From Iceland to India: a courier of goodwill

Dear Rose!

We received your donation from Laszlo. He told us, how he met you, he told us some stories about you and he showed us your picture. This money is equal with 8000 Indian Rupees, what is a big help for our family. We will try to spend this money in the best way to give a better life for our children.
Thank you for your support!

I met Rose in the Mörkin nursing home in Reykjavik. I was in Iceland with Alban, my teammate from One World Institute in Norway. We were on an investigation trip for our Study Period and our focus was on the health care system in Iceland and how it had evolved in time. For this we visited doctors and nursery homes, and we took personal interviews.

Rose is British, but came to Iceland many, many years ago and stayed there. She was a cook in the British Embassy. She was very happy to meet us and share her knowledge and experiences. We got to have a long talk with her and we eventually mentioned our future plans to volunteer in India during the Project Period. She got very excited when she heard this and she quickly produced the picture of an Indian family. It was a family, living in India, that she’s been sending money to regularly. Now, through us, she wanted to help even more: she said she would donate some of her savings to a family of our choosing. How? Well, she would simply give us some money, and when we got to India we would find a family that seems to need it. We tried to explain that it would be a long time until we get to India, but she was very decided on this. She said she’s making extra money by creating handcrafts in her free time, so she can afford it.

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And that’s how I got to travel with 15000 ISK (Icelandic Krona), for months, all over Asia, until I finally reached India. Alban went to a different project in India and the money stayed with me. Now, more than a year later, after a few months at my project in Tuticorin, South India, I have finally decided on who will receive Rose’s donation.

In India is very easy to find somebody who could use a donation. However, I wanted to find the right people. Rose didn’t have any specifications except that the money would be used to improve, even for just a little bit, the life of a family.

Reja Sekar is a bus driver who works 6 to 7 days per week. He is hired to pick up workers and transport them to the factory and back. Antony Viktoria is his wife, who works in a Tuition Center. Every afternoon around 40 children gather to study with her. Reja and Viktoria have two sons. Darwin Anto is 10 years old – he’s helping around the house and he’s a good student. Devin Anto is just 6 months old. I’ve been invited in their home, and I also met their relatives. They are living in a small flat, less than 20 m2, but very tidy and peaceful. The children are at the heart of the family.

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In the end, I decided this donation is for them. I felt that the money will be in a good place, and put to good use for the children. Last week I arranged a meeting with them, and I shared the story of Rose and of her mission for me. 15000 ISK is the equivalent of 116 € and it might not seem much for Europe. But in India, this is a huge amount and it can make a world of difference! That’s why they are so grateful for having received it.

My conclusion is really simple: getting something is very easy, things just come into our lives. But giving is a greater feeling: you can feel you made a small step for a better world.

Thank you Rose for giving us this opportunity!

Laszlo and Alban – May 2015 Team

 

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