Paddy is on the Pat Kenny Show
I have again been given the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by Pat Kenny on Newstalk this Wednesday the 19th of October at approximately 10.30 am. If you get a chance to Tune in to FM 106 to 108 FM, it would be a great to have your support.
We will be talking about how the project has evolved in the past number of years. The new programs and the vision for the project in the coming years. I hope to tell some stories from the field and how my role is redefining itself in the direction of malnutrition advocacy and how funds are increasingly needed.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the supporters of the project through the last 12 years. Without your support none of this work would have happened.
Pat Mc Mahon
Varanasi Newsletter April 2016
Two days on the road
This is the mobile nutrition vehicle. We distribute over 700 kg of food every month in this unit giving targeted nutrition that is time specific and is working to over 250 women and children. When you help the project in whatever way that you can you are part of this.
€14 pays the cost of the driver, his vehicle and petrol for 8 hours. In that time we can visit 3 of our smaller villages or one big village.
This is as real as perhaps I can make it. A €7 euro standing order to us will in 2 months pay for the Mobile Nutrition Unit to be on the road. The moment we don’t have that €14 it stops. But we will not let it stop because it is a lifeline for so many. This newsletter is about two different days out on the road
We need more standing orders download the standing order form here.
To begin with hope offers a chance at a better possibility. Last year we began our maternal nutrition program. In less than 12 months 78 babies have been born into the program. This is one of those babies being registered.
Here I see a new beginning. To the Mother we say that you are worth it. Our maternal nutrition program distributes food once a month in two different areas.
The dear one in the Vimeo video is also to be seen in the still image under the trees. Can you see her!
I call the picture below “the women’s conference call”. We were running the camp for over two hours and I realized that many of the women were not leaving. They passed some time together. They created a space for themselves to be and share, learn and grow. They created a space of empowerment. When you understand the way many parts of the world treat women, you know how precious this scene is.
We currently have 85 women on this program. One woman came 35 km because she heard that there was help being given. She fit the criteria. I believe I saw in her 2 things. Firstly, the need for help but secondly the need to be helped, to be cared for, to be valued and supported. The position of women in this society is difficult and they are in great need of support.
Another women came to our camp. She did not fit the criteria and so was refused. Half an hour latter I saw that she was still there and sitting alone. Our team said that she was sad that she was not on the program. To be married, 19 and 3 months pregnant and to feel sad. This is sad. We agreed to put her on the program. Sometimes the help given can be in the receiving.
Our Newest Program, The Angel Program
Our work is in a state of evolution. In 2015 we began the maternal nutrition program in the city and this year we have started the Angel Program. These two programs are related because they are looking to prevent rather than react to a crisis. Hunger is a crisis.
The beginnings of the Angel Program
This came about on my second day back. I was in the hospital and I saw this child, this Angel, who was very small for her age, 12 years of age and 20 kg. Her proper weight should be nearly 40 kg.
The Angel Program goes to the village. We currently have 60 girls on this program.
The image below shows Pooja, who is being registered on our Angel Program. She is also 12 years of age and weighs 21kg almost half the weight that she should be. There is in us all a human instinct to survive. She waited patiently for over 2 hours as we distributed the Easy Paste. In her eyes you could see that she knew this was good for her. She carried a silent determination to be helped and an eagerness to take this opportunity that we were giving her.
Opportunity for you to be part of the helping.
JOIN OUR BAG PACKING TEAM
It is a difficult reality to have to face but the project is struggling again for funds. We are doing too much and yet it is difficult to just stop or curtail giving food.
We have unexpectedly been given an early bag packing for Varanasi this coming week end and we need new people to join our team.
If you are in Cork city you can join our Bag Packing team. Contact shelly on 087 7051653
We currently do not have the funds to keep the Angel Program going. It is however too risky not to do it. If we wait for the perfect time, then that time may never come. Creation is a process of trust.
A chance meeting
A chance meeting and 10 months later we are trialing a nutrition monitoring app. More in the next newsletter
We would like to give a big thank you to ADA Security and their partner company Acumen, based in England, who are working on this completely free of charge.
Where are we going and how do we get there?
