▲ Little Big Help volunteers show off their T-shirts during Saturday night's fundraiser in Seogwipo, Sept. 11. Photo by Bethany Carlson
The children of Our Home orphanage in Kerala, India are often lacking in basic necessities, including adequate shoes, effective lice and worm treatments, and simple school supplies such as notebooks, chalk, and pencils. After learning about the poverty afflicting the children of Our Home, local English teacher Lindsey Lynch was inspired to bring the Little Big Help project to Jeju in an effort to assist the students of the orphanage, whose home and school is funded entirely by private donations. In Seogwipo on Sept. 11, Lynch organized an evening of multi-national song, poetry, and dance to raise money for the school.
Opening with Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee,” Lynch, dressed along with several other volunteers in T-shirts featuring the Little Big Help logo, kicked off the evening on an energetic note.
Other acts during the night included lively performances by local bands Lobster, Socialism, Dialya, a performance by a traditional Korean drumming band, as well as original poetry by local slam poets Jack Quinn, Wilkine Brutus, and Josh Fisher.
To involve local students in Little Big Help, schools have been encouraged to take part in an island-wide “Bring a Pencil to School Day,” which will be held in the week following Chuseok, (Sept. 27-Aug. 1.) The pencils donated will be sent to the elementary school at Our Home. Lynch also encourages teachers to have an open dialogue with their classes concerning students in poverty-stricken nations to increase cultural understanding.
“Korean culture is very traditional, and can’t easily be broken, but nowadays children are more open to understanding and accepting other cultures,” said local social worker Boo Eun Sook. “And also children’s parents are very important for teaching that we’re all human.”
Volunteer Sachin Majahan, who has spent time with the children of Our Home, said, “Here, we have all the amenities. Imagine if you didn’t. I don’t think [Our Home students] can even imagine a white board.” Majahan advocates encouraging Korean students to gain a better understanding of life for kids in poverty-stricken nations.
“If you can empower kids, then that’s wonderful, because they’re going to have the money to contribute.”
The event wound down on a positive note as Lynch declared raffle prize winners and announced that the charity’s financial goal for the evening of 1 million won had been surpassed.
While the orphanage is in need of volunteers, it is privately funded, and is always in need of, and eager for, financial backing. Anyone wishing to offer further contributions that will go toward the purchase of school supplies and living necessities can directly contact Lindsey Lynch at email@example.com. Those who are interested in advice for introducing a classroom discussion on poverty into their classrooms may also contact Lynch for resources.
The namesake of the project, Little Big Help, was born, as Lynch noted, because every little bit can help. “A gift can lift a life, so tell me what’s your price?” poet Jack Quinn closed with his original piece about charity: “How much is it worth to you to save another’s life?”
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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