We need connection please!
Soon after I arrive by ferry from Iran to the Emirates, things start to stir for me.
While I stay with a family I met through Couch Surfing, Pappy and Dany are very supportive of me trying to raise money for Focus on Education. While cycling through Africa we raised quite some money but somehow it doesn’t take off since I am cycling towards India. We definitely need more to fulfill our goals!
It starts with a friend I met some years ago in Yemen, Ali, who lives in Dubai and connect me to 7-Days Newspaper who takes an interview with me over the phone while I cycle from shopping mall back to Ajman.
Later Pappy connects me to Manorama, a South Indian newspaper from Cochin. We need publicity for my cause. Not only do I cycle for the pure pleasure of cycling, although I surely do, I also try to raise money for building schools and educational shelters in India. Focus on Education has built many of these.
Connecting between cycling and education
While I cycle I need to ask people for help, a place to stay, food or other necessary things like where to find water or the correct direction, you are opening yourself towards them. There is no barrier. When sleeping by people you don’t speak their language, all depends on goodwill, intuition and the ability to connect; the universal language. I believe that when people speak the universal language -and I think the Emirates are quite a good example- there will be less problems and disruptions. These abilities will be activated by education, as I see education as a stable, honest start in life.
Projects in India
Over the course of 11 years I have visited India many times. Eventually I start to long for doing something more than going from temple to tomb and from mosque to church. Being a tourist is interesting but becomes an empty activity after a while, so I decided to force the voluntary organization in my village and start visiting projects in 2008. I have become the extended eyes of Marijke and Jacques who are the base of Focus on Education. These are the current projects:
Schools in little villages Khassausi, Dhaura, Bijnad, Taati, Sahasra and Tarbar, in Uttaranchal. Schools are built for the children in these remote mountain villages and for the semi nomad Gujjar people.
An orphanage near Dindigul in Tamil Nadu.
A shelter for abandoned and runaway children in Madurai. The kids are offered school or a safe and fair place to work (young boys prefer to work over school)
Sarnath near Varanasi has a re-education program and skill learning shelter for low caste Mushar and Dalit girls whose job it is to clean septic tanks and bare handed remove shit from public toilets.
A women and girls shelter for abused and forced (sexual) labor are taken care for and offered education. This project is situated in Shilong, Meghalaya.
There are several more projects in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Gambia and Congo. Congo in East Africa has a medical school and a vaccination center.
I receive no income at all from Focus on Education, only the gratitude to be able to be part of a larger whole where we are working towards a better place to life for each and all. Focus on Education is an organization of a married, retired couple who spend pretty much all their time in their dream: to help children who are born with lesser chances in life.
Focus on Education:
Bank account: 1267.61.930 (Mention ‘Cinderella’)