Every day my heart shows me the importance of the work that we are doing. In a way I have become softer with the passing of time. Life experience continues to show me how precious all human life is. All life has equal worth.
I know that it is within our possibility to have a world without hunger and inequality. Our very humanity depends on it. If we can have a city free of malnutrition what about an entire state, a country and a world. There is real hope only when we believe.
This is a link to a video that was done a few years ago, it explains the extraordinary manner on how the project started in 2004 how it has progressed. While looking forward it is always good to also see what we have done.
In 2015 We treated 597 children in our community malnutrition program, 120 pregnant women our maternal nutrition program, medicine given to almost 600 children and 75 admissions into our hospital.
One person can make a difference and everyone should try. – J.F.K.
If your heart is called to action while reading this newsletter and the time is right for you to give either financially or by sharing your time or skills in helping to raise some much needed money and awareness, please get in touch. This project has taken flight but it is not going to be easy to keep it in the air. It takes us all and deep courage to give it the breath of life it needs. It is too important and there are too many people who need help for it to hoover in uncertainty.
Thank you all for reading the newsletter, for your continuing support, for your open hearts and for your highly valued involvement. Together we can make a difference and save countless lives.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. – Theodore Roosevelt
How You Can Help us
- Be part of our bag packing team in cork city. In 2015 we raised 15000 euro of vital funds for the project. Next bag packing is this weekend.
- Organize a small fund raiser for us such as coffee morning
- Come up with a fund raising idea and we will support you in any way that we can
- We are looking for some people who have experience in writing funding proposals
- If you have any contacts in the media, I am always happy to speak on the radio or write articles in papers when I am at home.
- You can Text India to 50300 to donate €4
- Attend and/or promote local fundraisers
- Share this newsletter
- Talk about the project and spread the word.
- 30% of all food that is produced in the world is throw away, do our bit and reduce food waste
- Set up a direct debit or donate through PayPal on line
- Click here to donate online now
A Concert on Sunday Afternoon
8th May 3pm in Rochestown Park Hotel
with tea /coffee /biscuits at the interval.
Music from the musicals, some classical, some folk and trad.
Tickets 15 euro from Douglas Tidy Towns 0214894955 or Marian 0876555762.
These concerts find the lovely space that is the Sunday afternoon.
A beautiful mix of music and talent. I am sorry that I will miss it.
A new type of fundraising idea. I will miss this one as well!
Connecting Local, Reaching Global
ongoing until 12 June
Get involved and make connections in your local community while raising money for the Maternal Nutrition Program and Angel Program
For full details and sponsorship cards contact Deirdre, 0863378146, firstname.lastname@example.org
Following are some more public events in Cork
- Journey of Birthing, Stories We Carry, Sunday 24 April, 3-7pm, €10. Top floor of Quay Coop. Come listen and share your stories of pregnancy, birth, loss, after birth, feeding
- Story Thread, Sunday,12 June, Cyprus Avenue, 7pm-2am. €15/12. Night of story, music and dancing. Raffle.
- Story Thread Family Event, Sunday, 12 June, 12-4pm, place to be confirmed. Storytelling, puppet show, Pilates, cakes and more.
- Showing of the documentary, Older Than Ireland, centenarians in Ireland, followed by story sharing circle. Sunday, 22 May, The Roundy, €5, 4-7pm,
Pat Mc Mahon
Varanasi Children’s Hospital
Autumn 2014 – The magic box
A few weeks ago I was talking to two good friends of mine, the subject turned to what did “wise” mean? After some debate Eoin, who will be 10 this year, said “A wise person is someone who listens to people’s problems and tries to help” his younger sister agreed. The truth and innocence of a child stands full with meaning, honesty and compassion. We can perhaps all learn something by asking children their opinions on the world that we live in.
A little story
My sister Liz is classified with special needs. In her company I am often left to ponder who of us has the special needs. A few weeks ago I asked would she help me, as lazy and as beautifully predictable her response was “no”. I said that I needed somebody to take the buckets for the Bag packing down to the car. It is to help the children and she finished it, “of Varanasi”. Wellingtons on, without another word she ran out the door.
