The last couple of weeks have been so busy…what with puppet workshop preparations, toy-making, book giving, finalising the details of our new crafty project for schools here in Algiers and meeting new families that need help things have been hectic ..and then made so much more difficult because of a bug that has circulated around my home that knocked us for six and left me literally wanting to hide beneath the bed-covers too weak to do anything else….fortunately though we are now well on the mend!
But never mind all that, what I really wanted to say was a huge, huge thank you to all of you lovely lot that have been sending in donations! Too many to add pictures of everything but here are just a few..
An amazing dinosaur and unicorn that have been handmade.
A fab collection of hats and lots of treats for the children! I can’t tell you how excited the kids get when they are given a pack of stickers, a few hair clips, a ball, or a packet of pencils-such small gifts but they always bring the biggest smiles!
And what girl doesn’t like a sparkly bracelet?!
And a few of the toys that have been arriving….isn’t the elephant just the cutest!
People keep asking when the cut off date is for our toy drive.Well, we are hoping to give out soft toys to as many children as we can for the whole of this year so you still have quite a few months left to make something marvelous or for the non crafters to buy something beautiful.
As always, thank you all so much for your support and for choosing to make a difference.
Have a wonderful weekend!
The other day someone asked me who were the ‘type’ of people that we help. Type of people? well I said, we help… people. Just people, there is no type. Because here’s the thing, the people who we help are just the same as you and me. Today I’m doing OK and I hope you are too but, in the blink of an eye it could all be gone and I could be the one in need of help, just like you could.
In Algeria, there are many people whose lives are balanced on a knife edge. All it takes is one small change and everything can come tumbling down. There isn’t a safety net…there isn’t something in place to tide people over . No work means no food and if renting, no home either it is as simple as that. The fortunate have friends or family who can help out but, it’s not a long term solution nor is it guaranteed. This is exactly what has happened to Rachida, a lady I found out about yesterday. She got divorced, she was made redundant, she now lives with her son in a dilapidated building with no bathroom and no heating. A place with cracks on the walls and broken windows. A home with a kitchen that has fallen apart and a sink without plumbing. She has literally no income and relies on friends for food.
So, who do we help? we help the Rachida’s of the world, we help the people that need it and do as much as we can because in the blink of an eye it could so very easily be you or me walking in Rachida’s shoes.
This isn’t my usual type of request for help but, I know that our followers are such a fabulously mixed bunch of people that I am hoping and praying that there is at least one of you that is fluent in French who could help me out with translating some information. It’s not ‘War and Peace’ just some promotional material…Anyone?……please…
If you can spare the time, you really would be doing me a huge favor!
Right, back to emu-making!
Wow! I wasn’t quite expecting such a phenomenal response to our puppet making workshops. In just two days all 64 places have been taken but, with so many others still getting in touch to book a place we have decided to add on another date with two more sessions So, for those of you in Algiers that want to attend, on Sunday 26th March there will be sessions at 10-12 and 1-3...places are going fast so get in quick !
What is also really lovely is that a few organisations have got in touch and asked us if we could hold craft sessions for them, including one that wants us to help them paint a mural on the side of their community room…of course, we said yes! We want to reach all sections of the community so if you know of an organisation/school/group etc who who might be interested in our crafty workshops do get in touch and let me know – I would love to hear from you! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Next week it is ‘International book giving day’ so we are busy making up gift bags that include a book, crayons, sweets and a few other treats which we will be giving out to children on the day…I hope it doesn’t rain!
For us in Algeria the weekend starts tomorrow, I am planning to spend the time making an Emu puppet for our event next month…I hope you too have fun whatever you do!
I mentioned a little while ago about our plans to run craft workshops for children in Algiers, now with funding in place I am so excited to be able to announce the first two dates – 22nd and 29th March which coincides with school holiday time in Algeria. Little Stars language Centre in Baba Hassen has generously allowed us to use their premises for these sessions but, we plan to hold them all over and wherever we can to reach as wide a section of the community as possible…if you have any suggestions or would like us to hold one where you are please let me know.
So, the session will be a fun -filled two hours of cutting, painting and gluing! During the workshop, each child will get to make a variety of puppets including Spoon, Shadow and Mask. Children will be encouraged to make up stories using their puppets and play them out in our specially made puppet theatre.
