Pay it forward

A group of like minded artists and designers come together from time to time and participate in fund-raising benefits to “Pay it forward” – are you familiar with the concept? Have you seen the film or read the book? I watched the movie a while ago ( here’s a link for more info ) and of course, it made me think…….
We (those of us reading this blog post) are extremely priveledged; we take our daily needs/requirements for granted. Living in Asia, Africa makes you realise how much we all just take for granted….the roof over our heads, clean water gushing out of the tap at will any time of the day and night ( I was so shocked on one of my earlier visits to India when I discovered that the water supply is regulated and water is only supplied for a few hours daily  [if you are lucky] and you have to fill buckets, drums, install water tanks to store water for all day usage. This practice continues as there is insufficient water in India to cope with consumption) electricity, food…heating, cooling, umbrella’s….the list is endless…

Obviously Third World countires are the worst affected, but the universe seems to have tilted and there are real problems everywhere ….. On recent visits to European countries I have started to notice beggars, a lot more people living on the streets, shelters, food kitchens, people distributing baskets of food. Shocking reality in this ‘modern’ age where we believe or choose to believe, people are better off.

The Shelter - an orphanage near Delhi

Children living in their loving home at The Shelter, with Sandra and Saji.

Last year, our group decided to help a wonderful woman, Sandra Bongiolatti, who came to India many years ago to work with Mother Teresa. There she met and later married her husband Saji and they set up a tiny version of Mother Teresa’s orphanage just outside Delhi. At the last count, they were looking after 19 children and 2 babies. Sadly Saji passed away last summer and Sandra was left devastated, struggling to come to terms with her loss, and deal with the harsh realities of life; paying bills, general annual maintenance with winter drawing in and most urgently paying the children’s school fees. We managed to raise enough to see her through that initial tricky period, and a bit more to produce a little flier about The Shelter, hoping a few long term solutions can be found through corporate sponsorships and more volunteers to assist regularly.

The whole experience really shook me: life is so fragile. Your universe can crumble in the blink of an eye. It happens. It has happened!

It felt great to help Sandra, (who is nothing short of a saint) in her hour of need and it’s been a privilege to work with someone like her – totally self-less and truly an inspiration.
If you want to read more about The Shelter, their mission or just look at the photos of the happy, well cared of children, just click on this link

So come on everyone – Pay It Forward and feel good today, then share your stories with us at Tiffinware.

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