When she came back I said you have helped the children and she smiled and said thank you. I am not quite sure why she thanked me, perhaps our higher selves feel grateful when we can help. We raised 2700 Euro that weekend. Thank you to everyone else who were part of it.
We would like to thank Isaac and Joshua, two secondary school students who took video footage that I had taken with my phone in Varanasi this year and transformed it into a very short documentary about the project. It is called A journey to success, Lali’s Story. It is a reminder of what this project is all about.
Welcome to the magic box
The magic Box just after a delivery of Easy paste in August. This box is filled with 6000 pieces of magic
We are currently distributing over 1000 packets every week. Including transport to Varanasi each piece is costing us 30 cents. We have an average weight increase of 22g per day per packet. That is the magic
Payal is one of the 26 children that were discharged from our program last week. She is five years old and weighed only 9 kg. After 4 months on our program she gained a whopping 3.5 KG.
She is somebody’s daughter and sister. She is a child and she lives in this world. We need no picture to know who she is. This is both action and malnutrition and this is what we do. According to the world food program only one in every 7 children who need to be in a community malnutrition program like we are running is actually receiving treatment.
Cork Person of the Month Award
In the month of July I was presented with Cork person of the month. I accept in on behalf of all the children that we have been privileged to help over the past years. It has been a journey of highs and lows but at its heart it has been a journey all about people. Thank you to all that have been part of it, from our crew of faithful bag packers to fundraising meetings to event organizers and donors.
A special thank you to my family who from the very first day when I returned home in 2004 and said a project has been started, have stood by the vision being birthed .
To our great team in India who do the work every day Reaka, Khokan, Jargernath and Praba and all the rest that makes up the Team. A special thank you to my Family who from the very first day when I returned home in 2004 to say a project has been started, have stood by the vision being birthed.
Finally I would like to thank myself. Well done to me for having believed in this great thing, for picking myself when I had fallen, learning to climb when I was afraid to look down. In sincere gratitude I say thank you for giving me the opportunity to help.
The Varanasi Children’s Hospital has evolved many fold in the past number of years. A caged bird looking every day to the sky of potential. Two years ago Easy paste became available to us in India; seven packets were sent to Varanasi. I had waited 9 years for this. There is moments in one’s life that will never be forgotten. I held these packets and cried with joy and hope and knowing. Now 6000 packets are being delivered every 6 to 7 weeks. We run a maternal nutrition program to begin to break this cycle of malnutrition. Breastfeeding is best and perhaps going forward means first looking back and sometimes just going forward. We are giving targeted nutrition to over 170 women and children every day. A name is important, a defining statement of intent. At our core we are nutrition and at our heart we are Action.
Is it to be Action Malnutrition – www.actionmalnutrition.org Have your say because Nothing is decided. If this is to happen however we need support, a new web site needs to be established and all that goes with such a step. To the universe I let the idea fly to and see what comes back! We welcome your comments
We are all part of is transforming lives every day. Everyone is needed and more are welcome. We are currently on target to treat 600 children this year in our community malnutrition program. This is the highest number that we have ever treated. A big well done to all of us.
Thank you to Eva Lynch for organising another great fundraiser for us. We all had a wonderful night of Dinner and song with Ultan Conlan in the beautiful place of Thomas Town, Killkenny last month. We raised a great 1700 Euro and not a scrap of food was left over.
Can you spare an hour or two packing bags to raise money
A big thank you again to all our bag packers. Our next bag packing is this week the 24th to the 26th of September. These are vital fundraisers for us. Our Magic Box is getting low. We are looking for more bag packers so if you have some friends that might be able to help.
Two children started this newsletter and two are to finish it. Aylan Kurdi and Ajay Kumar. They both lost their lives some weeks ago. Aylan’s picture we all saw in our newspapers on the 3rd of September the child washed up on a Greek Island. He touched us all to our core. His image is etched in my mind and there it will stay as a reminder not to forget, his little shoes, Blue shorts and Red top. In the same week Ajay died in our hospital. He died from severe malnutrition. Both children died for very different reasons but at the core was inequality.
A wise person once said to me “listen to the problems of others and try to help”
Peaceful Autumn to you,
The Varanasi Team