The workshop will develop creativity and imagination and build confidence through self-expression. Instruction is in English so it will also be an opportunity for those learning the language to develop vocabulary and practice speaking skills. Knowledge of English is not a prerequisite though-ALL children are very welcome.
The workshop will be led by a U.K. qualified teacher who is a native English speaker .
These sessions are suitable for children aged 5-11 years and are completely free of charge. Places are limited so it is essential to book a space for your child(ren) as soon as possible to avoid disappointment(details on the flyer)
If you would like to download and share the flyer (and it would be great if you did!)please use the links below.
If you are in Algiers I would LOVE for you to book spaces -I promise, your children will have so much crafty fun…and it is always nice to meet our supporters!
You lot are just wonderful! It has only been two weeks since I wrote about our ‘toy drive’ and our plans to give out as many toys as we can this year but, I have already been inundated with emails telling me about the fabulous toys that so many of you are in the process of making and of groups that are going to do teddy and doll making as their monthly challenges and then send them on to us…it is just absolutely brilliant that you have all leapt on-board wanting to help. Thank you!
So far 96 toys have been sent in, that includes a whopping 45(some pictured below) from the lovelies at ‘Loving Hands’.
People have also contacted to say that they would love to help but don’t craft so ask can they buy a toy instead? The answer is Yes, of course! So many of our supporters make amazing things and they like to gift those things to the children and families we help but, bought toys are very much welcomed too.
For those that sew or would like to try, Del told me about this wonderful free pattern for a ‘ Mermaid Milly doll’ available for free here I haven’t had time to try it out yet but, it does look really good and there are accompanying youtube videos too for the more visual learners among you.
A week or so ago, a friend posted in a facebook group that i’m in asking if there was anyone who could make some little dolls for her. She will shortly be visiting children in a cancer ward at Mustapha Pasha hospital in Algiers and she wanted some small toys to give to the younger children there. She was quite specific about what she wanted- small dolls with no facial features wearing typical muslim dress (a scarf and a long dress) I agreed to do it but couldn’t find any type of pattern on line that was suitable….I wanted simple as she needed them quickly and I also wanted them to be pretty-ish too. So I made up my own. In case you fancy making one I will add the pattern here They remind me a bit of Russian dolls.
And for now, that’s it from me.
Hoping you all have a very happy weekend!
It’s cold in Algiers at the moment, not quite snowing like it is in Chrea (pictured above) but it is wet and very windy and much colder than I remember it being before…so when my boiler broke a week ago it really was the last thing that I needed! It will hopefully be fixed soon but in the meantime I am sat huddled around an electric fan heater while wearing several pairs of socks, 3 cardigans and boiling up pans of water just to do the washing up….(I keep telling myself that I will never take these things for granted ever again but, I know that is probably not true as it is so easy to forget once the moment is over…) but it got me thinking about the people who live without the basics all the time, the ones for who the moment is never over, the ones like the family I was told about the other day who are currently living in two tents-just thin plastic sheeting protecting them from the thrashing rain and gailforce wind….. How ever does it get to that stage?….The choices we make? Surely no-one chooses to live in hardship and poverty do they?
I am frequently told that people can’t be trusted, that people always lie about their circumstances or at least exaggerate them. We rigorously check the details of all families before they are added to the list of those we help and unfortunately during the process have, on occasion come across those that are lying so yes, there are those that are dishonest but, I like to think it is a small minority rather than the norm. Besides, is it really fair that ALL people get tarred with the same brush? Like beggars for example, there are lots of beggars in Algiers. Some wave prescriptions asking for money to buy medicine, some seek sympathy and money because they are disabled in some way, women sit with babies and children with lost looks on their faces and there are also many refugees from Mali and Syria who appear to operate in groups…are ALL of these lying? With the average wage being very low, much lower than the cost of living some say beggars earn more than those who are employed.. like it’s a legitimate career option with zero start up costs or something. Do people really want to beg? whatever the reasons of the adult I know for certain that it is not the lifestyle choice of the child sat on his mother’s lap, or of the group of young girls that ask for spare change. I know, because as children they have no choice.
Assisting vulnerable children has always been one of our priorities but this year we plan to step it up a little and go beyond just assisting we want to help create happy memories for these children. Are you in? I hope so as together we can do so much.
Have a wonderful (and warm) week!