Thirty-year-old Eimear Kenny from Moydow has been a member of the charity Lotus Child since 2008. The organisation supports and assists street children and impoverished communities in Calcutta, India and has gone from strength to strength since its inception seven years ago, in 2005.
Last week the organisation launched a new fundraiser in conjunction with 45 SuperValu stores nationwide, where shoppers have been invited to make a donation to Lotus Child each time they use the special Little Helper trolleys with their children.
For Eimear – daughter of Bernard and the late Doreen - her role both on the committee and with the endeavours in India, have been both rewarding and challenging, and her personal experience of Calcutta in recent times has enhanced her own sense of self and helped her to become more focused on the specific needs of India’s poorest people.
In 2008, the Longford solicitor, who is based with a legal firm in Dublin, began to see for herself how beneficial the work of Lotus Child was in India, and she joined the committee of Locus Child which has four other members.
“I joined because I started to become very aware of the poverty there, so I got involved with the various projects in Calcutta that are being financed and in some cases initiated by Lotus Child.
“There are currently three projects in Calcutta including the Little Girls’ Home; the provision of financial assistance to Sr Cyril to educate children on the streets and the third is the financing of education in a community outside Calcutta.
“Lotus Child provides the funding so that these little girls can be supported and educated and will have an opportunity to live independently again,” explained Eimear.
“We also work very closely with Sr Cyril who tries to educate the children living on the streets. Lotus Child provides her with the funding that she needs, and what she does is so vital for, and important to those children.
“Last November we went to a little place outside Calcutta with 18 other volunteers and Lotus Child built a community centre for the people there. It services five communities where in the day time children will be educated; Lotus Child will provide the money for teacher salaries, books and all the necessary equipment and then the older children will be educated at the facility in the evenings.”
Lotus Child is also encouraging women in their communities to become self sufficient and the Organisation has established a funding system whereby the women can borrow a small amount of money to buy materials for embroidery and other home enterprises and then once their wears begin to sell, the women will be provided with an opportunity to pay the initial loan back to Lotus Child.
“This initiative will provide these women with an opportunity to provide for themselves and for their children,” Eimear added. “We intend running a similar project in Calcutta next year and volunteers who wish to help out are more than welcome to do so.
“Projects such as these provide parents and children with an opportunity to secure a better future for themselves and they are not getting a hand out; they are getting a hand up. While my commitment is huge in terms of the time that I spend, when you see how far a Euro goes in India, it makes it all the more worthwhile,” Eimear added.
For more information long onto www.lotuschild.ie