raised over €400 in the therapy room alone as we were very busy even though we stopped at 10.30pm to avoid people who may have consumed alcohol by then. The overall total raised was approx €9000 which was fantastic.
The hotel was decked out in colourful garlands and decorations. Fire eaters and fire jugglers were stationed in the long dark driveway and greeted guests as they arrived. The room opposite our therapy sanctuary was showing Bollywood movies like Monsoon Wedding and Slumdog Millionaire. Across the hall was scrumptious fragrant Indian food, dream boxes, silks and spices. A henna tattooist painted many a hand and arm with impressive delicate artwork. In the main function room Indian DJ’s took to the decks while professional Bollywood dancers took to the floor. Lots of guests dressed according to the Bollywood theme so there were lots of sparkles and jewels everywhere. Some Indian people came in traditional magnificently embroidered garments that were really spectacular to the eye.
There were prizes for the best dressed, a raffle and an auction. Many people danced the night away at an amazing alternative evening that was great fun but more importantly for a great cause.
Did you know that 250,000 children live on the streets of Calcutta? They are born into extreme poverty and many are abandoned and abused. They eat, sleep, wash and go to the toilet in the streets and in the slums of the city. The Hope Foundation was founded in 1999 to help these street children.
All donations go directly to project’s working with these children and their families, e.g. providing vaccinations and antenatal care to the poorest people and providing safe and caring homes for abandoned children. HOPE also funds schools and coaching centres, clinics, crèches, HIV/Aids programmes, vocational training and a Children's Hospital. The goal is to provide supports and skills that will enable children and their families to build a better future for themselves, free of poverty.
No matter how great or small a gesture is, whether it is volunteering of your time, making a donation or taking part in one of the events, it will make a positive difference to the life of a street child. Please see their website www.hopefoundation.ie
We all felt that we contributed to a great night, had an enjoyable experience, raised a lot of money for charity and gave something back with little effort. We are blessed to have the gifts to share with others at such an event and will certainly look to volunteer again.