My great grandmother used to say “goodness has its own rewards”. She was a school teacher in the north of Queensland, hot and green sugar cane farm land. In the late 1920s, Australia went through its first major (and its largest) recession. Sugar prices tumbled, farmers could barely make a living. Women were using beef fat (lard or dripping) with bread as regular meals for their children. In the country, most could not afford the petrol to take their kids to school. There is a picture of her on the front page of the Innisfail News, showing her walking the street, arm in arm with the farmers. A social activist, she was a driving force & coordinator behind the protests. This protest was instrumental in the introduction of Australia’s first social welfare payment for out of work people.
I am reminded of my great grandmother’s saying at a cheque presentation to Dale and Florence, two key people in the Riverkids Program. Offices in Singapore and in Phnom Penh (but don’t get too carried away with the visual – the Singapore office is functional, and typically NGO – loads of stuff scattered around the room, signs of the different projects underway), Riverkids is trying to make a dent into the terrible systemic cycle of poverty in Cambodia. Specifically, Phnom Penh.
Riverkids started with one little girl’s bravery – see story. It is now a team of Khmer and Western paid and volunteer staff that work with over 40 families and their children, using health and education initiatives as the social levers to reduce the reliance on child trafficking, and all its attendant hazards (drug use, prostitution).
The Riverkids program focus on two or three key areas in education and health, with children at the centre of each of their initiatives.
ANZA WanderingYogis were at the Singapore Offices to hand over money ($3,200 – wow, what an effort, yogis) they had raised for the past two seasons. We had no idea what the money would be going to, but we knew it would be of great benefit. As we sit down with Florence (the Programs Manager, not pictured below, she was the photographer), she laments a sudden increase in the price of yoga they wished to introduce as part of their StudyHall project. The universe it seemed, was sending a signal.
What did the ANZA WanderingYogis make happen?
As one of the yogis commented, “not only are they doing something amazing with their work, it is also incredible just how far they make the money go”. And just how true it is that goodness does have its own rewards.
We helped with:
- Introduction of a 1 year, twice a day, 5 days a week, yoga program for 10 children in the Study Hall project (expected to expand over the next year up to 20) – providing them with mindfulness techniques, a bit of fun and exercise, to help them in their daily lives
- The purchase of a digital camera, scanner/printer – the offices in Phnom Penh are not air conditioned, so technology fails more frequently – allowing the 6 social workers to take photos of families and children, scan their notes (instead of type up), into a case management system – saving about 200 working hours a month in work!
- A funding pool for the introduction of kindergarten yoga for children under 6 years
- Introduction of once a week yoga for the Riverkids social workers.
I am reminded of how little it takes to make a positive difference to someone’s life, including your own. Goodness rewards everyone, including the giver.
But wait, there’s more….
Sponsor a WanderingYogi Mat
The yoga mats the children are using in StudyHall, donations, are not coping too well with no air conditioning. In fact, they are getting downright sticky. Warning bells went off for WanderingYogi, mats that are sticky give off chemicals you don’t want to inhale. They also don’t have enough, so towels are being used. On concrete floors. More alarm bells.
And not just any mats – quality mats, mats that love to do yoga, and don’t sweat, while you can. That don’t slip on concrete, are eco friendly, and thick enough to take a nap on when the yoga gets too tough:) Mats that like to travel and don’t mind the heat. Also includes a cotton bag for easy storage.
The mats have been designed with a local Singaporean company. The mats normally retail at $150. ANZA Wanderingyogi members can buy these mats for the even friendlier price of $100.